Munich in English - selected by independent Locals for Cosmopolitans, Newcomers and Residents - since 1989

back to overview

April 2000

Swap Meet

With the Munich LETS program, you don't have to be a jack-of-all-trades

If you are looking for someone to, say, repair your bicycle and would like to offer hedge trimming in exchange or pay the debt with some homegrown vegetables, it might be difficult to find the mechanic who has been waiting for your gardening skills. Unless, of course, you are a member of LETS, a series of barter networks that have sprung up all over Germany in recent years. Both the idea and the name LETS, which stands for “Local Exchange Trading System,” have been imported from America, where the practice has been popular for years. The basic concept is simple: in a members’ magazine, the so-called Marktzeitung, participants can both advertise their own services and look for goods and services they need, without having to find a direct trading partner. Whether it means helping someone with their tax returns, playing the piano at a birthday party or cleaning the house, every hour of work equals 20 “Talente,” the official LETS currency. Talente are added to members’ LETS account as credits or debits, whereby members are allowed to have a plus or minus balance of up to 500 Talente. Many of the local networks are connected with each other, which means a member of the Munich LETS could trade with the Mammendorf or even the Hamburg branches. But LETS sees itself as more than just an alternative trading system. It is also a community organization that offers meetings, flea markets, lectures and excursions, so it’s also a good way to make new contacts and friends. The Munich LETS, located on Ligsalzstr. 29 (U4/5 Schwanthalerhöhe), can be reached at Tel. 54 07 56 84.

tell a friend