Coupon Trading, Tax-Free Exchanges, and Other Barter Agreements

This installment of an ongoing barter feature includes stories about a Canadian store that set up a coupon trading system for senior citizens and a Washington state woman who came to appreciate that barter agreements were tax-free exchanges.

| September/October 1978


The coupon trading system a store in Edmonton, Alberta set up allowed senior citizens to drop off coupons they didn't want at a central location and take from among those left by others.


Bill Wodraska shared some of his thoughts regarding one of mankind's better ideas — barter — and offered up an interesting suggestion: "I'd like to see a continuing feature on barter agreements and skill-and-labor exchanges," said Bill. "You're on!" MOTHER EARTH NEWS replied.  

Coupon Trading

Our local Hudson's Bay Company Store has instituted an interesting swap system for its grocery patrons. Before a customer enters the foods department, he/she is met with a table and sign asking that all unwanted cents-off coupons be left on the counter. The customer may in turn choose any coupons already on the table, which may be of use in his/her shopping that day.

This coupon-trading arrangement has been a particular money-saving boon to the Bay's many elderly patrons, who live in a nearby senior citizens' complex. And since it's extremely unusual for a city department store the size of the Bay to involve itself in such an arrangement, we feel that this barter setup is all the more noteworthy!

Edna N. Sutherland
Edmonton, Alta. Canada

Tax-Free Exchanges

Money is a useful yet elusive thing. It seems to disappear into our budget, and we can rarely remember just exactly what it's been used for. Swaps, on the other hand, are seldom forgotten.

I can't remember, for example, what we did with the cash from the sale of my husband's palomino gelding ... but I do know that the trade of a milk goat got us a row of cedar fenceposts for our back pasture. In addition, the wire for the fence was acquired in exchange for firewood and fill dirt for a neighbor's new driveway. The postholes were dug by a neighbor with a tractor-mounted auger in return for enough milk to give his new calf a good start. And finally, the fence itself was put up by another couple in trade for three months' use of the pasture.

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!