Author Topic: soap as currency?  (Read 1608 times)

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Offline zeker

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soap as currency?
« on: April 27, 2014, 07:21:53 AM »
Soap Thieves, A Surprising Lesson About Prepping      <blockquote>               Posted for fair use and discussion.

Soap Thieves, A Surprising Lesson About Prepping
by Guest Blogger on April 25, 2014 ∑ 42 comments

by Jeff from LPC Survival
Soap thieves, who knew?

The other day, we found a news story that taught us a lesson every prepper should know and follow.

If you live in a city, you may have seen local drugstores lock up items like soap and shampoo. This sounds odd: why would low-value items like soap need to be kept under lock-and-key? As it turns out, thieves can use stolen soap just like currency. Priceonomics blog explains the reason:

Products like cigarettes and soap perform some of the major functions of money very well. Since there is a consistent demand and market for them, even when theyíre not on store shelves, they retain their value. (Unlike an iPod, they never become obsolete.) Since they have standard sizes, they can also be used as a unit of account. You can pay for something with one, five, or ten packs of cigarettes depending on its value. In areas where fences or other buyers are always willing to purchase stolen products like soap, itís just as good as money.

When youíre a thief, items like massive amounts of laundry soap always have value and canít be tracked by police, unlike stolen cars or jewelry. That means itís safer to traffic in stolen soap than other more expensive stolen goods.

While it may seem a little weird to use laundry soap as currency, think about it: our current currency is simply little pieces of paper and metal! According to basic economics, anything can be used as currency as long as all parties participating in an exchange agree how much itís worth.

What Stolen Soap Can Teach Preppers

By this point, youíre probably wondering why weíre sharing a message about criminal economics on a prepper blog.

No, weíre not encouraging a life of crime. But we are pointing out that any item with real value, even soap, can be used in trades and exchanges if other currency becomes unusable.

Hereís a realistic scenario: say thereís a major spring storm in your area. Itís going to be days until FEMA can show up to provide relief efforts. In the meantime, you need to make it on your own.

If there are supplies your neighbor has that you need, having extra supplies ó such as soap ó means you have something to trade. You can go to your neighbor and propose an exchange. Since you have extra supplies on hand, you can freely trade your surplus in order to get what you need. Everybody wins.

What Kinds of Items Should I Stock Up On?

Itís a common practice to stock up on cash and gold, but itís smart to invest in other types of non-perishable items of value, too.  (You canít eat cash or gold if youíre hungry!)

With some help from our friends at Back Door Survival, hereís a big list of items you could potentially use in place of currency and at The Art of Bartering:

Basic Survival Necessities

    Water purification supplies (extra Berkey Elements and filters are perfect for trading)

    Fire making supplies (like the inexpensive and super-convenient Live Fire emergency fire starters)

    Cooking tools (like Cube Stove fuel)

    Food rations

Medical Supplies and Toiletries

    Prescription drugs


    Disinfectants (like Sovereign Silver Aid Gels)

    Toilet paper

    Cough syrup and other remedies

    Disposable razors/razor blades

    Feminine products


    Toothpaste, floss, and extra toothbrushes

    Soap and laundry detergent



Day-to-Day Items

    Reading glasses

    Tools like saws, machetes, hammers, hatchets, and other general-repair tools

    Fuel (any kind)

    Fuel treatment (like fuel stabilizers)


    Duct tape

    Plastic sheeting and tarps

    Solar battery chargers (donít forget rechargeable batteries!)

    Pencil and paper


    Vinegar and baking soda (for making your own cleaning supplies)

    Games (like board games, cards, etc.)

    Sewing needs/crochet needs and yarn

Youíll notice ammo isnít on this list. Thereís a reason for that. As Back Door Survival explains, ďIn a post-collapse society, you might not know your barter partners well and may run the risk that they will use these items against you so that they can steal the rest of you stuff.Ē

If you do exchange ammo, make sure to never go alone and have someone else there who can back you up if the trade goes south.

Almost Anything Can Be Traded

The list above is by no means comprehensive, but it should communicate the point weíre trying to make: everything with value can be traded in an emergency scenario. Make sure to stock up on items with a long shelf life so youíll have plenty to barter in a post-collapse environment.

Did we forget anything on this list you think should be here? Do you have any stories of bartering items after a disaster? Let us know in the comments!


of all the things I,ve lost.. I miss my mind, the most

Offline icrcc

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Re: soap as currency?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2014, 10:09:42 AM »
Good article. I have enough soap and reading glasses for the next 5 years or more. Never rally thought of trading those items.  Actually I probably would because I am a firm believer that everything has its price. However before anyone gets cute there are some things that I personally would not do at ANY price.  :o
It may never happen. Best to be prepared just in case.

Offline zeker

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Re: soap as currency?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2014, 01:14:05 PM »
politicians are living proof that everyone has their price
of all the things I,ve lost.. I miss my mind, the most

Offline Henry

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Re: soap as currency?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2014, 06:57:57 PM »
I know lot of people that could not survive for more than a day . So for people like that anything is tradable , the only problem they would have nothing to trade. those people that worry me.


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Re: soap as currency?
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2014, 09:56:49 PM »
The Tide detergent black market. Your post reminded me of it.