Do you have the goods? Bartering is making a comeback in Birmingham

Toys for pets and kids seem to be some of the most in-demand items in Birmingham. Photo via Unsplash

While it used to be the foundation of most economies, bartering has become fairly outdated in recent decades, particularly in the states. With many incomes slowing down, the practice is gaining traction. Check out the details + learn how to barter in Bham.

Remind me what this is.

Definition via Merriam-Webster

Sure. It’s been a while since we learned about it in school. As you can see, the technical definition of bartering is “to trade by exchanging one commodity for another” or “to trade goods or services in exchange for other goods or services.”

It’s pretty basic—you give something to get something.

So why is it making a comeback?

Are cans the new cash? Photo via Unsplash

Well, if you’ve turned on the news lately, you’ve probably heard of this virus going around called COVID-19. The novel coronavirus has thrown a wrench in a whole bunch of things (read: everything). Millions of people’s incomes have and will be affected by this crisis, which means there’s less money to exchange for the items people need.

Enter bartering. Need baby formula but have an abundance of diapers? Grass needs cutting but willing to pressure-wash? Running low on dog food but stockpiled canned food? Bartering may be for you.

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I’m game—how do I get in on this?

Give to get! Photo via Magic City Bartering on Facebook

Ahhh, modern-day bartering. No more heading down to the market with a sack of items you’re ready to trade. Online bartering is definitely the way to go, and a group of Birmingham citizens made it easy.

Magic City Bartering is a Facebook page with almost 1,400 members. It’s private, but if you agree to follow the page guidelines, anyone can join. Bartering of anything from homemade goods, food, art, services and knowledge is encouraged.

All you have to do is post what you’re willing to trade and what you need in exchange. There are already hundreds of posts in the group advertising all kinds of items, including:

  • Plants
  • Nonperishable food items
  • Toys for kiddos
  • Pet supplies
  • Technology
  • + a whole lot more

Last thing! Don’t forget to stay safe.

Now taking song recommendations for my handwashing routine. Photo via Unsplash

When exchanging goods in this way, it’s still important to take precautions to stay as healthy as possible. One page admin in Magic City Bartering shared this info:

“When engaging in bartering please make sure to not be in contact with each other:

-Choose a pickup/drop off location like a front porch.
-Clean item and wear gloves or wash your hands as soon as item is handled.
-Concerning service exchanges, please do not engage in barters that involve in-person contact until this pandemic is over.”

Véronique Vanblaere, Page Admin

One more reminder: due to Birmingham’s current “shelter in place” ordinance, any bartering pickups or dropoffs should be completed while on your way to necessary errands and/or outdoor exercise listed in the ordinance.

Are you getting in on the bartering game, Birmingham? Let us know on social @BhamNow

  • A Birmingham transplant who can usually be found hitting a new hiking trail or restaurant opening when she's not writing stories and snapping photos for Bham Now.