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The Barter System

I recall my father teaching young men in the San Luis Valley the printing profession. In payment, the priest who initiated this occupational service for the youth would pay my father in wine. My dad didn't drink wine. My mom didn't drink. Period. Thus, after their deaths, my siblings and I discovered in the old cedar chest - bottle after bottle of crystallized wine.

A great deal of the work he did for others was for nothing. That was him.

My mom was a marvelous seamstress; we would window shop and I would point out dresses that I particularly liked. Then, entering the store, my mother would examine the dress, go home and sew the same dress for me! Oh, how fortunate I was. She also did sewing for friends and neighbors and did not accept any payment. But of course, these friends and neighbors would grace us with something like home-grown vegetables, canned fruit, an especially pretty beaded evening purse for me (at twelve years of age!!) from an aged neighbor who probably had it on her arm in the 1920s with her flapper dress swirling as she danced.

My father also did a lot of print shop work for Orval Ricketts at the Hustler Press in New Mexico and I recall the payment for one particular job: a lovely Two Grey Hills rug. Trade. Barter. It's back.

The exchange of goods and services remains mostly local matter, the Internet is taking corporate barter to new heights.

Airline Reservations Network in Orlando, Fla., sold $800,000 worth of airline tickets last year without receiving a nickel of cash. How? Company president Scott Bender says it's because his company embraces barter. "We barter airline tickets for printing, advertising space and employee benefits," says Bender. "Barter boosts our profitability by opening up a whole world of opportunity."

Financial Executive, January 1, 2001