The new world order: SoCal style

Written By: Kathy Price-Robinson - May• 03•08

If this works out, I might shoot for yard work in exchange for avocados. I could even throw in some lemons to help the guacamole along.My entry into the world of barter — the new world order referenced above — is the result of a perfect storm consisting of (1) a broken Pottery Barn market umbrella, (2) my ridiculously fruitful avocado trees and (3) the miracle that is Craigslist.

The umbrella is a delightful red and blue paisley that goes so well with my newly red house. I got the umbrella at the end of the season last year for only $39 plus shipping. So for about $50 I got an umbrella that originally cost $129 plus shipping.

After I enjoyed its shade on my back patio for a few months, we had some unusual wind events (global climate change?), and one day it went flying in the wind, landed on its side and ended up with two broken spokes.

I pondered those broken wooden spokes for a few months. They have hinges in the middle, and the spokes are broken there, so it’s not just a matter of glue and screws. I could not send this umbrella off to the landfill, but neither could I fix it myself nor find an umbrella repair shop nearby.

Finally it occurred to me that someone I might find on Craigslist could fix it, and I soon realized a big basket of organic avocados of uncommonly good taste (according to many witnesses) would be the perfect barter bait.

I posted my proposal yesterday with photos of the broken umbrella and a close-up of the fruit ripening in the sun. Within 24 hours I had two responses, and I chose the one that sounded most promising. I’m dropping the umbrella off to the guy today, with a bag of avocados as a "down payment."

I’ll let you know how, and if, it works out.

Have you ever bartered? Would you recommend it to others?

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One Comment

  1. Water Lady says:

    I love your story of capitalism at work in your life.

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