Have any of you heard the phrase “Chatham Mom Swap or Buy”?

What does this phrase bring to your mind?

Does it sound weird? Maybe…

Does it sound mysterious? Sure it does.

Does it sound harsh? No comments on that.

What does “Mom Swap or Buy” Mean Anyway?

According to Answers.com “swap” means trade or exchange one thing for another. However, Mom Swap, fortunately or not, has nothing to do with trading your mom with somebody else. It also does not mean that you could probably purchase a “mother” for yourself (disappointing, eh?).

It all began like any other innocent innovative idea. The “Mom Swap” group is a Facebook group which enables Chatham residents or “Chatham Moms” to be specific to exchange or sell goods. Thus you need to be a member of Facebook.com first and then join this group [link – you need to login to your facebook.com account to be able to visit this page].

The description of this group reads:”A place for you to put things up for swap or for sale from maternity clothes to baby items to teenage clothes. Put up a picture if you want with the price and contact info. If you are looking for something in particular put it on the discussion board.”

So the idea looks very simple: A bartering system with the possibility of selling or buying goods and in some cases services.

There are currently near to 2600 members in this group. Membership is closed. It means that you can become a member only if another member sends you an invitation and then you get confirmed by an administrator.

Here is how it works: If you want to purchase something you usually go through the existing photos and read the remarks mentioned by the seller at the bottom of each photo. If you find an item interesting then you place a comment for the seller. She will then respond to your request and if you both agree upon the price and the location of exchange you are done.

Here is the catch: There are currently more than 1400 images uploaded and they are growing. They offer you from baby new and used clothes to RVs and boats and poppies. If you decide to be an active member you need to spend hours flipping through the images and reading the text and then responding to some and then contacting the seller and so on. It’s just like a full time job.

You get it! If your wife is an active member of this group then she is probably spending hours every week to find bargains, send messages, call the seller or buyer, and then meet with them to exchange goods and/or money.

My case is even more severe! Not only my wife is a highly qualified active member but her sister who does not live in Chatham is in the same boat. Meaning!? Simple! Whenever my sister-in-law finalizes a purchase my wife needs to get involved. Meet the seller at a church, her home, a parking lot, a coffee shop, a restaurant, the shopping mall, or a gym to hand over the money and receive the item. If somebody traces her they might think she is in the drug business!

Anyhow, to make the matters more interesting, like any other society, there are a group of “moms” who are not happy with the services and policies of the “Chatham Mom Swap/Buy”. Therefore, there are some rivals who try to come up with better ideas and more humanly treating of these “drug dealers” Oops sorry! I mean innocent moms!

“Better Chatham Mom/Swap” is a serious rival on Facebook. Their description reads: “this is a group to buy and swap and sell things… not to think people are lying and cheating out of things… you are allowed to post things one by one or all in one pic… U can post as many copies as u like… and most important thing no talking B.S about others in this group …”

Conclusion

I don’t know about the tax implications or legal implications of such activities. What I know is that this virtual group is a good way to turn that ugly dress granny bought for your daughter into cash. It is also a fun shopping opportunity for my wife and many others who are always looking for a bargain.

They sometimes even get involved in humanitarian acts which is quite admirable.

The last but not the least; this group is a mini hobby for husbands like me.

Persian version (not a word for word translation)

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