Barter Kings TV Show

OK…what I really want to know here is who told A&E about my idea??!!!

Seriously though…a friend and I came up with a similar idea about 6 weeks ago.  There is a difference between our ideas though.  Based on the article above it sounds like they are going to try to do the whole “trade a  paperclip up  to a house” type thing.  I understand why they are taking that route.    It’s a popular story that people love.  I wouldn’t do it that way though because that doesn’t reflect the real barter sub-culture.  Real traders aren’t going to limit their resources and try to trade a single item up as much as they can.  Real traders are always bartering everything.  I think a better framework for a show would be to show how people live every day  with as little cash as possible.  I’ve heard of people that depend on barter for 80 or 90% of their income.  That’s what I’d be interested in seeing.

BTW…thanks to Paul for the heads up on this one!

Barter Vs. Haggle

In case you are one of those folks that don’t know the difference, let me lay this out for you and make it CRYSTAL CLEAR.  The words “barter” and “haggle” do not mean the same thing!  Am I the only person that is driven crazy when these words are sometimes used interchangeably??!!  Even my wife (who can’t escape a constant barrage of barter banter) mixes these terms up sometimes.  Here are the correct definitions:

Barter:  To trade one product or service for another.

Haggle:  To negotiate for the best possible price for a product or service.

I think the cause for confusion is twofold:

1)  Traditionally, Americans neither barter nor haggle much.  As such I think many of us simply lump them both into the mental category of  “that undesirable thing that some people do when they try to buy things cheap.”

2)  Of course part of bartering involves determining the value of the traded item and that can often include some haggling.  The confusion is caused by the fact that both are often conducted at the same time.

The reason that it’s important that folks understand the difference is because many Americans simply refuse to haggle.  If they mix these two terms up, their distaste for haggling will infect their feelings about barter.  So I send you forth, my little barter fanatics, to educate the world and spread the gospel of barter.  Whenever you can please point out the differences between these two terms.

Craig's List Potheads

Am I the only person that is sick and tired of people trying to trade pot in the barter section of  Come on people!  In my area it feels like 10 to 20% of all posts in the barter category are folks that are either looking to score some weed or looking to sell it.  Of course they usually use colloquialisms to refer to it.  They call it “215” or “420.”  Listen pot-heads:  Even in the liberal state of California it’s illegal to sell pot.  And bartering is selling.  Just ask the IRS.  Please get a life and stop cluttering up all the good barter listings on craigslist.

Speaking of which, I spotted this listing on craigslist last week in the barter category:

wife for trade – $70000 (santa rosa)
annoying wife for trade or sale. I’m tired of her you can have her.
rv quads ps3 games what you got?

So… is it just me or does this poster need a lesson in salesmanship?  He says that his wife is annoying, but then wants $70,000 for her.  Also I’m having a hard time trying to imagine how many ps3 games it would take to be worth $70,000.