This Pawn Stars Negotiation Technique Will Guarantee You The Best Value For Your Items After SHTF

C. Davis
By C. Davis June 1, 2017 00:00

This Pawn Stars Negotiation Technique Will Guarantee You The Best Value For Your Items After SHTF

Plenty people distrust the financial system, and they’re right to. When our society is ticking over as normal everything works fine, but if society collapses the financial system will be one of the first things to go. When that happens it doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank; you won’t be able to get at any of it.

However, cash is not the answer to post-SHTF trading. All modern currencies are fiat currencies. They don’t have any innate value; the only reason a dollar bill is worth a dollar is that we all agree it is. When the system falls apart your roll of greenbacks doesn’t have any real worth. Would you exchange food or ammunition for pieces of paper that might never have value again?

No, if you want to be able to trade after the collapse, you’re going to have to forget the idea of fiat currencies and start thinking about things that have value because of what they are, not what we agree that they represent.

Instead, the post-catastrophe will be based on barter, just like it was before governments emerged and started encouraging the use of currency. People with a surplus of essentials will trade them for whatever they’re running short of. 

No doubt you’ll find that you aren’t using some supplies as much as you thought you would, while others are going down at an alarming rate. That’s when you start talking to your neighbors, or anyone who’s passing through, and find out what they are short of. It could be you’ll find a mutually beneficial trade.

If you want to get ahead, though, you could stock up barter goods so you can trade without eating into your personal supplies. There are a few things that are going to be in demand. Even better, some of them are ridiculously cheap – but, after a collapse, they’ll become very valuable simply because most people won’t have thought to stock up on them.

Here are some leading post-SHTF trade goods:

1. Ammo

This one is obvious. Ammunition is going to be in serious demand quite quickly, not because people will find they’re running low on them… but because there won’t be any to buy. If you have some to spare, you’ll have no trouble finding people willing to trade for it. Stick to standard calibers – .308, 5.56mm (not .223), 12-gauge and 9mm NATO. Throw in some .45 ACP – lots of people use it. And make sure all your own weapons are in standard calibers too; it doesn’t matter how great a wildcat round is when there’s no way to get any more.

Related: Best SHTF Ammo Types

2. Water filters

Water is always a top survival priority – but water itself is bulky and heavy. If you can supply the tools to produce safe water that’s valuable, and plenty of people will be willing to trade for it. You can stock up on inexpensive filter cartridges that can be built into an improvised system. Even better, learn how to make your own from activated charcoal and you’ll have a barter resource that will never run out. Here are the 5 water storage myths you probably don’t know.

3. Food

If you have some extra MREs, canned goods or freeze-dried supplies, you should be able to swap these for other items. Unless you have a huge supply they won’t last for long, though. It’s better to have the homemade MRE’s ready in time and have a surplus available to barter with.

4. Salt

Salt doesn’t just make food taste better; it’s also a valuable tool for preserving it. During a long-running crisis it’s going to be in high demand, and most people aren’t going to have a supply of it. If you’re the one with a few sacks of it you’ll be in a strong barter position. Salt costs a dollar for a small box in Walmart, but if you’re buying 50-pound sacks it’s a lot cheaper.

5. Tools

Power tools are great, until the power goes off. Even if you have a generator you should have some old-style hand tools for yourself – generators, and even the protection circuits in your cordless drill’s battery, aren’t guaranteed to survive an EMP. Imported Chinese hand tools are cheap and robust. Hand drills, saws and axes are good choices.

6. Reading glasses

Supplies of disposable contacts run out. Glasses get broken. For anyone who needs corrected vision that’s a serious issue, and they’d probably be willing to trade on good terms for a replacement. Cheap reading glasses might not be as good as prescription ones, but they’re a lot better than nothing. You can also pick them up on Amazon at $9 for six pairs. Get a couple of different diopter strengths for maximum barter power.

7. Batteries

The best option for your own post-apocalypse electronics is rechargeable lithium-ion batteries; with a portable solar charger you can keep small devices like eBook readers (a great way to hold an extensive survival library) running for years. For everyone else, keep a stock of AA cells to barter. Do you know what are the best batteries for survival?

8. Ice

Without power, keeping fresh produce from spoiling is a real struggle. An icebox is going to be what most people rely on – but how do you get ice without a freezer? If you get cold winters, take advantage – make ice in large chunks (try lining a garbage can with a plastic sack) then pack it in sawdust and store it in the basement. It will last for months. In the 19th century merchants in New England and Britain made a fortune shipping ice to India, in sailing ships.

