Bartering is back
Every Saturday morning throughout the mid-1970s, Irish children – at least those living in places where BBC TV was available – would gather to watch Noel Edmonds and Keith Chegwin help kids living in glamorous sounding locations, like Wigan and Hull, swap toys.
For three hours, as part of the Multi-Coloured Swap Shop , people phoned in offers and requests – badminton racket for alarm clock, stylophone for cuddly toy, guitar for Evel Knievel stunt bike – with the most headline grabbing swaps making it onto the top ten swap board. It was cheap, addictive TV for kids but, in the early 1980s as those kids grew up, the swapping stopped and the programme disappeared.
Well swapping is back in vogue and has been given a 21st century make-over. The credit crunch, enhanced frugality and easy web access have seen people swapping and bartering with a gusto not seen since global capitalism was a twinkle in Adam Smith’s eye.