As we all know business is effected by supply and demand. When supply is high and demand is low you have a “buyer’s market.” Prices are often low and moving inventory can be tough. Barter is a great business strategy that can help get a business through those tough times. Trading helps you move inventory even when your customers are unwilling to part with cash. It can also help you get full value for your inventory in times when you have to discount to sell it for cash.
When something is in high demand and short supply that is a “sellers market.” At those times sellers can usually charge a premium for the product/service. It’s tough to barter in a seller’s market. Any vendors that actually have the product that you are looking for can easily sell it for cash so there is no incentive to barter. Twice recently I’ve had barter partners call me in situations like this. First it was someone in New York that was looking to trade for a generator during the power outage from flooding. More recently I’ve had a couple different potential barter partners looking for firearms since the tragedy in in Newtown. In both cases, people were trying unsuccessfully to barter for something in a “sellers market.”
My advice in these situations is simply to avoid them. Barter doesn’t work in a seller’s market so don’t beat yourself up over it. The solution is simple: barter for all the other things you need and use the cash you save to buy those items that are in high demand and short supply.