05 May

Barter exchange “stealth mode”

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Let me start out by saying that this particular article is specifically for barter exchange members.  If you don’t already belong to an exchange, I suggest you check it out.  You can learn more about what barter exchanges are in my Barter Basics article.  OK, with that bit of housekeeping out of the way, let’s proceed.

Are you aware that there is a significantly larger number of members in your barter exchange than is listed on their website?  There are also more members than your broker can refer you to.  Intrigued?  Good.  Here’s the deal;  when an exchange member isn’t especially good at spending their credits (don’t get me started), they will sometimes go into “stealth mode.”  What that means is that the exchange takes them off their “active” list which removes them from the exchange’s website and flags their account for brokers that they are not currently accepting barter credits as payment.  The ARE STILL MEMBERS though.  They usually have credits that they want to spend so they continue to maintain their membership.

How does this help you?  Often even members that are in “stealth mode” will actually still accept credits if you contact them directly.  This is especially true if you’ve traded with them in the past and have maintained a good relationship.  With that in mind I would encourage you to maintain good contacts with all of your barter partners.  If they do need to reduce the amount of barter credits they are accepting, your relationship will make the difference when they are choosing which barter partners they keep.  For example, if you are known to be a good tipper at a local restaurant that takes barter and the restaurant makes their account inactive, it’s very likely they might still accept barter credits from you.  All you have to do is ask.  The worst thing they can do is say “no.”  AND…. do what you can to help council these folks on how to spend barter credits wisely.  Usually the whole reason for going on hold is that they are not good at spending barter credits.  I certainly wouldn’t mind if you send them to this blog!  :)

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20 Feb

Watch out for stolen items available on barter

Posted in Training by

theif

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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