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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Herman Newton Truitt, December 5, 1978. Interview H-0054. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Truitt describes the barter system

Truitt describes the barter system. At his grocery store, Truitt allowed farmers to trade produce and other farm products for dry goods like sugar and salt.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Herman Newton Truitt, December 5, 1978. Interview H-0054. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

You were going to tell me about bartering.
The store being located out in the mill village away from town just a little ways. Of course, the way it's grown now, it's almost in town. But the farmers out here in the country would come in, in the wintertime they would have butter and eggs, and they would trade it. Trade it for things they needed like sugar, soda, salt. If they needed any meats—most of the farmers raised their own meats—sometimes they would trade the meats, sad meats and hams, for groceries. In the summertime there was produce they'd raise in the garden, beans, tomatoes and corn that they would bring in. A lot of our customers here were from the mill village, and a lot of them didn't have gardens. Those that had them didn't have many, so would trade for— we called it trade. My father had this about trading. He was willing to be satisfied with one profit. In other words, if a man would bring a dozen of eggs in, if he was going to sell those eggs for twenty-five cents a dozen, he would allow them twenty-five cents a dozen on those eggs towards anything he had in the store priced at his regular retail price. Figuring that he got his profit on the goods that they took, he wouldn't make an extra profit on the dozen of eggs. But things like that have changed these days, and they feel that if they change a dozen of eggs they want two profits. [Recorder is turned off and then back on.] If they brought more produce in, a farmer brought more produce in, then he'd trade it out. Since it necessarily would be trade so he could get the one profit. He would write him what he'd call a due bill. He would write his name on that, put the date, and put "Due in Merchandise such and such an amount". Then when that person wanted some more groceries, something that he didn't have, he would bring that due bill in and use it to pay for the goods that he got.
When did you all discontinue this practice of trade?
Well, it was actually never discontinued. We discontinued probably even trading sometime because when labor got so high and everything. All the things got so high. In handling the goods we needed two profits, and started taking those. I don't know exactly when that was changed.
When did people quit trying to do that, quit trying to bring in vegetables and produce. People don't still do that now. When was the last time somebody did that?
It's still done some, I understand. Up until a little over two years ago, when we started phasing out our business, we would still do it. There wasn't as many customers that did do it, but we would still do it some.