Regardless of what you do for a living, do you think a few hours of your time is worth a new flat screen TV? Let’s say you’re a surgeon. Should an appendectomy get you a kitchen reno? What would you offer your massage therapist in exchange for a 90-minute hot stone massage?
You think I’m crazy, don’t you?
Well I’m not. I’m talking about bartering. Which, I should tell you, goes back as far as the 1830’s, when the Owenite socialists in Britain and the United States first tried to organize barter exchanges. It was also the subject of yesterday’s WordPress Daily Prompt:
“If the world worked on a barter system, how would you fare? Would you have services to barter? Would you be successful, or would you struggle?”
Maybe I’m dreaming, but I think I’d do pretty well. I’m one of the lucky ones. Because of my career in advertising, I actually have something concrete to sell. Or to exchange for something else. I can write a website for you. I can write your blogs. I can develop an advertising campaign for you. Or a press release. Or a promotion. Or a strategy. I can put a team together (all of whom may or may not want to barter for their services), including myself, to create TV and radio commercials for you. Or print ads. Or billboards. Or events.
Value is easy enough for me to establish. I already do this work for paying clients. All I have to do, is look at my invoices.
So when you think about it, why shouldn’t I be able to exchange website copy for a month at a private villa in Barbados; with return airfare? Why shouldn’t I be able to exchange an extensive, multi-media ad and P.R. campaign for an Audi TTS Roadster? Or what about something simpler? Like an ad for a nice, 3-course dinner, with wine, for two people, at a five-star restaurant?
Personally, I think it makes tons of sense. Imagine if you could get access to many of the things you want or need, without ever having to reach into your wallet. What would you barter, for what, if you could?
Right off the top of my head, without even investing much time in it, I can think of several things. I’d write a monthly blog for a luxury hotel chain in exchange for one trip a month, for a week, to one of their properties. A different one each time, obviously. I’d write a micro site for my hairdresser, in exchange for complimentary haircuts and highlights, whenever I need them. I’d offer the same deal to my aesthetician. I wouldn’t mind not having to pay for manicures, pedicures and facials.
In the good, old days, major advertisers often paid upwards of a million dollars for a single TV commercial. All I’d want is a 1500 square foot, two-bedroom condo. If you think about it, it’s a bargain for the developer. Much cheaper than the commercial.
There are so many possibilities flying around in my head, I’m starting to give myself a headache. I may need to lay down. But think about it. I might never again have to pay for food, vacations, clothes, cars, computers, furniture. No more credit cards. No more debt. No more cash, for that matter. You could do the same, I’m sure.
Of course, if bartering really catches on the world economy might tank, but let’s not concern ourselves with that, for the moment.