9. Sugar

Like salt, this makes a good preservative. It’s also a good source of energy, and one of those luxuries that a lot of people will struggle to go without. Again like salt, it’s cheap if you buy it by the sack. It might be a good idea to stock up on cheap instant coffee as well – people will trade for that too. Here are 19 more foods that will outlast you.

10. Tobacco

Have you noticed how desperate smokers are for a cigarette when they get off the plane after a one-hour flight? Imagine how they’ll feel when they’ve run out and all the stores have been looted. If you have some tobacco after the collapse, you can ask a good price for it.

One thing to keep in mind is that some of the people you might be bartering with might be desperate – especially if they’re looking for essentials like food. Your stocks of barterable goods, and the rest of your supplies, are going to be a tempting target. Don’t let it be known that you have a stash of valuable items. Sound out potential traders before letting on what you have, and be ready to protect your supplies.

You don’t just need to consider items stored in your home. If you’ve cut a load of extra firewood for barter, or you have surplus crops in your vegetable patch, you need to make sure they’re protected from scroungers and looters. Set some non-lethal booby traps around your property to frighten off intruders or at least let you know they’re prowling around. In extreme situations people will only trade for necessities if they can’t get them some other way – and “some other way” includes theft. Your barter supplies are there to help you and others when help’s most needed. You don’t want them to attract the wrong sort of attention.

Bartering Techniques inspired From Pawn Stars

My favorite show on TV is Pawn Stars on the History Channel. I learned that your aim is to get the best value you can in each exchange. Why pay two boxes of 12-gauge shells for your neighbor’s surplus antibiotics when they’d have been happy with one? Remember, there won’t be any fixed prices. We’re used to paying what it says on the label, and we’ll all have to get out of that habit.

In other cultures, like the Middle East, haggling over prices is common. If you’ve ever bought anything from an Istanbul bazaar you might be familiar with this process. There’s a rate of exchange both of you will be happy with, and the trick is to find out what it is. Remember, it’s important that both of you are happy. You want what you’re trying to barter for; they want what you’re offering. It isn’t in either of your interests for the deal to fail – but if you try to push too hard they might walk away, then come back after nightfall with some armed friends.

The first rule is not to reveal how large your stocks are. Psychologically, you can drive a harder bargain for that pair of reading glasses if they think it’s the only pair you have. If they know you have three dozen pairs in a box, they’ll assume you put a lower value on them and set out to pay less.

Stay calm. Have you noticed that sometimes on Pawn Stars people get very angry and they don’t succeed? Bartering fails if anyone starts getting angry. You’re trying to make a deal that you’ll both benefit from; it isn’t a competition. The ideal is for you to both walk away feeling like you’ve won, and if you find yourself focusing on how to make the other guy lose you’re doing it wrong.

Another thing to keep in mind about there being no fixed prices – the value of something is going to depend on how badly someone needs it. Someone who thinks a case of MREs would be a handy reserve on top of their existing food stocks will pay a lot less from them than someone who’s hungry. To get the best value for your barter goods chat to anyone you meet, find out what they’re short of and then make your offer. Focus on giving people what they need, not just things they might want. You’ll get more in return, and you’ll do them more good too.

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C. Davis
By C. Davis June 1, 2017 00:00
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  1. grayfox114 June 1, 14:31

    You almost made me turn this off as soon as you said 5.56 NOT 223………….At some point in history this MIGHT have been true, no more. 5.56/223 are one and the same, interchangeable! Don’t spoil an otherwise good article by putting out wrong/false/ignorant info!

    Reply to this comment
    • Francis T June 1, 17:35


      They aren’t the same, and firing 5.56 through a rifle chambered for .223 can be a problem.

      Reply to this comment
    • Wayne June 1, 18:23

      Grayfox 114 has a valid point, ANY rifle that is rated to fire 5.56 can fire 223 ! However a rifle that is rated for 223 only should not fire 5.56 {it can physically do so} but is not recommended because the military 5.56 has a higher pressure. Most Modern firearms will handle both but if the rifle’s barrel says 223 ONLY stick to that !

      Reply to this comment
    • 3% June 1, 18:35

      The ammo is almost the same, BUT not the rifle you shoot it from. 5.56 rifle can shoot 223, but a 223 CANNOT shoot 5.56.

