Calling all growers, home producers, craftsmen and women, artists, artisans, musicians and hobbyists--or anyone who is interested in doing things a little differently. The outdoor Barter Market at the Solidarity Economy Bazaar is a great opportunity to showcase your work while trading for other homemade specialty items or useful services.
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Contact Adrienne at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up as a barter market participant and you will be automatically listed in our online directory and conference program. Use the same e-mail to ask questions that are not answered below, or for clarification on issues specific to your individual situation.
What is a barter market?
A barter market is a space where people can trade goods and services with one another, without using money. It is about the creation and flow of value and wealth within a community, and finding alternative ways to meet our needs. Participants can trade goods directly with one another, or exchange goods for tickets which can then be used to "purchase" items.
When and where is this event happening?
The barter market will take place outside the conference at the Worcester Youth Center, from 10 am until 6 pm. Participants are free to set up as early as 9 am.
What kinds of things can I bring to the barter market?
Anything you can grow, make, or offer as a service is appropriate for the barter market. Fruits and vegetables, honey, maple syrup, baked goods, pickles, jams, novelty items, toys, CDs, soaps, knitted scarves and hats, jewelry, paintings, coupons for haircuts, massages, housecleaning, guitar lessons, etc--the possibilities are endless! Services can be offered on site and on demand--as with chair massages, or in the form of coupons to be redeemed at a later date.
Do I have to sign up in advance?
No--anyone who brings something to trade is welcome to participate whether or not they have pre-registered. However, only those who sign up in advance will be listed in the online directory and conference program.
Can I sell my items for cash at the barter market?
In the spirit of solidarity and alternative exchange, nothing is to be bought or sold at the barter market. However, you are free to advertise your business, to make people aware that what you are offering is also available for sale, and to make arrangements to sell a piece to a customer at another time and place.
What if I have nothing to trade?
Look around the barter market--you may be inspired to offer coupons for a particular service that you can provide (e.g. tax preparation or a haircut).
How will the market be set up?
We will have a few tables and some blankets for displaying items which will be available to participants on a first-come first-serve basis. We encourage all participants bring a folding table and/or chair for their own personal use if at all possible, or to improvise another means of display with boxes, crates, etc.
Is there a minimum number of items I can bring?
You can bring as much or as little as you like. We ask those who are offering service coupons to be especially mindful of and clear about how much time they are willing to commit to barter, so that they do not offer more coupons than they are able to handle. It is of course possible to put time-limitations or other restrictions on the coupons, for instance: "One hour of nutritional consultation, to be redeemed in the month of August, 2011."
How does it work?
We ask all participants to come with a suggested price in mind for their goods or services. This is only to ensure that others can gauge the value of their items--all participants are of course free to negotiate. Most trades will likely be direct trades: for example, I gives you a bag of produce in exchange for a nicely-made wooden box I'd like to use as a gift next Christmas. However, many times these direct trades will not be possible--particularly if there is a large difference between the suggested price of the items, or if you are uninterested in what I am offering. In these instances, either party can go to the main table and trade their items for tickets. 1 ticket will be issued for every dollar's worth of goods (as indicated by the suggested price): if you leave one $10 packet of handmade gift cards at the table, you will receive 10 tickets in return. These tickets can then be used to purchase items and services directly from participants, and the items you've left at the table will also be available for someone else to purchase with tickets.
Do I have to accept tickets in exchange for goods or services?
Yes, all barter market participants agree to accept tickets for goods or services--the tickets have no value in themselves, but are used as exchangeable IOU notes until the conclusion of the market, when participants will have redeemed all their tickets on goods or services from others.
What if I have tickets left over?
Getting tickets one item at a time is a good way of ensuring that you do not end up with more tickets than you want to use on the goods and services available. However, if at the end of the day any of your items are left on the main table, you can exchange the tickets for your own merchandise.
What kinds of things are not appropriate for the barter market?
The barter market is most appropriate for homemade items and personal services. Goods that are made by other people (including store bought and used items) are acceptable for direct trades as long as both parties are in agreement; however, these items cannot be exchanged for barter tickets.
Do I have to stay at my table all day?
No--you are free to leave the barter market at any time. Additionally, if you'd like to leave temporarily to attend a conference session, eat lunch, or take a break, we have volunteer staff available to watch your items, and you can resume trading when you return.