Although more than 2,800 years have passed since the Greeks invented the first coins, bartering has not ceased to be a common practice among human beings, especially in times of economic crisis and difficulties like the current ones, derived from the coronavirus pandemic. If in prehistoric times the exchange of objects and food took place in public spaces, today the internet has become the great ally to promote them.
This is what two neighbors and friends of Vélez-Málaga thought, Andrés García and Jezabel López, who just three months ago created the public group 'Trueque Vélez y comarca' in the well-known social network. In this time they have achieved a success that was not expected: more than 21,400 members and adding new ones every day, more than 81,000 items offered and 2,500 exchanges completed.
The main motto that prompted them to create this meeting point to promote barter between the residents of Vélez-Málaga and the eastern region is 'We empty your storage room and fill your pantry'. "We all have closets at home full of clothes that the vast majority do not wear, garages and storage rooms full of objects that we no longer use, and that if we try to sell it will cost us a lot, and more now as things are" García, who works as an administrative manager.
Between 2015 and 2019 he was a trusted position in the Veleño City Council in the Environment Area, taking care of the removal of furniture and belongings from the streets. "It is an idea that has been around me since then, because I realized the large amount of things that people throw away and that have value, because they are in good condition," he says.
However, it was the initiative of his friend Jezebel that finally convinced him. «In my hometown, Villa del Río, in Córdoba, a cousin of mine created it a few years ago and it works very well, so I knew that the response was going to be good, and what we have achieved so far is nothing compared to what is to come ", points out López, who works as a 'medium'.
"Unfortunately things are going to get pretty bad with this Covid-19 crisis, so I think we have to help people survive what is coming our way", argues López, who believes that it is " very important »to educate and share what one has,« to step into other people's shoes ». Thus, in these months she has completed a dozen exchanges, mainly toys and clothes for tools and food. "If I have dresses in my closet that I no longer wear or toys from my grandchildren that they no longer use, what better way to exchange them for something I do need?" Asks the co-promoter of the barter initiative.
For his part, Andrés García points out that the success of the page is causing us to "be copied" in many other towns and cities in Spain. Thus, they are receiving messages to share their basic rules and principles. "We are gladly facilitating it, for us it is a pride that people follow us and want to start other barter groups, with this we do not earn any money nor do we intend to do so," he says.
Not surprisingly, money is one of the commandments that is totally prohibited on the page. "We have a team of trackers, people who review messages, and the moment someone offers money for something they are blocked," he highlights. Nor is the exchange of animals, alcoholic beverages "or products harmful to health" allowed. "For now, all the people who are participating in the exchanges are respecting the rules and we have not had any problems," explains García. Thus, once a user publishes the photo of what he wants to exchange, the bid begins, until the person offering his consent. From there, they are asked to publish a photo with the exchange made, to
The group's rules state that you cannot accept money, or exchange animals or alcoholic beverages
María Asunción Espejo, a 33-year-old neighbor of the capital from Axarquia, is one of the most active members of the group. It has already completed around thirty exchanges, mainly of clothes and household items for cleaning products, olive oil, cans of tuna, eggs and vegetables. "Luckily both my husband and I have work, but it seems to us a very original way of getting rid of what you don't need and it is taking up space at home," she says.
Three 'Satisfayer' vibrators
Although the bulk of the exchanges have been for household items and food, real estate operations, houses, garages and premises, and vehicles such as cars and motorcycles have also been closed. Among the anecdotes, the Facebook group has served to find a new owner for one of the most demanded sexual objects in recent years, the well-known 'Satisfyer' vibrator. Three of these gadgets have been traded. "They didn't want to take a picture," Garcia jokes. For Christmas they have organized a raffle for a 'barter basket'. Those interested get two entries for each of the articles they give.
These are the articles that have been published on the Facebook page 'Trueque Vélez y comarca', with which more than 2,500 exchange operations have been closed in the barely three months that the public group has been operating.
Above, Andrés García exchanged a printer for two containers of softener with Mercedes Gil; bottom left, Ana and María Asunción exchanged cleaning products and vegetables; and to the right, Jezabel and Estrella, in the exchange of the bike and the clothesline. / SOUTH