      Reply to this comment
    • Raj June 1, 19:56

      Isn’t the 5.56 a more powerful charge ? Repeated use in a 223 will damage it? Since most folks have 223 it would be good info to get straight…..

      Reply to this comment
    • BroButchieFromStreets June 2, 01:47

      Awesome, I did not know that

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck June 3, 00:33

        One point of confusion for me is that the Ruger Mini 14 is stamped “.223” but Ruger literature says that is safe to fire 5.56 in their Mini 14. When I reviewed .223 vs 5.56 for comments further down this list, the article talked about leade. It got me to thinking. Until very recently the Mini-14 was always rather infamous for not being a “match grade rifle.” It just wasn’t the rifle you took to Camp Perry if you wanted to win a medal. I have always heard through the grapevine that was due to a rather generous chamber in the Mini-14. A rifle will have a generous chamber if the manufacturer thinks it is going to be used in rugged conditions. It makes for a more reliably functioning weapon when the chips are down. Match rifles on the other hand have a rather precise chamber. Bench rest shooters insist on tight chambers and hand load their cartridges so that the ogive of the bullet just touches the rifling. That necessitates rather careful hand loading. It also means that one needs to clean the chamber more frequently than if there is generous chamber. I think Ruger built the early Mini14s with a generous chamber, thinking that the gun would probably be stored in a rack in the back window of a pickup and would be cleaned religiously once every 25 years whether it needed it or not. So while you might not be able to reliably place shots in the X-ring at 600 yards, you certainly could reliably put a shot in a coyote at 50 yards. The AK and the SKS which are famous for reliability also are reputed to have generous chambers which again accounts for their “minute of human figure” accuracy as opposed to Perry Match accuracy. If you are banging away at a zombie horde 100 yards away you really want an AK. On the other hand, if you are trying to nail that antelope in Wyoming at 400 yards and are using an AK all I can say is I hope you are lucky.

        Reply to this comment
    • red thumb June 3, 17:43

      The two two three is no where close to a five point five six! The point two two three is. It will be the little things that will cause the problems.

      Reply to this comment
  2. jawfrost June 1, 16:34

    A 223 round is in fact as important as a 5.56 if not more valuable you can use a 223 in a 5.56 bored weapon but you can’t use a 5.56 in a 223 bored weapon.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Older prepper June 1, 18:30

    Good grief; that picture of the tattooed, not shaven, and long haired men, makes me wonder what happened to society?
    None of them look clean, or smart. ugh.

    Reply to this comment
    • Illini Warrior June 2, 11:15

      I ‘ve been watching for years – still haven’t figured out whether those two are as stupid as they play on the show – it keeps going back & forth for them in the real world ….

      Reply to this comment
  4. 3% June 1, 18:38

    Do NOT barter ammo. It will be used against you.

    Reply to this comment
    • Older prepper June 1, 19:27

      3%; HIGH FIVE! Why would one want to do that?

      Reply to this comment
    • Brad June 1, 21:01

      Glad I’m not the only one who’s thought that.

      Reply to this comment
    • wasntme June 2, 00:27

      Yeah. Your neighbor may take 1 box of 12 gauge for the antibiotics, then use one round on you and take the other box. And everything else you have.

      Reply to this comment
      • Troll March 13, 19:25

        Well that?or do the hell without ?we all need of at that point in real shoot him before he shoots you..then guess who has upper hand

