Barter is the new normal in trading in the Philippines. The movement became very successful almost overnight in Bacolod City that it was duplicated in other cities and municipalities around the country. I am one of those who have so many successful barter stories and happy experiences of letting go. With that, I thought of sharing my list of Mommy Tips for a successful barter.
Simple Tips for a Successful Barter
I have become a moderator of the Bacolod Barter Community on Fecebook to help the admin, Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, with the daily postings. Read her story: How a Bacolod Mom Changed the Philippines with Barter
That label posed a lot of responsibility. Add to that, there are people who message me about their frustrations. That is an opportunity for me to encourage them to lower their expectations. After all, we are in a crisis and the barter is just a means for us to get by. Furthermore, Atty. Jocelle started the movement in order to “spread kindness” – not really for profit.
I agree with her vision and I also believe in this advocacy, which is why I also help protect the group from unscrupulous members. Honestly, I would rather kick out somebody who is not following the rules in order to protect the whole community. One errant post could put the whole effort in jeopardy with Facebook.
So here, I have listed some of the things that I personally practice in order to have a happy and successful barter. I don’t always have to “profit” or “win”. If your purpose is to earn a profit, then I always say that the barter community is not for you. You will be better off in the Buy and Sell Groups.
1. Letting Go of Your Stuff
Since we cannot go out during the quarantine, it was a good time to take stock of our life and home. During a crisis, you will realize what your needs are and what sparks joy. And like a reset button, Covid-19 did that for us. It was time to let go of things we were just stocking up to make other people happy.
Staying at home enabled me to open our cabinets and drawers where I found stuff that we can let go. So many things found in our homes are not needed for survival. Plus, I realized that we all have different preferences. What may be trash for me may spark joy for another person.
If you have this mindset of letting go, you will be happy that you cleared out some space plus you made someone happy. Obviously, you will gain a friend this way.
2. Bidding for Other People’s Items
There are people who are not really sure of what they want in exchange for their item. Since it is required in the group, you have to indicate your preference. So some people just put a “general category”, such as cookware, groceries, school supplies, or plants.
When that happens, a sort of “bidding” happens. Actually, that is fine because the owner has the right to pick which items make him or her happy. But sometimes, this can “tempt” us to want more and the comments can reach hundreds without the owner deciding what to choose.
In wanting more, you can become unhappy and get easily frustrated and disappointed. At the same time, many people will become disgruntled with you.
Usually, I indicate what I want. Whoever needs my item and who can afford to deal for it can just comment. Many people are happy with my posts because I only ask for little things. Despite that, our pantry is already full of edible items and our toiletries could last till next year.
3. Closing and Consummating the Deal
After two parties have closed the deal, you can send private messages to set the date for the exchange. Please make sure to honor your agreement. Appear at the place and time you have agreed upon.
If you are going to be late, common courtesy dictates that you should inform the other person about the delay.
And please, deliver what you have promised. Do not short-change your ka-barts.
4. When You are Posting
Remember that things you are bartering are already “pre-loved”. Even if you haven’t used it yet, the fact that you bought it and brought it home makes its value depreciate.
Lower your expectations a bit when asking for your barter preference. Those who want your item would understand the value and would bid for it. Be prepared not to get the exact value of your item cent for cent.
For example, I have three glass candy jars that I have never used. They are causing me anxiety everything something touches them because they might break. I decided to let them go for two bars of detergent soap. My ka-barts couldn’t believe it, so she gave me 1/2 kilo of onions and 1/2 kilo of garlic as freebies. I was happy to let them go while she was happy to receive them. We were both satisfied so it was a successful barter. 🙂
5. Spread Kindness
Always remember that the point of barter is to spread kindness – not to do business and earn a profit. There are many other different Facebook groups for that. That’s what makes the barter community unique.
If you have seen my posts, you will usually see me end with a “thank you.” I also use socially-appropriate language. Even in barter, “please”, “thank you”, and “sorry” are still the magic words.
6. What Sparks Joy
I only barter for things that I need and what sparks joy (Konmari Method). Since I am gunning for a minimalist lifestyle, I am letting go of so many things. There is no point in hoarding things just because I got my eye on them.
Additionally, since I am a mom, I am putting the needs of the kids. Instead of bartering for personal stuff, I am prioritizing their milk, snacks, ingredients for dishes, and toiletries. I also prefer bathroom cleaners and toilet paper. Our family budget is saved!
The only personal indulgence would be plants — which actually benefits the whole family. Greening our home is part of my plan for our urban lifestyle.
This perspective has given me so much leeway in dealing with biddings and closing deals. And it has made me happy to see more open spaces at home.
Warning: Dangers in Barter
We have to remember that even our children have different personalities. The Bacolod Barter Community has grown to 231k members—that’s close to a quarter of a million people! Although different barter groups have varying numbers of members, the simple thing is clear—it is already a big society in each group.
Heck, the BBC has even forced Facebook to alter some of their codes to keep up with the requirements of the group.
Saying that, we cannot expect everyone to be kind, sympathetic, or patient. Each one brings his or her own perspective, character, upbringing, culture, and the like into the barter community. Add to that the generation gap as well as the technological challenges of the more senior group.
Of course, in any business transaction or trade, there are risks and also real dangers. In order for a successful barter to happen, we should also be safe.
Things to Remember
Here are things to remember when making deals for a truly successful barter.
The item. Get more information about the item you are bidding for. Make sure that it is what you want or need. Many people get disappointed because photos can be misleading.
Facebook profile. Check the profile of the person you are dealing with. Scammers can create new accounts just to be able to con people. You have the option to choose the best offer as well as the person whom you think you can trust.
Exchange phone numbers. You may need to exchange phone number with your ka-barts. So make sure that you are dealing with a reputable person.
Meet at a safe place. We have a physical store, so I do my exchanges there. I can give out the name Bacolod Wilmar Enterprises as well as the address and store hours because it is a public place.
However, I am concerned with those who to meet up. Please, do not agree to exchange at a remote location. And preferably, do it during the day. More than the barter, secure yourself and your home.
So if you are not sure of the other person, don’t give out your home address.
Hope these mommy tips for a successful barter can help you have a more enjoyable barter experience. Till the next exchange…
Meanwhile, here are other stories related to Covid-19 in this mommy blog. Just click on any of the links below:
- Stages of Dealing with the Covid-19 Pandemic
- Continuous Wearing of Face Masks and Frequent Hand Washing Fight Covid-19
- 3-Ingredient DIY Slime Recipe | Activity for Kids
- Createe Kit: Design Your Own Shirt for Emotional Intelligence
- Using Covilyzer UV Sterilization Lamp Against Covid-19 and Dust Mites
- Getting a Dental Checkup During the New Normal
- Homemade Garlic Corned Beef Recipe by Mommy Sigrid
- Healthy Home Habits from SM Home