Have you ever heard the story of Kokopelli? He may well have been the first to barter as well as the first salesman.
One legend describes him as a trader who traveled from tribe to tribe bartering and trading trinkets and foods from all the varied Indian tribes around the country.
Many believe that Kokopelli was not just a trader but a storyteller as well as a messenger, bringing information and news gathered from other tribes. Also somewhat of a musician, Kokopelli announced his arrival (securing his identity and safety) by playing his flute as he approached a community.
He had other "talents" (being a fertility god) but that part of the story would take us WAY off topic.
With no need for a flute now days, bartering may be necessary in a post-disaster scenario. Just imagine a disaster situation where it might be the only means of acquiring necessities - just ask the people of Venezuela.
Picture some natural disaster, such as an earthquake or hurricane, where most everything is broken or wiped out. The stores will be closed. Electricity will be interrupted. Most everything would stop in today's technologically-dependent world.
Or imagine hyperinflation where it takes megabucks to buy even a gallon of milk. It could be temporary or long term.
In any of those situations, there will be those who need items and those who have them. How do you prepare your family with every single necessity? For most of us, I don't believe it's really possible to stock every needed item.
So bartering could, in these situations, become a normal way of life — food, water, and shelter being the most important.
The list could be endless because, as you are well aware, we use so many different items every single day — some are necessities — some are not. So where do we start?
Here's a list to start the thinking processes, but I'm sure you can come up with many other items as you interact with your own possessions throughout a day or week.
You might wonder about stocking alcohol and tobacco for bartering. It would depend on your personal views about these products, but those who are addicted to these substances are out there and would gladly trade useful items to support their addictions.
I have read several opinions about bartering weapons and ammunition and all I have to say about these items is: be very careful. Yes, they could be VERY useful items to barter with — either buying or selling. But use caution so that you do not become a victim when trading weapons. It would probably come down to the ability to trust others. Can you trust a stranger? Maybe. I would definitely trust a person that I know well ("know well" being the most important criteria).
Ammunition would be safe to trade and, depending on the particular crisis, most likely would be in high demand. Since we humans have a strong natural instinct to survive, some may even trade food for ammunition if they feel sufficiently threatened.
After a disaster isn't the only reason to barter for goods. In reality, bartering probably takes place every day somewhere — just because it works for many people. It has advantages, like: