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Live Mic: Pandemic brings back the barter and trade economy

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — In times of crisis and uncertainty, and these are those times for sure, people hold onto to their cash. So how do you go about getting the stuff you need or want? The barter and trade system of medieval times has returned during this global pandemic.

Social networks such as Facebook and Nextdoor are loaded with posts from neighbors and friends seeking everyday things no longer available at the local grocery store, such as toilet paper.

How barter and trade works

Jana Dahl, CEO of Provo-based America’s Barter Exchange, joined Lee Lonsberry, host of Live Mic, to discuss how the barter and trade system works in 2020.

She said the company  has about 850 members to exchange with.

“They trade their products and services for a trade currency, instead of a cash currency, and that goes into a checking account,” Dahl said. “We work like their bank. We send out statements. We’re a third-party record-keeper. And then we market their products and services to other members,” she said.

According to the company website, you decide what you want or need — things you would normally pay cash for. Then, it works like this:

    1. Call, text, or email your personal trade director and ask them to find that product or service for you, or
    2. Search the directory for what you are interested in, or
    3. Use your trade dollars to purchase directly or go to the business, and they will send their invoice to the company to debit from your account.

“It’s not direct trading,” Dahl said. “[Barter and trade is] just another form of currency, and another way to maximize their businesses.”

Bartering and trading in the pandemic

She said trading has increased during the coronavirus pandemic, and her members are spending their trade dollars instead of cash.

America’s Barter Exchange has offices in Provo and Las Vegas and soon an outlet in Hawaii.

Dahl said she’s seen much more barter and trade activity in her neighborhood. Trading during massive layoffs and stay-at-home orders is a way people can fulfill their needs or wants for goods or services without spending cash, she said

“It’s also a great way, even if you’re not a member of a trade exchange, to use your creativity and see what you have to trade for what somebody else has,” she said.


Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

State of Utah: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line 18004567707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app