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Flea Market Experience

September 21st, 2009 at 08:16 am

Nothing beats fall in CT! Sweater weather is here again! And with fall, comes garage sales, flea markets, tag sales!

I've been to quite a few of these, not really expecting much, but willing to browse and part with a few extra bucks...usually for socks and undershirts for the boyfriend. A nice way to spend a sunny afternoon, to fill those lazy hours between lunch and dinner.

At yesterday's flea market, The Second Annual Lockwood-Matthews Mansion Flea Market, I switched hats..from a browser to a vendor. I cleaned out my closet, my families' closets and friends' closets and came up with some hidden gems, most of which were never used or gently used items, carefully inspected and hanged and generally priced well under $10.

I don't know if it's my amateurish view or just a reflection of the economy, but while many people came, very few were willing to buy. And those that did express interest in some of the items, were not hesitant (or embarassed) to offer 50 cents or a dollar for them.

I was also surprised to see the camaraderie that exist among flea market vendors. Some seasoned, some novice, but all were willing to drop everything to help me when my makeshift tent started wavering (it was a windy day!). They would also come by and offer words of encouragement when I had two continuous (and painful!) hours of zero sale. One even came over and purchased a pair of sandals, marvelling at how lucky she was to spot the deal of the day (a very kind gesture nonetheless).

At the end of the day, I was able to sell several items (my niece's princess rocking chair went for $8 and a satellite photo of NYC from the 70s went for $15), packed up a whole lot more, and learned a valuable lesson -- how retailers have to work extra hard these days to make a sale. I also made new friends in fellow vendors whom I may or may not see again. (Ask me again next week after I've fully recovered and my bruised ego healed).

But one thing is for sure: I will never browse the same way again! In addition, I have newfound respect for these dedicated vendors that come out at the crack of dawn (in rain or shine) to present their wared to browsers like me.

Happy hunting, fellow savers!

5 Responses to “Flea Market Experience”

  1. thriftorama Says:

    I think it is the economy. People around here used to easily rake in $200 to $300 on a one-day yard sale, but this year, even 3-day sales have netted maybe $100. I read somewhere that Craigslist yard sale postings are up 67 percent!!

  2. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Is there something different you will do in future browsing, or are you speaking of a different appreciation?

  3. ms06880 Says:

    Hi Joan, one of the lessons from my experience as a vendor is that if I am truly interested in something, I would make a sincere offer of what I think the item is worth and not try to lowball just for the sake of lowballing. Vendors encouraged browsers to "make an offer" but I have to tell you..someone offered me $1 for a pair of brand new UGGs, even though I was selling it for 80% off the retail price I paid. Needless to say, those with flexibility came out a winner (applies to both sides)!

  4. pretty cheap jewelry Says:

    I also will never ever look the same at a craft fair again! As a vendor for several years, I know how it feels to be anxious about recouping the fair fee. I also am not afraid to ask for 'un marked' specials, deals on multiple items, or other creative bargains. It is not offensive to me if a customer politely does the same. Good luck and enjoy future events.

  5. Jerry Says:

    I think it is different overseas than in the States - in this area of SE Europe you are expected to bargain with a seller, and paying the full price at a fair is considered foolhardy. However, it depends on the venue, of course. (I think that someone offering a buck for a new pair of UGGs deserves a crack across the knuckles, that is preposterous!) It is important that sellers have some insurance that they are going to make their fee and be able to put bread on the table.

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