        Reply to this comment
    • BroButchieFromStreets June 2, 02:41

      Well, if I am that afraid, I won’t be bartering anything. Lol You should not break out yer goods without adequate support.
      But, bartering with a box or two of ammo will be worth 15x maybe 20x the value of, say a box of canned vegetables.
      The fact that you have ammo to barter with will send a msg. 1) that you have plenty enough resources to defend what is yours.
      2) that you are probably much smarter than most people cause you saw this coming and acted to prepare yourself for just such an occasion. Wisdom has a price value as well.
      If you are a certified prepper, able to thrive not just survive when the SHTF, you are soon gonna collect a following of desperate people willing to die for a leader that can teach them how to set up a shelter, hunt for game with and with out firearms, and protect their families.
      Not if it happens but when it happens, if you are a leader, then lead.
      Don’t compete for leadership, wait for it to come to you.
      Remember the first true mark of a leader is,
      he knows how to follow a good leader as well.
      There will be a tremendous need immediately for good skilled leadership.
      I don’t see us slipping 10,000 yrs back into the Stone age. We are too socially advanced and intelligent for that.
      But, unfortunately a 300 yr. set back would be devastating.
      When it happens remember our creator is still in charge.
      Our common laws are to be adhered to as well as followed and taught.
      Good triumphs over evil because in a crisis; truly good men will not stand by and permit evil to flourish.
      I suspect that at first there would be a secure ‘circle the wagons and immediate gathering of like minded good people
      that will organize and incorporate as soon as possible. Electing and appointing and securing a community or Fort or township.
      Laws people, they are there for a purpose. Lawbreakers will have to be dealt with firmly and harshly with justice for those who are law abiding.
      Hangings probably would once again become common place.
      I don’t think civilization will perish because of a SHTF scenario that we have planned for.
      But, there are some scenarios that real seasoned salty preppers don’t even like to think about.
      A plague or virus unleashed on civilization that kills indiscriminately
      and quickly in my mind would be the very worse of all.
      Because, there would be a shortage of trained leaders, qualified first responders.
      A real shortage of good leadership would open us up for anarchy and the zombies in the streets. That is what keeps me awake at night.
      Collect the ammo and bury it, hide it, and hoard it.
      It will be as valuable as Gold. More value than dry goods, much more.
      So, if it happens like the worst scenario I mentioned. I would not advocate trading yer ammo. Instead I would become a magnet for ammo. Lol

      Reply to this comment
      • Wannabe June 22, 15:10

        I hope people on this web site who comment know the value and down right necessity to have reloading equipment and components to make your own ammo. Better get it now. Can start out with a single stage press from lee which is cheap and reliable. Get a few dies a reloading Manuel and bullet components. Read and teach yourself the art. Thousands of videos on you tube. I have been reloading since 2008 and have not had to buy a bullet since then, everything I shoot is a reload. Except rim fire of course and shotgun. Shotgun is so cheap better off just buying manufacture. Just do it folks, get reloading equipment.

        Reply to this comment
      • Troll March 13, 19:28

        Very true and valid thank you

        Reply to this comment
    • Illini Warrior June 2, 11:23

      Can’t be a firm belief – situations vary – that’s why knowing how & when to negotiate are important – need to know the other guy’s hand and analyze the deal from all sides …

      If you have a egg bartering & selling consortium with an old HS friend – he needs a box of 12g to protect himself and the hens – it’s a win-win deal for the both of you …. he actually has the best hand and the most to lose – you do all you can to protect the biz …..

      Reply to this comment
  5. Older prepper June 1, 19:25

    C.Davis, will you have some INFORMATION on the below? I copied from your # 2 water filters.

    Even better, learn how to make your own from activated charcoal and you’ll have a barter resource that will never run out.

    Reply to this comment
    • C. Davis Author June 2, 14:56

      I’ve been following up your informative comments lately, Older prepper.

      Thank you for asking. Last year I’ve learned a lot of stuff from a 70 year young fellow American who lives in Venezuela. I made charcoal the old fashioned way (it takes 2 days), then turned it into activated charcoal and then I made a water filter that actually works, a gas mask and some pills that I take whenever I have an indigestion, but they are good for a lot of medical conditions/situations. I’ll make this info available, but I don’t know now how much of it will be available on the website and what I will include in The Lost Ways 2. But I will send you the Water Filter pictures and instructions on your e-mail anyway.

      Reply to this comment
  6. JohnnyLlaarr June 1, 23:46

    As a long time smoker, I can tell you the author is dead on accurate about tobacco/cigarettes… If I had my dream Prepper Warehouse, I’d have pallets and pallets of cigarettes. And booze!!!!!!

    Reply to this comment
    • Homesteader June 26, 04:33

      We’ve put up a few dozen bottles of some really cheap whiskey. Maybe by the time it’s needed, it will have mellowed a little. That stuff is really rough right now. But, I know that in an SHTF situation, if you really want alcohol, you won’t care if it’s rotgut. It can always be used as a fire starter or maybe even a disinfectant.

