Successful Swaps: The Lifestyle of Bartering

Learn some tips on how to barter as MOTHER's readers share their bartering tales.


| March/April 1977



Paint Cult

From swapping colts for cows to chores for fresh produce, the art of bartering has become a lifestyle for these MOTHER's readers.


PHOTO: FOTOLIA/SVEN CRAMER

Mrs. Herman B. Barnes from Zavilla, Tex.:  

In these parts, hardly a day goes by that we farmers and ranchers don't barter something , because so many little things can lead to a swap. Sometimes it's no more than a mess of fresh greens from your neighbor that starts it. Not to be outdone, you even the score with a sack of ground cornmeal, and so it goes.

But, besides these small everyday trades, I can recall many larger-scale swaps that have taken place down through the years.

The first bigger deal I ever transacted started out as a joke. During a visit I paid to a neighbor lady, her son commented about a young paint colt he'd seen at our house. I laughed and said, "Yes, and I know a boy with a very pretty calf. How about trading with me?"

Two or three days later, the young fellow and his parents turned up at our place, wanting to know if we'd really trade our colt for their calf, as the boy wouldn't let his folks rest! Not only did we all have a good laugh ... my family got both a nice steer for the freezer and the satisfaction of watching a happy lad grow up with his horse.

Glen and Rita Dyer from Victoria, Tex.:  

steve vencill
8/12/2007 7:59:12 AM

Your article on bartering, "successful swaps", had many great success stores. I'm sure there are just as many unsuccessful swaps. Here's one. Two years ago I agreed to build a website for a friend in exchange for his help building an addition onto my home. I spent over 100 hours fine tuning the website to his ever changing specifications. In return I got 8 hours work from the friend during the framing stage of the project. Needless to say we are friends no more. I would have charged $5000 minium for building the website, but would never pay a carpenter that much for one days work.






mother earth news fair

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Feb. 17-18, 2018
Belton, Texas

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

LEARN MORE