by

December 8, 2011

Do you like this?

Outside of Walmart on any given afternoon, you may find a woman with a clipboard waiting to collect payment from her drive-by buyers. Or, you could spy a Volvo idling in the outskirts of the Target parking lot, eager to complete the previously agreed-upon internet sale. They are not pedaling girl scout cookies or something more nefarious; they are members of Easton’s Swap and Sell Facebook group, and they trade in outgrown clothes and garage shelf-holders.

Founder Wendy Basil began the group after a failed yard sale, where she was left paying for a newspaper advertisement even while rain effectively canceled her efforts. A born coupon-clipper and deal finder, Basil wanted to find a better way to get rid of unwanted items and still make a profit. “We all love Facebook, so why not use it to our advantage?” Basil asks.

Swap and Sell is a “secret” group on Facebook, which means you have to know someone to be added. Currently, Swap and Sell has almost 3500 participants, all from Easton and its surrounding areas, who meet around town to trade goods. Scrolling through the postings, one can find a miniature donkey, a worn-out Old Navy sweatshirt, a Coach purse, and even an Audi TT convertible.

Megan Nittle, who has bought and sold through the group, says that Swap and Sell transactions “can feel like a drug deal—sneaky, even though it’s not.” She bought a baby toy from a woman, who instructed Nittle to pick the item up from her husband while he was on his break at Lowes. “We got a big chuckle out of it,” she recounts. “It seemed so out of place.”

In an age where Craig’s List and eBay have millions of transactions per day, selling used items on the internet is commonplace. But this new local group makes quick sales—sometimes in less than five minutes—of a nativity set, pink flannel pajamas or a plaid recliner. It also gives buyers peace of mind that they are seemingly dealing with people in a community they know. A level of comfort and ease of use are Swap and Sell’s appeal. Once someone becomes a member, pictures can be uploaded from a phone with a few-word description. Comments and questions are forthcoming, price is discussed, and plans for an exchange are made.

Molly Frankos reports that she has made over $300 selling stuff that was just “laying around the house.” “I think it is great for items that are hard to ship or things you want to get rid of pretty quickly.” For more expensive items, she still prefers eBay: “I don’t want to ride around town for $1.” She has bought American Girl accessories in near-perfect condition and has been happy with her experience on Swap and Sell overall.

The group isn’t drama-free, however. Users are asked to read the group “rules” before beginning their involvement. One woman, who unwittingly posted a picture on a no-new-items Wednesday, did not take well to the negative feedback she received. “I’ll go back to Craig’s List,” she wrote, after complaining about how members treated her. Tiffs crop up over who is first in line to buy an item; other times, deals fall through.

Swap and Sell, for all its deal-scouring craze, has a philanthropic side as well. On Black Friday, the group held an auction to help both members who needed assistance and local foster children. “I really want this group to not only be a useful tool to clean out your closets, but I want it to benefit the community as well,” Basil states. The auction raised several hundred dollars through its efforts, and the group also delivered truckloads of items to local families affected by recent house fires. 
There is one current post by a mom who is willing to exchange housecleaning services for Christmas items for her children.

Although the group has been wildly successful since its mid-October beginnings, Basil and her co-administrators, Laura Wooters, Betsy Wooters, Jessica Tomlinson, Susan Hall, Laura Gimbel and Jessica Muller, want to move Swap and Sell to its own website. There are several features on Facebook, according to Basil, that aren’t ideal—such as the lack of categories, which means users must sift through every post to find specific items. In addition, Basil and others are “putting in full-time hours trying to keep up with the group— resolving conflicts, deleting old photos, and reposting important messages,” without any compensation. A website outside of Facebook could generate advertising revenue.

So far, Basil has not been able to find an affordable solution that mimics Facebook’s ease of use. But she is nothing if not resourceful. Swap and Sell will continue its internet presence—and around-town exchanges—in one form or another.

*With thanks to Kristin George and Jeanine Cook for their assistance with the article and photo.  

by

December 8, 2011

Comments (22)

Comment Feed

member

I would like to become a member. Please send info to: danceswithwiredstones@yahoo.com Thanks

Rose McCaster-Brown 23 days ago

for sale

How do I become a member?

Gary Diehl 39 days ago

I would like to join. Can someone add me?

