Bartering - June 7, 2011

"Who, among us, isn’t looking for a way to save some money these days?"

All one has to do is to walk around downtown, in or near our Plaza, to see that things have changed quite a bit in the last couple of years.  Some stores with which we were long familiar, are no longer there, restaurants have moved or are gone, and sometimes they’ve been replaced by other businesses.  Generally, I tend to think that “change is good,” since I’m a restless person at heart.  Yet it saddens me to see some of the familiar places no longer there.

Santa Fe’s changes in business are just part of the ongoing effects of the recession which has plagued us since ’09.  And because this is Santa Fe, my more New Agey friends maintain that the recession is just part of this grand overall major ‘shift’ that is going on with the whole planet.  They further maintain that those people who get creative with these ongoing changes are the ones who will not only survive, but also thrive in this new climate in which we all have less.

For example, some of my friends at Santa Fe Community College are quite involved in bartering as a new form of acquiring goods and services.  Many of them are English and Math teachers, so they exchange tutoring and editing for massages, housecleaning, meal preparation, babysitting, and clothing.  Increased bartering  (a shift in commerce) is a positive example of some of the shifts going on in 2011.

I barter whenever I can.  Massages for tutoring are right at the top of my preferred bartering list.  Being a type A person (or Vata, if you understand the Aurvedic system), I am constantly plagued by tightness in my neck and shoulders that, later in the day, turns to stress and headaches.  I am often in need of a massage, but since the normal going rate at many of the massage possibilities in Santa Fe is $80-$100 a session, I would rarely treat myself and simply deal with the pain and become grumpy and nasty.  Ongoing pain is not fun and reduces us to becoming people we no longer enjoy.

I have another friend who is an architect/builder and, being a handball fanatic, often suffers from shoulder and joint injuries.  He trades medical help for work he can do on the doctor’s house.  Everybody wins!  Except the government, I guess, since they don’t reap the taxes, but I am not a fan of them anyway, so it’s fine with me.

How does one begin the inquiry of creating a bartering exchange?  Well, for one, might pursue the idea of putting together a ‘Bartering Page’, if there is enough interest.  Also, I suspect one could put up something on ‘Craigslist’ suggesting your product or service for a particular thing that you need – or leave the exchange open, thinking the reader might have something that you want or need. Make a flyer to post around town, describing your product or service, your intention to trade rather than sell, and see what happens. Write something up for the Santa Fe Reporter’s Backpage.

Who, among us, isn’t looking for a way to save some money these days?  I, for one, certainly am.  Since I retired from SFCC over the holidays, I now have a pension that doesn’t take me nearly as far as that monthly paycheck did, not to mention the fact that I set it up so that certain things now come out of that check before I even see it.

My husband and I are also involved in real estate which, several years ago, was booming, and now is limping along.  We, like a lot of people, have had to cut back and learn to be more creative.

We all have gifts and skills and goods that we can put to use in ways that circumvent the normal system.  Let’s become rebels and look for new ways to play with the market.  I dislike Sarah Palin, but I do like the title of her new book: “Going Rogue.”  Let’s ‘go rougue’ for 2011.

Next week, I’ll write about a few other people who are riding this great shift in new a creative ways …

Have a good week – and practice your own form of roguery!

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