Barter and Trade Stories

Our readers have enthusiastically embraced barter and trade in their efforts to cope with today's economy.

| September/October 1984

barter and trade - vacuum cleaner for vacuum bags

A California woman traded her old vacuum cleaner for bags for her new cleaner.

Illustration by Susan M. Wood

Since the first of the year, we've had an almost overwhelming response to our offer for one-year subscriptions to people who share their barter and trade experiences. Hundreds of letters have poured in, and since it's impossible to print even a small portion of them in our usual format, we thought you might like to have a condensed rundown on what some of these folks are doing to enrich the quality of their lives through swapping.

If our mail is any indication, New Yorkers seem to be inveterate swappers. S.S. had a couple of crocheted tablecloths that had been handed down through her family. They were just gathering dust until she ran across someone who owned several handmade quilts and who needed a covering for a trestle table. Now S.S.'s daughter has a quilt for her redecorated room, and her new friend has a table cover. Best of all, the two families are sharing beautiful parts of their heritages.

Also in New York, M.L.H. had some gallon drums in her yard. When her garbage-man spotted them and said he could use them to water his garden, she gladly swapped six of them for six months of free trash pickup.

On the other side of the country, Californian V.J.H. offered her old vacuum to a sales and service store to use for parts, and in return received a six months' supply of bags for her current cleaner.

Still another California resident, M.C.M., bartered a wallpapering job for hypnotism treatments for her husband, who was trying to kick his smoking habit. (The treatments worked!)

The I.C. family — also in California — are owners of an organic nursery and are always open to trades. Their best swap to date was with a scuba-diving couple: a Christmas lobster dinner in exchange for materials to make cactus gardens as presents.

mother earth news fair


Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!