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With economic crisis making credit scarce, bartering is booming
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Los Angeles Times/Boston Globe

Los Angeles Times/Boston Globe, November 21, 2008
Posted: December 5th, 2008

As the financial crisis makes cash and credit increasingly scarce, the ancient custom of bartering is booming. Cost-conscious consumers are getting creative to make every dollar count. Some are dusting off books, DVDs, video games, and other little-used items to trade for necessities or gifts. Others are exchanging services such as house painting for Web design or guitar lessons for clerical work. These newly minted cheapskates are seeing the world through green eyeshades, cutting costs wherever and whenever they can. "In the last couple of months, it's been like a bucket of cold water in our faces," said Mary Hunt, founder of money management site "It has woken us up. We are paying attention to what things cost." Every recession triggers bartering, economists say. But the Internet has given the practice unprecedented reach. Before the Web connected strangers from anywhere, bartering was limited by geography and social circle. As a form of everyday currency, bartering has downsides. It's far more time-consuming and tricky to negotiate the exchange of goods and services than it is to simply plunk down some bills. Sometimes prospective swappers flake out or try to rip off their trading partners. Transactions don't always go smoothly. Still, exchanging something you no longer want or need for something you do is appealing to many. A growing number of websites, including and, cater to the cost-conscious. There were 148,097 listings in the barter category of Craigslist in September, up sharply from 83,554 a year earlier.

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