Broke? Try Bartering!

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Will Fischer
A table of offerings from a previous Barter Fest.
An alternative for holiday gifts exists just on the horizon, and it doesn't require spending a single penny! Gut Check would like to re-introduce a concept that most at least have vague familiarity with: bartering. Bartering, or the trading of goods and services for others without the use of the conventional dollar, takes place regularly through underWARES and the Cowry Collective, two active bartering groups in St. Louis, and each season, they put on a collaborative event for newcomers and interested parties.

"Barter Fest is basically an event where barterers can come in and make trades on the spot of anything they'd like to, whether it's something they made or something extra at the house they don't need anymore," explains Barter Fest and underWARES co-coordinator Stephanie Co. "While we have a directory online that anyone can check out to make offers and swaps, we wanted people to meet face to face and all at once."

The fun and easy share and swap of sorts occurs quarterly at small, independent local businesses in different neighborhoods, with this event marking the third collective get-together. Several artisans, vendors and neighborhood association representatives on hand will offer everything from homemade foodstuffs and art prints to music lessons and hair cuts.

"Both Barter Fests so far have had live hair cuts, so it was cool to see someone come in and then leave with a different haircut. One of the trades was a haircut for a sock monster stuffed animal," says Co. "It's also kind of a social networking experiment because it's a lot of small businesses and vendors without storefronts, so it's a great way to get the word out about their businesses...Everyone is welcome, and the more, the merrier!"

Co stresses that a good or service isn't necessary to participate. For example, an individual once attended with lettuce and a book and traded everything he had. The event also features a pot luck, clothing swap, live music and a variety of workshops, some of which could take place informally on the spot.

Barter Fest takes place this Sunday, Dec. 11 at The Juice Box (3101 Arsenal Street; 314-667-5248), so stop by any time between 2 to 5 p.m. Admission is free, and the family-friendly event is open to all. For more information on how to get involved and to sign up for a table, visit the Barter Fest Web site and see what else underWARES and the Cowry Collective have to offer year-round.

Location Info

Map

The Juice Box

3101 Arsenal St., St. Louis, MO

Category: General

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4 comments
Richard Harris
Richard Harris

great ideaBusiness owners can  also barter for almost anythingcheck out www.imsbarter.com

It is actually a publicly held company with over 500 business owners in the area17000 total

Richard Harris
Richard Harris

great ideaBusiness owners can  also barter for almost anythingcheck out www.imsbarter.com

It is actually a publicly held company with over 500 business owners in the area17000 total

barter411
barter411

Most of the big barter stories I read about lately: Greece, Argentina, and Occupy Wall Street for instance are happening at live events like yours. Trading on the spot beats listing things online, making appointments, driving around, or sending stuff in the mail. However, the reason I hate having a yard sale is because of all the handling. So what if we each had our own box truck and met in a big parking lot? That might work. "Honey, I don't need this anymore." "Okay, put it in the box truck."

Daniel Porter
Daniel Porter

I can see why you would like bartering on the spot better than online for example. You make a deal right away. However I do think bartering online will get you a better deal. It is less impulsive and it has a much wider reach. I use barterquest.com for example, you can list whatever you like and then you can start making offers. 

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