Barter With Your Family

By James Harvey Stout (deceased). This material is now in the public domain. The complete collection of Mr. Stout's writing is now at >



We have found a buried treasure! Buried in this book are the ways to get new things: a bumper-pool table, a VCR, and thousands of other things. Share this treasure with your parents. They are constantly teaching us, but now we can be the teacher: we can show them how to barter.

Ask your parents to tell you about their best trades. (In Barterburg, Sandra Pick's father said that he had traded his Chevy car for a TV and an oak desk, in 1965. And last week, he had swapped an old briefcase for a tennis racket from his uncle.) Then tell your parents about your best trades. You might swap stories all evening.

Even if our parents work full-time, they can barter. Sandra's father likes to make wooden furniture in the basement, during his free time. Now he can trade those things, by putting an ad in the Barterburg Daily Gazette. And he trades them through a barter club.

Sandra's Mom makes computer artwork for the family. Now she can make artwork for neighbors, and get fresh garden produce in return. And she can join a barter club, to trade the artwork to someone who will do her household chores.

We can show this book to our parents, so they will know as much about bartering as we do. If we think that they should read certain parts of this book, we can point out those parts. We might read a chapter to our Mom while she is playing with her cat.

We can walk to the local barter clubs, to get membership information. Then we can give the brochures and applications to our parents. Maybe they will want to join, if they know enough about the clubs.

We can help our parents to make a list of things which they can trade, and things which they want. When all of your family members start to barter, they will be happier, because they will be getting what they want. We will be happier, too.

In Barterburg, Ralph Heart's father saved enough money to pay for an extra vacation-trip to the warm, sunny beach at Malibu, where they surfed and flew kites. And he spent his barter-club "units" for a new stereo which was enjoyed by the whole family. His mother bartered with their favorite restaurant, to take the family out for a Mexican dinner with burritos, tacos, and all the chips they could eat.

We can barter with the rest of our family: our sisters, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Of course, it's nice to do things for each other; we don't have to set up a deal every time. For example, we can wash the car, just to do our Dad a favor. We can pick some blackberries at Jones' Pond, and give them to our Mom as a gift.

Sometimes it's fun to make a trade. Here are some things which we can swap with our family:

  1. We can clean our sister's room. She will give us some chocolate bars which she brought home from a party last night.
  2. We can vacuum our mother's minivan. She will give us a ride to Griffith Park, even though she said she's too tired.
  3. We can give our pet rat, "Simon," to our brother. He will give us his model airplane, which he hasn't assembled yet.
  4. We can shine all of our father's shoes and brush the lint off of his yellow sweater. He will spend some of his barter-club "units" to buy us a basketball.

And there are some chores which we are expected to do, without asking for anything special in return. Family members do chores because they love one another. And they want their household to run smoothly and to look clean.