Great idea

Mary Dulin 233 days ago

please add me thanks

I would like to join. can someone invite me

Arlene Paul 260 days ago

please add me thanks

I have some things to sell

Joan collins 267 days ago

Please add me... thanks Lisa Marshall

Please add me

Lisa Marshall 314 days ago

I would like to join. can someone invite me

I would like to join

kathy cancellarich bozarth 315 days ago

getting added

ok thx bunches

roselee criss more than 1 years ago

Joining "Swap and Sell"

I would very much like to be added to the Swap and Sell List. Would it be possible for someone to add me?

Sharon Baker more than 1 years ago

Joining

Hi~ I would love to be a part of your group! This is such a great idea! : )

Veronca Bradley more than 2 years ago

joining your swap group

I'd love to become a member of this group. My friend has been raving about it for months!
BTW, Kudos to Leslie!

Cyndi Rizzi Prud'homme more than 2 years ago

Facebook Group

Rose - I will add you to the list! Thanks for reading and let us know if you come across other interesting ways people are saving money in this economy. We'd love to write a story about it!

Editor more than 2 years ago

Swap and Sell "secret" facebook group!

I'm interested in joining this secret facebook group. Can someone please add me?! My facebook name is "Lawrose Ching"...

Many blessings and thanks in advance! I'm always on the lookout for ways to save!! =)

Rose more than 2 years ago

S&S approval

Hi Tammy - I believe it takes a day or so to be approved. Have you contacted Wendy Cain Basil on FB? She can approve you.

Amanda more than 2 years ago

How to become a member

how long does it take to get approved.? Congratulations on such a popular thing exspecially now when money is few and needs and wants are still here.

TAMMY BREWER more than 2 years ago

Another man's trash is a another man's treasure

I love this site! When I joined the group, there was about 300 people, now there is over 3500 and counting. It is a outstanding site not only to make a little cash in this tough economy but also to make long lasting friendships with people in the community. Thumbs up and applause to Wendy and everyone that has made this site a success. I can get a good buy, make some extra cash, and also make a friend all in my pjs. Thanks to S&S, I have made friends with people, I would have never have met. I love this site, thanks to Wendy Basil! Great article!

Caroline Elizabeth more than 2 years ago

Swap and Sell Goes Viral

What a great story! I really enjoyed reading about the group. How did Easton Savvy find out about this little gem? Now the secret is out and we all want to join the group.

Jean Callis more than 2 years ago

couldn't be happier

As a newly single mom, I set out to find my own place in early October. I had been a state at home mom and didn't have much. I joined the site on one of the first days it started. And I honestly don't think I would have made it without it. Not only did people reach out to help me, I also made many new friends who had been through similar situations and offered me advice and comfort. Wendy is one of the most amazing and resourceful women I have ever met. She works very hard to keep the site working for everyone and doesn't get the credit she deserves. Swap and sell saved my life when I was at a very bad point, Everything happens for a reason. And for me, it came around just when I needed it. Thank you to all the women who have been there for me, thank you to the friends I have made, and Thank you to wendy - who really made my house a home.

Sarah Poole more than 2 years ago

S&S

This site has been nothing short of amazing for me and my family...I completed my little one's entire winter wardrobe on $45.00!!! Not to mention all the things I have been able to sell to others that they can use! It's just been a really great thing. I can't thank Wendy enough for creating it and I am so glad I get to be a part of it. The people on the site are wonderful to deal with and I have made some great friends! Thanks for the awesome article!!

Susan Hall more than 2 years ago

who knew!?!

I had no idea that this group existed, but I'm thrilled to have found it. Now...how do I get in? :) I'm constantly running to Target and Walmart anyway, so the opportunity to help someone make a few bucks or gain some beer money sounds perfect. I love that the group is creating community through this and helping those in need at the same time. Great article! Thanks!

Jill O'Hanlon more than 2 years ago

S&S

Great article! And I love Amy's above comment! THAT is the reason I started this group. I am so glad that so many people are taking advantage of all the great deals and it's able to help lighten some of the financial burden of holidays!

Wendy Basil more than 2 years ago

Swap & Sell

Swap & Sell has changed my life. In these economic times, where I'm a single mother of two trying to make ends meet, this group gives me the chance to rid my house of clutter and make much-needed money at the same time. Our meets at Walmart and Target and various places around town provide an opportunity to meet some really great people. Truly, one person's junk is, in the case of Swap & Sell, another person's treasure.

Amy Baynard more than 2 years ago

AD - Talbot Humane
Newsletter LOGO