The movie in most people’s mind goes something like this:
The dollar is dead and civilization has collapsed, and even if you dare venture out to the supermarket or the local Walmart there’s not going to be anything on the shelves for you to buy.
But your wife and kids are complaining that supplies are getting low.
So what do you do?
One way to get the supplies you need is through survival bartering – and for a lot of us, trading for what we need became very, very real when the panic buying over COVID-19 emptied out the store shelves.
(I STILL can't find toilet paper anywhere.)
Not long ago I spoke with survival expert Pat Henry about this survival bartering, and he told me there are three major misconceptions that people have about it.
Here's a run-down of those three items.
The 3 Biggest Myths About Survival Bartering In A Collapse
Especially in disasters, things will get bad fast (as we've all seen now during the pandemic).
Those supply lines, where trucks bring in food to grocery stores and things like that?
Well, even FEMA sometimes can’t get the materials they need to be able to get.
That's when people really start to get nervous and jittery about what they’re going to do for long-term supply.
But it’s that long-term disaster – one that goes 60 days and beyond – when you really start looking at a new way of living.
At that point, especially if money isn’t really good anymore, that’s where bartering really becomes even more important.
You might do things to help your neighbors for free early on, because you're a neighborly person.
But once it looks like this is the way life could possibly be for an extended period of time, that’s where you really start getting into what goods do you have, what services can you trade… things like that.
There are a lot of misconceptions, because I think there’s a lot of this fantasy stuff out there on the Internet.
Let's summarize, then, the three biggest myths about survival bartering:
Myth #1: The Stores Will (Still) Be Open
People think they're going to be able to go into their local store with a different form of currency like their bartering supplies.
Or they think there'll be some kind of Mad Max Bartertown market set up.
That could happen, I guess, but it's not going to happen for a very long time.
When there is no economy whatsoever, people do talk.
Therefore, that's what you've got to take advantage of.
Maybe you hang up some fliers, and everybody knows that on a certain date at a certain location, everybody brings what they have to trade.
I can certainly see barter markets opening up eventually, but that takes time to establish.
Just understand that at first, there will be no rules and no one will know how to do it, because we'll all be in uncharted territory.
That brings me to…
Myth #2: Trades Will Be Fair
Another myth about survival bartering is that people think trading will always be fair.
They think you can just walk into a trade and you'll have an idea of the real value of the trade items.
“I'll give you six .22 cartridges for four eggs,” you'll say to the guy, or something like that.
But you won't always know, necessarily, what the fair value for a trade is.
You might end up giving away too much to get too little, because nobody knows how to trade early on, and everyone's going to be worried about giving too much to get too little.
It will take a lot of time to set up a trade system and a list of values that everyone is comfortable with.
Along the way, you may end up on the losing end of several trades, or you may end up inadvertently taking advantage of other people… people who will remember getting ripped off.
Myth #3: You'll Have ANYTHING That People Want
A lot of people store stuff thinking it will be useful for barter later.
That's all well and good, but your barter items are only as good as the value someone else places on them.
It's like our currency.
If there's no value on the dollar, nobody's going to give you anything for a dollar.
If you go to Bartertown with ten thousand Beanie Baby toys, nobody's going to give you a single .22 cartridge for something like that.
If all you have are trade items nobody needs, and for which there is no shortage, they're not going to trade for it.
Remember: Survival bartering is all about supply and demand.
It comes down to what you have.
The worst time to prepare is AFTER a disaster happens.
Start looking right now at what you would have to trade with if it comes to that during these troubled times.