An Old-Timer’s Advice: Bartering
Personally, I intend to do some bartering, if things fall apart. Now what you trade and how you go about it is a bit complicated. First there is two things that I would be very careful about who I bartered with, ammunition and alcohol. Now I know that many people have stored extra ammo with the idea that it will be good trading stock. I believe that there will be a demand for many different types of rounds, particularly 22 and 12 gauge birdshot for hunting.
When you trade ammo, you want to be sure that it is not going to be used on you. You may be arming the person who intends to rob you. I have talked with people who have schemes to set up snipers and other ideas to protect themselves while bartering. If you trade with anybody that comes along, you will end up in a nasty situation eventually. I don’t want to end up in a shooting situation.
I have also talked to people who think that they can survive by setting up a still and bartering alcohol. Now this is not a totally bad idea, some alcohol is needed for medicinally purposes. But if you are selling it for drinking, word will get around and there are lowlife alcohols that will do anything for a drink, including kill you and your family.
Now don’t think that I am against bartering, because I am not. I think that bartering will revolve around what we grow, produce or the skills we possess. Simple skills and having the tools to perform them will become valuable. Things like sharpening a handsaw, soap making, candle making, tanning hides, blacksmithing and other types of repair work. It seems like everytime I grow a garden, I have an abundance of something. This can be preserved or traded for something else.
I think that the single most valuable items other than maybe food will be medical supplies. Many people who have chronic medical conditions will run out of medications rapidly. These types of medications or there herbal substitutes will be extremely valuable. Knowing and being able to produce herbal medications will be a good skill to have.
One thing that our family has a lot of is miscellaneous hardware. My father taught us to go to garage sales and buy the odd boxes of nails, screws, bolts and fitting. There always seems to be one in every garage sale. Normally you can buy them very cheaply. When people have to start repairing and building things for themselves these items will become quite valuable. Don’t forget that some of the people who made the most money on the California gold rush were the ones who sold picks and shovels.
A local economy based on bartering can function, just be sure you are careful whom you deal with and don’t deal so tight that you make enemies.