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Ready, Willis and Able – Bartering becomes yerdling (March 18, 2015 issue)

This is the year the Class of 1968 turns 65. And, oh my, how the world has changed since we entered school in 1956. Believe it or not, in 1956, it was still possible to barter produce and other farm products for “store-bought” goods in country stores. I remember this well because of a minor crime I committed in first grade involving the pop-bead fad sweeping the nation. Any of you remember those colorful, 1950s plastic beads that fastened together to make a necklace?
Even without Internet and today’s social media, this pop bead craze had reached Temple Hill School in the south end of the county. And I wanted a string of those beads more than anything. But my practical mother wasn’t into fads, so I was out of luck. That is until Granddaddy Dave Willis asked that I negotiate a transaction involving bartering a dozen eggs at Farnor’s Store.
At this time, my father was a timber cutter, working for Earl McIntosh. So he dropped me off at Earl’s each morning to catch the Temple Hill bus. Then I rode the bus back to Earl’s house after school and stayed with his wife Kate and daughter Zetta Merle until Dad returned and picked me up in his log truck to head back to Willis Cove. On the fateful morning of my crime, he handed me a brown paper bag with Granddaddy’s eggs in it and instructed me to have Zetta Merle take them to Farnor’s Store to exchange for some kind of over-the-counter remedy. As I recall it was either Epson Salts or Syrup of Black Draught. But I somehow gave Zetta Merle the impression that Granddaddy wanted pop-beads.
I remembered this early bartering experience while reading an article about a new high-tech way of bartering, which is becoming very popular. It is called yerdling, and is powered by today’s Internet via a website called Yerdle. And just as in old-fashioned bartering, there is no exchange of money. Folks donate items they no longer want and earn credits toward acquiring items that other folks have donated to the Yerdle inventory. It sounds like a good way for us Baby Boomers, who are so minded, to do some serious decluttering as we approach the downscaling phase of our senior years.
You can donate without taking anything in return. This makes Yerdle a great resource for folks who could use some of the items Boomers are donating. Yerdling is also environmentally friendly because it is a great way to keep from filling the land fills with perfectly usable items that folks no longer need or want. In fact, this was a major motivation of Yerdle’s founder Adam Werbach when he founded the company three years ago, and hopefully will be one of the outcomes of his efforts.
As for the outcome of my early bartering experience, I didn’t get in trouble with Granddaddy. But I still remember having to show him that bag of pop-beads.