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Becoming a trading center

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I read an interesting article awhile back about the idea of becoming a trading center or shop in the event of a national destabilization. After initial turmoil things will eventually (hopefully) settle into a rudimentary trade/barter system. The idea of the article wasn't to go and buy a storefront and set up a 5 and dime, but to stock on some small, indefinite shelf life, cheaper (for now) things that will have great value in the future. Bar soap, lighters/matches, etc... anything that will be in need and can be traded.

Having a fair/large amount of these items on hand can give a person/family a fair bit of leverage versus the unprepared as society begins to normalize, and can become a great profit center then for not a lot of cost now.

Of course, the obvious con is that you may be killed for your stockpile of Irish Spring.

What say you, folks? What are your thoughts about this idea as a whole, and maybe some specifics as to what you'd stock if you were to do so?

This is not to be confused with a skill like carpentry, etc, ehere you can trade your work for goods. I am simply referring to the idea of stocking cheaper/smaller physical items specifically for trade.
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Once you have enough supplies of all kinds (food, water system, personal supplies, etc.) to last you and yours for a long while, then yes, adding shelf-stable things that you can and will trade away with no detriment to you is a good idea. Those can be smaller items like you mentioned for small transactions (bar of soap in exchange for box of nails, for example) or they can be more valuable items like full propane tanks, hand tools, etc. Bottles of liquor are pretty good to have on hand too.


Of course, the obvious con is that you may be killed for your stockpile of Irish Spring.


Or you die of natural causes having never experienced the apocalypse and your legacy in your local town is to always be remembered as that crazy old man with a bedroom full of soap.

Edited by monkeylizard
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Now that I think about it, it wouldn't be a bad idea to start adding small items like that while building up the personal stash instead of adding them on at the end. If things go south before you get all your necessaries together, you'd have something to trade away to fill in your gaps. At around $9 for 100 plain paper matchbooks on Amazon, it's an easy thing to add. They will go bad if they absorb much moisture. You could stick a small desiccant pack in the box, saran-wrap it then dip it in paraffin and they'd probably stay good for as long as you'd care about them. Or don't bother and just buy a fresh box of 100 every few years to replace the old ones. At the price, it may not be worth bothering with trying to keep them super dry.

Edited by monkeylizard
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The key is to only stock things that YOU can/will use. The trading center may or may not work out and you don't want to have money tied up in something you can't use. Say for example durable work shirts, I wear a 2xl or 2xlt. It wouldn't make much sense for me to stockpile size medium shirts.

Do your research on what to get and most of it is just extras of what you already need anyways.

Yes a trading center will be invaluable, not so much in a temporary SHTF scenario but for full on TEOTWAWKI, absolutely.
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All good points, especially about keeping a low profile on this.


But have "extra" things, that you will have in your rotation for personal use, that can be used as barter items makes good sense. Actually good sense in an everyday kind of way.

If you purchase items you and your family use normally, you save money now. Our fiat currency is in a constant state of devaluation...we all see it and speak of it as in the "normal rise" in the cost of ammo and components...


Barter doesn't have to only be utilized in a SHTF scenarios or TWETOAWKI. We've experienced some financially difficult times related to family situations and illness and not having to go to the grocery store for a couple of months (using our stored items) was a God send and allowed to work through that situation and rebuild our stocks.


During the severe ammo and component shortage we all experienced a few years back, being able to barter items on hand proved extremely beneficial and markedly lessened that strain for me/us.


There is no reason that such couldn't be done sensibly. And having the ability to help a trusted friend in need without compromising your own situation is never a bad thing.


I respect that aspect of the Morman philosophy...having enough on hand not to burden your community and enough on hand to help friends in need.


The things we do to prepare make our day to day life more simple and less stressful...if their is no SHTF or TWETOAWKI....Great...I hope that will be so...but we're still better off in the long run.


But I would never consider putting up a sign and opening myself up to that fiasco...not saying anyone here would...only that I wouldn't.


