Tag Archives: barter

Fair trade

I love to trade things — services, items of clothing, food, etc. I think this dates back to my grade school days of marble trading. What better way to get a coveted cat’s eye or crystal without any monetary output?

Last Christmas, my friend, Norm, made a pizza peel for his wife and posted a photo on Facebook. I told him I’d trade him a Nelson Steiner cane for a pizza peel. A few months later, Norm let me know that my peel was on its way to Bluffton via a mutual friend who was coming to visit his mother. Though Norm insisted I owed him nothing, I was determined to give him a cane, but the trade was not completed until a few weeks ago when Norm was visiting Bluffton. We met up at Common Grounds and the cane passed hands. So…I’ve got a peel with which to remove my hot pizza stone from the oven and Norm has a cane for….someday…when he needs it.

Before we went on vacation in June, I hired some friends’ kids to mow our yard and weed our garden. A few days later, sitting on the beach, my phone bleeped at me, signaling a text. It was my friend, JP, mom to our mowers/weeders. Would I consider a trade rather than pay? One of her sons needed two shirts to wear at the Indian Village during the recent sesquicentennial, and she wondered if I’d make the shirts in exchange. Of course!

We came home to no weeds and a mowed yard; in exchange, there were two shirts — already cut out — ready to be sewn. Here’s how that trade turned out…at least from JP’s end. I’ll admit that was not one of the easier trading projects…there was some gnashing of teeth and hair pulling before the shirts were done. But hey, it was probably no more challenging than those kids dealing with the burdock that grows wild in my garden.

Joseph in his traded shirt

Usually, I feel like I get the best end of the deal, but I’m pretty sure the other person is just as satisfied. Yesterday I posted a photo of my “field of dreams” from my garden — a particularly pretty plot of daisies that are threatening to consume our garden. Daisies are my favorite flower, so it’s not a problem for me, but my husband keeps mumbling something about splitting them up and “Wouldn’t one of your friends like some of these?”

My end of the daisy/cupcake trade

Trade you some daisies for some cupcakes

Turns out another friend, Joanna, a local baker, was planning a party for her daughter and needed some daisies. She wondered if I would trade some daisies for some cupcakes. What a silly question…who would turn down cupcakes? When she and Katherine stopped by for the daisies and my husband spied the cupcakes, his eyes lit up. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard the end of his grumbling about the daisies.

Truthfully, I still think I got the best end of the deal. I even got an extra trade out of the deal — a fuzzy stem from a purple grass and a hot pink coneflower for a beautiful smile from Katherine, a delightful three-year-old.

 

 

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Trade you a cane for a peel?

The increasing popularity of bartering is no doubt directly related to the current economy, but it’s probably also spurred by our wish to waste less and improve the environment. By trading services and goods, we use less natural resources to for production of items that we can share. Or something like that.

When we were kids on the playground, we used to trade marbles. This involved some rather serious discussion over what might be worth a trade for a crystal. That ended when marbles went out of vogue, but reappeared with our daughters’ generation and Pokemon cards.

As adults, we have a more sophisticated method of bartering — or so we think. Here’s how this works. You have something I need (or would like to have). I have something you need (or would like to have). For example, my friend, Mary, gave me some mint for my herb garden. I probably gave her a chunk of lovage for her herb garden. We do that frequently — sometimes it’s a food that she likes to make for a food that I like to make.

I love to sew and I recognize it as a skill that many don’t have. I’ll trade sewing repairs and alterations for services that I’ve never mastered — like plumbing. Or I would if I could find a plumber who needed some alterations.

But you get the idea. It’s a trade for a trade, with no money exchanging hands.

Around Christmas time, my college friend, Norm, who lives in Goshen, Ind., posted on Facebook a photo of a pizza peel he’d made for his wife, Charlotte. I admired that peel for about five minutes and offered to trade him a Nelson Steiner cane for a pizza peel.

I should explain: In the last 20 years of his life, my father-in-law made an inordinate number of canes, often telling someone he’d make them a cane if they brought him a piece of unusual wood. He sold very few of those canes, choosing instead to give them as special gifts. Because he was very choosy about who to give them to, we now have our very own share of one-third of the canes.

Anyway, I didn’t really think Norm would come through with pizza peel butI shouldn’t have doubted his generosity. About a month ago, he sent me a message that he was sending the peel along to Bluffton with a mutual friend. I was out of town that weekend, so the peel made its home for a few weeks in the office of a coworker — the sister of the mutual friend who brought the peel from Goshen.

I finally retrieved the peel a few weeks ago and on Saturday, we had the opportunity to test it. Daughter number 2 was coming to visit and had requested home-made pizza, one of our specialties. Of course, what better way to test a pizza peel than to make your own pizza?

The pizza turned out perfect and the peel definitely eased the removal of the pizzas from the oven. Now…if I can just somehow barter with my sister-in-law for an outdoor pizza oven like the one she built in her back yard.

Oh, and Norm? The cane’s on the way.