By Meka Jones
January of this year, I ran two First Aid
completely on barter. I regularly teach this
workplace groups, where the students are reluctant -
and grumpy -
so I was curious to know who would take the course
I was also curious what kinds of swaps I might be offered. First Aid training is available everywhere, so there’s a pretty standard price point. But because it introduces the aspect of personal value, barter changes everything. I didn’t know whether accepting barter payment would make my class more valuable to my students, or just cheapen it.
As it turned out, the mix of offers was as interesting and varied as the students themselves. Because I was so focused on making the course available to everyone, I accepted nearly everything offered to me. This caused some difficulty in terms of collecting ‘payment’, and there are still a couple swaps that are incomplete. It was a good lesson for me. Next time, I’ll spend more time negotiating the details beforehand so everyone can have closure right away.
The courses themselves, from my point of view as an instructor, were just amazing. We started off the first day with a discussion of our experience using barter. Some folks were new to the idea, and others had lots of practice. This sharing of personal experience carried on through both days of the two-day course. I like to make use of expert knowledge whenever possible, and the wide variety of personal experience led to some fascinating discussions. By the end of the two days, each group had shared so much that they had to send around an email ‘resources list’ to contain all the tips, knowledge and information!
Some of the awesome swaps I received:
Kari took home most of my casserole dishes, and returned them the following week, filled up with wonderful freezer-ready dishes. I was blown away by the quality of her cooking. It really was better than restaurant food, and I like restaurant food a lot ;-)
Raj also supplied our freezer with food. In his case, a several-months supply of gluten-free breakfast muffins in various flavours.
Daniel is helping me plan and lay out the garden in my new house, which wasn’t necessary last January, but comes in handy now that we’ve moved!
made me a lovely gemstone bracelet and necklace set. I
had to ask
her to choose the design and stones for me because of
overwhelming variety of designs she offers.
Cara crocheted a rug for me, which warmed the kitchen hallway right up until we moved this summer.
Heidi built me a sweet wordpress website, and taught me how to maintain it myself. She also gave some very nice feedback: “I took my fifth first aid course with Meka. I learned more during this program than any other. Her style was entertaining and allowed for group sharing.” – Heidi
I am hoping to run another round of barter First Aid courses sometime this fall or winter, and I’m already excited to discover what cool swap offers I’ll get, and to meet the fascinating folks who will attend! If you’re interested in taking part, or want to ask questions or negotiate privately, please send me a message. All offers are welcome!
Also, if you're interested in sharing your special skill, knowledge or hobby by teaching an all-barter class, please get in touch with the Swapsity staff. Pitch us your idea, and we’ll be happy to help you work out the details. Some of us will probably even want to swap with you right away!
Raj wrote on Nov 8th 2012, 18:31
Marta, I want to mention that this was my first swap and I was extremely happy with the experience. Meka is an excellent instructor and I hope her story encourages more people to swap.
Cara wrote on Nov 10th 2012, 01:57
I truly had a great time with our group. Meka was a great instructor and knows how to lead well. :)