Skills are, as always, invaluable. Having extra items to get you through the rough times is pretty valuable too.



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Barter will be king in the event of any breakdown of services.  Doesn't have to be SHTF or anything, just enough to throw our current economic standards into chaos.  In that situation, I won't care at all how valuable you think gold or silver is, but I'll want to hear about what you have excess of and might be willing to trade. 


While setting up a shop might not be the way to go, knowing what's in your inventory, what others need, and are willing to trade will become very common should said breakdown of services occur.  There were plenty of examples of in the 30s during the Great Depression, even if it was just neighbors trading sugar and bread.

Edited by btq96r
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I don't think it's a bad idea at all. But in running the risk that some of the unprepared may be willing to risk everything to get what they want by force, you need to know whether the risk vs. reward is worth it to you. If there really are that many people who value life so little, it may be of use to you to accept valuing their life just as little.

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I don't think it's a bad idea at all. But in running the risk that some of the unprepared may be willing to risk everything to get what they want by force, you need to know whether the risk vs. reward is worth it to you. If there really are that many people who value life so little, it may be of use to you to accept valuing their life just as little.

Yep. There can be a whole 'nuther thread... nay, another FORUM dedicated to that discussion! I pray it never comes to that but if it does, I hope I'm more Rick and Carol and less Dale and (recent) Morgan, lol!

I guess I want to refine a point in my OP. I guess my mind in this scenario is a few months past the intial collapse/chaos time frame. Did anyone watch Revolution or Jericho? (Revolution was terribly hokey, sorry I brought it up!) I'm working hard to hopefully get where we can be as self-contained/reliant as possible for roughly a season. My thoughts were about after that... what kind of stuff would be cheap now but valuable in the future if the traditional economy changes from what we know now.

I think about this because as it stands now I don't know that I have many valuable skills when there is no longer a service industry economy in the US. I've never farmed, never hunted, just do basic mechanicing (izzat a word?) very little construction, etc. I'm looking for other ways to increase my value on hand, as I work to learn more skillsets.

And the points about keeping home base unknown/hide the stash are well taken.

Something else I've thought of... cheap pocketknives. I think I'm going to just keep an eye out for anything that looks half way decent that can be had for a couple bucks. Heck, who can't use a pocket knife any time now, much less in a zombie apocalypse, lol!

And no, no ProTechs will be up for trade! Edited by musicman
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  • pool shock. Gotta get the right kind though. Can be used to make bleach. Liquid bleach breaks down pretty quick. The powder lasts a looooong time. Lots of info on these here Interwebs on that.
  • matches/fire steels
  • toilet paper
  • pencils
  • hand tools (wrenches, saws, hand drills, etc)
  • canning supplies
  • compasses with maps of the area
  • shoe strings
  • rope
  • all sorts of long-lived medical supplies (bandages, rubber tubing, nitrile gloves, etc.)
  • mylar space blankets
  • kitty litter
  • plastic sheeting
  • buckets
  • paper how-to manuals
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Think about what can you absolutely not live/survive without. Food, water, shelter, security. Those are the well known basics. That means farming, hunting, fishing, raising animals, construction, shooting, and defensive tactics. Those are skills that you should try to learn. It's not as easy as buying something but once you learn that skill, it can/will make you money the rest of your life. Training is the most valuable thing you can buy.

Other skills that will be very valuable are basic first aid to advanced medical care, ability to do handyman type repairs, automotive repair, carpentry, leather working, metal working, etc.

This is not to say that you shouldn't stockpile goods, it's actually a really great idea. Some things aren't worth making if you can buy it. Take scissors for example. It would take a long time to make a pair of scissors when you can buy a pair for 99 cents. Same with mirrors or many other things. Think about things that the Indians didn't have but Americans had after we became industrialized.

Also, google what sorts of things have an indefinite shelf life. Many spices do. Peanut butter, it only separates, mix it up and it's good to go. Same with honey. Honey and cinnamon is a home remedy for lots of health issues.
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