20 Feb

Watch out for stolen items available on barter

Posted in Training by


I’m a big believer in optimism and giving your fellow man the benefit of the doubt.  That being said, not everyone is a pillar of their community and I’ve learned that Caveat Emptor (buyer beware) is a good mindset to have when dealing with new barter partners.  When you are making trades with folks you don’t know, watch for red flags that indicate that they might be trouble.  I’ve found that folks that are interested in making illegal transactions (selling drugs or stolen goods) can be attracted to barter.  Examples of red flags would be people who are selling items for significantly under market value, or people who have an unusually large amount of a particular product without cause.

Recently I posted on craigslist that I was looking for a local bakery that I would like to barter with.  I was contacted by someone who said that they had access to thousands of dollars worth of gift cards at a local bakery.  When I asked them if they were an owner they said “no” but said that they were “authorized” to have the cards.  During the course of the next week or so, we traded multiple emails working out a deal, however I noticed that the person never gave their name and would not talk on the phone after multiple requests.  When they did finally phone they missed me, wouldn’t leave a message and told my staff they they were calling from a friend’s cell phone.  They called back later that day and would not tell me their name.  At that point I told them I was not interested in a trade and called the manager at the bakery to give them a heads up that something suspicious was going on.  Ultimately I suspect that it was actually the manager at the bakery who was trying to surreptitiously barter away the gift cards for personal gain but I have no proof of that.

Bottom line here folks:  Be smart and watch for red flags;  doubly so when you are dealing with someone you found on Craigslist.  :)


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05 Dec

Paying your power bill on barter

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Although I haven’t figured out a way to get my local utility company to accept payment in trade I’ve got the next best thing:  Use barter to reduce your power bill.

1) Get more efficient!  Last year I hired a plumber on barter to install a tankless water heater for me (that I obtained on barter).    The new water heater is more efficient than my old heater with the added benefit of never running out of hot water.

2)  Think outside of the box.  Instead of heating  my home with gas or electricity I use a wood stove most of the time.  I love a warm fire and because I barter for the wood I can keep my house a lot warmer than I could otherwise.   One of the down-sides of heating with wood is that you tend to have a toasty living room while your bedrooms remain icy.  That is why I’ve got a heating contractor out at my house this week working on barter.  He is installing a secondary ventilation system that pull warm air from above my wood-stove and blow it out vents in the bedrooms.

Because my home has an unusual roof I have not been able to put solar panels up there, but I think that’s a fantastic idea.  Even if you couldn’t trade for the panels, you should be able to trade for installation  Personally, if I had solar installed I would get an over-sized system and look at bartering for an electric vehicle as well.  That’s like bartering for gasoline!

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25 Nov

How to post on Craigslist to find barter partners

Posted in Training by


Bartering on craigslist may seem very simple to you, but I’m hoping that I might have a few pointers here for you that will improve your performance regardless of your experience.

1)  Post in the barter section.  It may seem counter-intuitive, but as it stands right now, Craigslist has a barter section, but it’s buried inside the “for sale by owner” area of the website.

2)  Make it clear if you are buying or selling.  The title of your post is the most important part of the post. Make sure you not only state the object/service of interest but also if you are trading for the item or trading it away.  

3)  Ask about location.  It’s a big waste of time to work out a deal with folks that are further away than you are willing to drive.  Ask where they are up front in your ad and save yourself some time.

4)  Caveat emptor.  Use your brains.  Follow the same basic safety rules that you would with a cash transaction on Craigslist.

5)  Post on Thurs.  Craigslist gets to most visitors on Fri/Sat/Sun so posting Thursday night sets you up to have all those folks see your ad.  Also, mark your calendar to repost all your unanswered ads every Thursday evening.

6)  Be looking for something specific.  I saved the best for last.  This is really the most important thing I have to pass on to you here.  I suggest that you never post something like:  ”I have a purple people eater.  Email me back and let me know what you’ve got.”  The problem is that you are inviting the entire world to waste your time offering you a bunch of worthless junk that you have no interest in.  The best way to post on Craigslist is to create ads that state exactly what you are looking for .  For example:  ”Wanted:  dungeness crab on barter.”  I would also suggest that you be vague about what you have to trade. I say something like, “Barter is my hobby and I have thousands of new or used items to trade.  Please contact me so we can figure out what you’d like best.”  Don’t forget that you have access to everything available in your barter exchange to trade on craigslist.  The reason for being vague is that you never know what the person who is reading your ad may want.  If you post specifics about what you have to trade, you could just as easily give the reader a reason NOT to contact you as you could give them a reason to call.

Please feel free to post your own craigslist advice in the comment area.  Thanks!

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