2020 or 1320? Meet the new bartering craze

Some people are bartering just to spread a little kindness. It’s enough to warm your cold quarantined heart.


May 12, 2020

Medieval peasants are getting the last laugh. With a disrupted supply chain turning the likes of Lysol wipes and face masks into rare delicacies, towns across America are forming their own barter economies.

Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor are awash with people swapping lemons for marmalade, toilet paper for dish soap, wheat grinders for finished bread.

Bartering groups are no joke 

One Ventura, California, bartering group — which launched on Facebook about 7 weeks ago — boasts 4.6k+ members.

Across posts in public Facebook groups, the words “barter” and “trade” have gotten a 250%+ boost over the last 2 months.

It’s an especially big moment for Facebook’s “Buy Nothing” movement — a patchwork of local groups that have popped up in cities and towns since 2013 in hopes of reducing waste.

Buy Nothing says it aims to create a “gift economy”: Instead of turning to Amazon or eBay, you should find ways for you and your neighbors to help each other first.

Let this trend warm your cold, cold heart

The new bartering economy isn’t just about the supply chain, nor is it necessarily selfish. Many people just want to spread some kindness right now.

One Providence, Rhode Island, resident, Ari Koontz, decided on a whim to leave chocolate chip cookies outside some neighbors’ houses. Soon after, someone left Koontz cornbread and cookies.

According to Eater, a gifting system soon flourished across Koontz’s neighborhood, with herbs, sourdough starters, and beans flying all across the block.

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