‘Need someone to cut my hair in exchange for a homemade sourdough fruit loaf’ was a Facebook status and tweet I posted not too long ago. The response underwhelming, not one person put their metaphorical hand up (except my dad, but I wasn’t going to let him cut my hair and I would give him a fruit loaf for nothing).
I was in an utter state of disbelief that there wasn’t 1 person willing to have a go. A little history about my hair. I’ve always had the same paid hair dresser, she’s done my hair since I was about 6. We’ve done all different colours. Upon leaving home at 18, I began allowing friends to cut it for me, I didn’t care, I just wanted it out of the way. At 21 I did shave for a cure. At 25, the day after we got engaged, I cut it pixie shirt from longer than shoulder length because I didn’t like how it had grown out from my last hair cut. My hair dresser was horrified, knowing we had less than a year for it to grow out ready for a wedding up-do. I’m not precious about my hair, and I would not have asked if I’d cared too much about the result. It was an experiment.
People have an innate understanding of the bartering concept, think children swapping Pokemon cards for footy cards in the play ground. It happens daily in prisons, swapping cigarettes for extra food or protection. Each item is given a certain value and is repaid accordingly.
Kyle Macdonald traded/bartered at red paper clip for a house. Granted he had help from governments, councils and celebrities.
But what happened to the exchange of our skills, knowledge or goods in our day to day lives? Why is the exchange of services and money more acceptable? Why can’t a cake be exchanged for someone fixing your plumbing?
Recently I’ve found a produce swap in our local town. I’m excited for our veggie garden to be over producing and be able to go down there and swap excess for things that we need. I love that our trash (excess) with become another’s treasure, that we’ll be able to create full meals from produce we’ve grown or bartered.
Soon we will have silverbeet, beans, peas and beetroot coming out of our ears, there’ll be way too much, some may get feed to the chickens but I wait with baited breathe to see what others in our area are willing to swap.
I asked J the best way to round this post up, I thought maybe I should mention that this way of life isn’t suitable to everyone, he’s response, ‘why not?’
Think about our professions, our hobbies, this movement wouldn’t just be about swapping food. It could be about car pooling in exchange for lunch, baby sitting for some wiring, a loaf of bread for some design work. Everyone has a skill.
And therein lies the question; what would you be able to swap?