Successful Swaps: How to Barter

Readers of MOTHER EARTH NEWS share their experiences with bartering their goods for services — and vice versa.

| March/April 1982

Some readers of MOTHER EARTH NEWS share their experiences with bartering. Without money on the table, the found that life can be a little bit more fun! 

Exchanging Products for Services

I've never been much of a "horse trader," but I recently took an unpracticed plunge into bartering . . . and now I'm hooked! Here's the story of my first (but not last) swap: My mouth is a shining example of modern dental artistry. From the days of baby teeth to the present time, I've spent what has seemed like a godly portion of my spare hours slouched in an elevated reclining chair while a pair of hands tinkered with my pearly whites.

Well, the day finally dawned when my front chompers just couldn't accommodate another filling and I was faced with either having what was left of those biters removed and an artificial plate put in, or investing in some expensive caps to protect my teeth. Furthermore — to add to my dilemma — I simply didn't have enough ready cash to pay for either option.

After pondering my pocketbook problem for a spell, though, I came up with what I thought would be a perfect swap. I'd heard that the doctor's wife had a fondness for fine jewelry . . . and I owned a lovely diamond ring that had once belonged to my mother.

Armed with a jeweler's appraisal, I hesitantly presented my trading terms: one diamond ring in exchange for four porcelain caps.

The dentist accepted the bargain with pleasure and I ended up swapping that unused piece of jewelry for a serviceable (and downright attractive) smile! — P.C., Colorado

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