I‘ve always admired the barter system. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it — I’ll pick olives on your farm if you let me live there rent-free. I’ll watch your kids for three hours if you provide me with fancy, organic snacks I can’t afford on my own. I’ll edit your best man’s wedding speech if I can hit up the open bar as an uninvited guest.
New York City’s Crumpler, bag retailer of everything from tote bags to rolling luggage, is accepting beer in exchange for their merchandise until July 21st. The result of the trade is a closing-night party where everyone who’s walked in with a handle of Old English and walked out with a laptop sleeve will be invited to attend and revel in a room of bags and booze.
Two cases of Pacifico and some limes earns you a sweet messenger bag worth $130. Need a new camera caddy? Twelve bottles of Guinness, some Grady’s concentrated coffee, and BAM! Drink your weight in bartered alcohol at the party, and the bag pays for itself.
I can understand why other places don’t exactly copy Crumpler’s system — sure, you don’t spend any money on party refreshments, but you don’t exactly earn any money by giving your products away. Still, organizations like WWOOF, and most international hostels, are popular barter options while traveling — they make it work by offering free accommodations or meals in exchange for use of your skill set to help run their businesses. You can still get a part-time job to earn spending money, and when your digs are free, what else do you really need?
Should more businesses bring the barter system back?