(Published Feb. 18, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
Best friends Steve McHugh and Antonio Palazzola are cohosts of the Bio show “Barter Kings,” where they demonstrate their skills at trading unneeded or forgotten items for other objects they desire.
In an exclusive phone interview, the titular barterers expounded on the philosophy of swapping, and why there’s an ongoing resurgence.
“I love the thrill because I don’t believe there’s a loser when you barter,” McHugh said. “Most people barter because they have a need and don’t want to spend cash on that need. So they find something they don’t need and they are willing to trade it regardless of what they paid for it…And to me, making people happy while we do our business is rewarding.”
Palazzola added: “People have been trading things for hundreds of years. We and the person we’re trading with get what we want.”
Palazzola has been trading for about 25 years. Eventually, he and McHugh—his friend of 17 years—started doing it as a business. The Californian business partners are currently running a trading post.
“It worked really well for us so we decided this is what we wanted to do for a living,” Palazzola said.
On measuring an object’s worth, McHugh stated that the original store price ultimately doesn’t matter. “At the end of the day, an item’s worth [is] what it’s worth to somebody that needs or wants it. So it’s subjective, which is to the advantage of somebody looking at trade for a living.”
The seasoned trading partners recounted a few recent deals as some of their most challenging yet.
“The biggest challenge was getting my son a muscle car for his birthday,” Palazzola said. “I traded a [valuable] geo rock for it. So it was one of the hardest trades I have ever done!”
McHugh likewise had to sacrifice things that he’d rather reveal on the show: “For me, it was the first trade I ever did on camera, which was for a speed boat. And two of the items I traded for it along the way, I wanted to keep so bad!”
McHugh hopes to acquire a 40-foot formula boat through trading one day, while Palazzola has a yacht and a helicopter on his wish list. The duo agreed that they’ve been encountering many skilled traders, but since they’ve been doing this for a living, their skills are honed on a daily basis.
As for the wider resurgence of the practice, McHugh said that it’s already happening. “There’s absolutely a large movement. I wouldn’t call it a revolution, but I would say that it’s moving in that direction. The number of people who express interest in what they see us do on TV is incredible. People are coming out of the woodwork; wives are thanking us for showing their husbands how to get things out of the garage that they don’t need and want, and it’s becoming a family thing!”
“Barter Kings” premieres tomorrow, , on Bio.
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