      Reply to this comment
  7. Yorktown June 2, 01:07

    .223 might be better because you can shoot 223 out of a .556 but not the other way around. Pressures can be dangerous firing 556 out of a 223 rifle. A 223 Wylde will fire both.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck June 2, 19:04

      A quick search of the internet reveals from what I consider reliable sources that the .223 suffers a little in accuracy in the 5.56 chamber but can be fired safely. With the 5.56 in .223 chambers, safety is questionable. The difference has to do with leade (that is a term that is gun terminology, not a misspelling) and neck diameter. The Wylde chamber seems to solve that problem with both cartridges. However, as there are currently no major mnufacturers who are producing rifles with Wylde chambers, having a Wylde chamber requires one to either purchase a barrel with a Wylde chamber or to have one’s current .223 or 5.56 rifle rechambered. Bear in mind, the difference in accuracy is mainly of significant to shooters who regularly shoot either cartridge at extreme distances, namely 600 yards. If you are shooting National Match or Long Range Benchrest, then a Wylde chambered barrel might improve your scores. If you want your .223/5.56 for shooting zombies at 100 yards, hitting in the X-ring won’t be a major consideration. If you are shooting zombies at 600+ yards, forget the .223/5.56. Get a .308 or if you have great need for really constant long range shooting, a .338 Norma or one of the other .338 cartridges is better suited. The one thing to keep in mind in selecting a cartridge/rifle for survival purposes is availability from “other” sources of ammunition. .223/5.56; .308; .30-06; 30-30 Winchester; are rifle cartridges one will find in almost any shop selling ammunition. From there we go to .243 Winchester; 7 mm Remington Magnum; .270 Winchester; and the list goes on. Every cartridge has its proponents. One of the most popular gun writers of all time was a rabid fan of the .270 Winchester. It is a fine cartridge, but not quite as popular as the one’s I first listed. There is also regional variations in cartridge availability. You will fin 30-30 Winchester more often in gun shops in the eastern part of the country than, say, in Wyoming or Montana. That statement is based on what I have read. It is not based on actual surveys of gun shops in Ohio and West Virginia, etc. Unless you are planning on bugging out to a locale that is significantly different from your present location, you want to use a rifle that has “other source” availability in your location and that meets your most pressing need. A rifle that few mention but that is a good bug out rifle is the SKS. It is a sturdy, semi-automatic .30 caliber rifle. It fires the same ammo as the AK-47, namely the 7.62 x 39. In a pinch it can fire .30 caliber U.S. bullets but with a slight loss in accuracy and perhaps muzzle velocity. People spend a lot of time trying to extract an extra 100 feet per second from ammunition. I submit that you really can’t tell the difference if you are shot with a .30 caliber bullet going 2850 feet per second or a .30 caliber bullet going 2750 feet per second. If they are not fatal, they both are going to hurt like hell. Or, for that matter, one loafing along at 2250 fps. The bruise might not be quite as large with the last one, but the tissue damage from the bullet will be quite similar. 7.62 x 39 ammo is cheap and as readily available as any of the rounds I originally suggested as being commonly available rounds.

      Reply to this comment
  8. DENNIS June 23, 01:14

    left coast chuck> catch (and enjoy) your comments often as I can. Always appreciate your input. Thanx for sharing perspectives.

    Reply to this comment
  9. JimDoc November 3, 01:02

    You missed the most valuable commodity of all – medications – specifically antibiotics!

    Reply to this comment
  10. Hoosier Homesteader February 9, 03:03

    Regarding ammo: the .22, though mild when compared to a .223 or a 12 gauge, would ALWAYS come in handy. But would I barter ammo? NOPE.
    Regarding barter items: BIC lighters. Cheap. Plentiful. And everyone will want them.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Lakeman15 October 12, 19:16

    They may seem a little bulky, but if you have places to store old blue jeans, or work boots and leather belts, they will barter very nicely

    Reply to this comment
  12. Gator April 18, 13:18

    Based on my own reading, I suspect the 5.56 vs .223 argument is created by wrong information. Except for Wylde barrels, all commercial barrels whether marked 5.56 or .223, have chambers designed to handle 5.56 pressures, and the barrels themselves handle either cartridge once it is fired. The chamber designed specifically for the .223 and not 5.56 is designed to make the .223 cartridge more accurate by seating it better, but you can get essentially the same performance from either cartridge with any barrel with a chamber designed for a 5.56.
    In any event the danger of an overpressure in any rifle is minimal considering the number of ways stupid reloading, malfunctions and careless handling can get you killed.

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  13. Fuzzy1949 November 22, 01:01

    Bartering ammo is the worst idea I’ve ever heard. When you hand that ammo over the person receiving it will load their gun and use it to kill you. That way the now murderer can take everything you have including your wife and children. Don’t be stupid and barter ammo!

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