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BROOKLYN, NY (CAP) - Last Thursday morning, Jared Thompson, 38, spent nearly two hours in his $3 million Park Slope brownstone scouring online classified ads for a good-looking ass.
But not that kind of ass.
Thompson is trying to buy a mule that he might be able to use next year to barter for goods - an 8G memory stick for his camcorder, another year's subscription to Netflix, a parking spot near work for his BMW.
Thompson is among a growing number of Americans who is concerned the nation's cash reserves will run out soon and he'll need to rely on bartering skills that no one has needed to rely on in more than six generations.
"Mules, hogs, salt, propane, ammunition, shiny rocks - I'm really trying to track down as much of that stuff as possible right now," explained the married father of two. "I think we're only four or five months away from bartering for goods, so I'm stocking up."
Thompson isn't alone; results from a CAP News survey revealed last month that 1 in 16.5 Americans is hoarding supplies in the hope that they'll be using those items with the other 15.5 people to barter for goods and services. And just last week, Bartering For Dummies crept onto the New York Times bestseller list for nonfiction.
"I don't think we'll see big-box department stores exchanging olive oil, say, for a pair of pants and an extension cord," explained senior CAP News trade and commerce analyst, Fred Dryer. "But I would expect that this time next year Americans will be trading with their neighbors for basic necessities - dairy products for toilet paper, matches for prepaid cell phone cards, etc."
Other analysts aren't so optimistic, and they point to other troubling statistics. The head of the nation's largest survivalist organization made news earlier this week when he announced that the fact sheet "1007 Things You Can Do with Animal Fat" was downloaded more than 250,000 times in the first 24 hours.
Thompson, who successfully found a 4-year-old mule in rural Nebraska, hopes other people catch on before it's too late.
"I think my wife is eventually going to come around to me keeping lifestock in the basement," admitted Thompson. "She'll be thanking me in a few months when she's wearing the most impressive pelts in the neighborhood."
- John Gettings