Before there was money, there was barter, the ancient concept of trading something you have to someone else who wants it, and who, in turn, has something you want.
It’s a win-win.
For longtime business partners Steve McHugh and Antonio Palazzola, the art of the deal is the best way of getting around the current cash-poor economy. Their techniques are on display in the new A&E Network reality series “Barter Kings,” premiering Tuesday, June 12.
“I met Antonio 15 years ago,” McHugh tells Zap2it, “actually 17 years ago, and we opened up a couple of shops. We saw so much stuff between 2005 and 2008 in people’s garages, in people’s houses, and heard people’s stories about how bad the economy is and about things they weren’t using in the garage, that we thought were cool and would want.
“So, we just went out on a limb and started asking people if they were willing to trade. Lo and behold, one thing turned into another and turned into another, and then we opened up a trade shop. Here we are today, doing amazing things.”
When people have stuff they paid cash for, but nobody wants to give them cash in return, a trade might be just the thing.
“If somebody turns to barter instead of cash,” says McHugh, “there are ways to make the perceived value of the trade worth it for both parties. That’s what Antonio and I specialize in, making sure both parties win when we do a trade, and that everybody walks away happy.”
As to whether there’s any particular thing that’s just about impossible to trade, Palazzola says, “No, we’ve pretty much been successful with everything. It’s just a matter of time at that point. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. It’s just finding the right person to trade with.”
“Most things are used that you barter with,” says McHugh, “something, at some point, that has been purchased before. So somebody wants it somewhere. History repeats itself. Somebody purchased it new, and you’re trying to trade it used.
“It can be done again. You just have to find the right person.”