Cuevas-Rañada: Old ways in the new normal


DURING the height of Covid-19 pandemic, the creative minds and survival instincts of Kagay-anons went in full throttle as those in lockdown took advantage of the use of social media, creating a community of like-minded individuals who are willing to trade anything and everything that someone may have never thought of. Suddenly, Facebook was buzzing with the inceptions of several barter communities.

The proponents of these barter communities are still unknown to me. But whoever started this movement opened doors of infinite opportunities for our kababayans who are willing to do business with no money involved. The only requirement for a person to secure a successful deal is a good, clean, honest heart.

The barter system has been used for centuries and has been proven to be an effective method as a means to exchange goods or services for other goods or services in return. In the old days, exchange deals were done face-to-face. With the use of available technology, in our case the internet and social media such as Facebook, the old trading system has become more streamlined and sophisticated. Deals are now done online before the actual exchange of goods or services are made in person. This made the whole process of bartering swift and convenient for all parties involved.

As an average participant of this new phenomenon, this is one way that motivates me to start my long overdue of paring down of the things that I no longer need. The process of sorting out things that have been kept away for years was therapeutic. It was surprising to discover how much unnecessary stuff I've accumulated that were left unused and just been laying around inside storage boxes. Some of these stuffs are kitchen items, shoes, bags and watches. And most of these items are products of impulse buying or gifts. But one thing that I always made sure when offering an item for barter is that the product is in good, working condition or in almost brand new quality. That way, the person who will receive my item will truly get its worth and appreciate and enjoy the whole bartering experience.

But let us not get too excited with this old system that is sweeping our new normal. As with most things, there are downsides of bartering. Aside from the difficulty of determining the trustworthiness of the person you are dealing with, consumer protection and product warranty are not involved. I'm sure it will be disappointing to receive a poor or defective item in exchange for the pristine item you exchanged. And most often than not, there is a desire to receive more than the trade value of the item you barter. On the upsides, bartering offers great relief for those experiencing scarcity of cash caused by the pandemic. And since bartering is basically cashless transaction, we can still be able to get hold of the things we need without the use of money. This practice is clearly manifested in various bartering groups wherein skilled workers who are currently out-of-work such as electricians, carpenters, plumbers and the like are offering their services in exchange for grocery items to sustain their family. With bartering, we do not only get what we want or need, we are also able to help those who are in need in this very difficult times.

The whole concept of the barter system goes beyond with the successful exchange of goods or services. This trading system creates a community that does not discriminate and promotes camaraderie within our society. As we all collectively endeavor to make various barter networks flourish, we have to religiously adhere to fair business practices. The rules imposed by these trading communities are not written in stone, but defiance to these rules will certainly damage the reputation of the entire idea of the barter system. Nevertheless, keep your vigilance whenever you make a deal with someone you personally do not know. Happy bartering!


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