Successful Swaps: Bartering at the Doctor, Dentist and Beauty Shop

Learn how MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers traded for good and services, including a free doctor's appointment, wood-burning stove and hair cuts.

| January/February 1982

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    If you notice a problem with a local business, suggest a solution... You might be able to get something out of it, too!

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In issue 37, Bill Wodraska shared some of his thoughts regarding one of humankind's better ideas — barter — and offered up an interesting suggestion: "I'd like to see a continuing feature on barter and skill-and-labor exchanges," said Bill. "Maybe MOTHER could even swap subscriptions for contributions to the department." 

Level With Bargain Buys

I've been a garage sale addict ever since I discovered that children's toys and clothes can be purchased for bargain prices at such "housecleaning" events. I recently found a way to combine the fun of browsing for good deals with swapping . . . so I'm now able to save even more of our hard-earned dollars.

As my 15-month-old daughter and I sat in the waiting room of our pediatrician's office, I was thinking about the exchanges I had read about in MOTHER EARTH NEWS just the night before, and wishing that I could come up with one of those "super swaps." Theresa, meanwhile, was poking through the basket of toys I'd brought along for her, pulling out one worn-but-usable plaything after another. Suddenly I had an idea.

When our turn with the doctor came, I hesitantly proposed my first trade (while telling myself that the worst response the physician could give would be a simple "no"). I offered to bring him a bagful of garage sale toys, which he could use to entertain children in his waiting room, as payment for my daughter's next regular checkup. The doc's response was so quick and so positive ("Sure! Great idea!") that I'm going to offer the same swap to my dentist the next time I visit him!

— L.H., Indiana

Get Used to the Idea of Bartering

When my husband and I first settled on our five-acre homestead three years ago, I was still a bit of a city girl and nervous at the thought of trying to barter. It wasn't long, however, before I was trading as eagerly as the country-raised bargain hunters in the area!


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