Flea Market Savvy
Prepare before going
Flea market shopping can be fun and an economical way to decorate your home or buy gifts in a time of tight budgets. However, the experience can be stressful and overwhelming if you haven't planned properly. If you want to be a pro at shopping at flea markets, then here are many useful tips and strategies.
What to take with you
Depending on the weather, wear clothing that you can layer and don't mind getting dirty.
Sunglasses, sunscreen, and a brimmed hat if the market is outdoors.
A large tote bag, which includes hand wipes or sanitizers, bottled water, pen, paper, cell phone, and bubble wrap for fragile collectibles you may purchase.
A flashlight if you go out before the crack of dawn.
A tape measure to measure a item if you are looking for something to fill a particular space.
A magnifying glass to examine hallmarks and small pieces, especially glass and jewelry.
Also have an up-to-date price guide to help you identify a real bargain and not overpay on items.
Heavy rope or bungee cords to secure items to hold down car trunks or secure larger items in a truck.
The best time to arrive
The best time to go to a flea market really depends on what you are looking for. For one-of-a-kind items, the best time is at the crack of dawn or when a flea market opens. At many flea markets, die-hard collectors will arrive early before actual opening to try and negotiate prices even before all the goods are unpacked. It's worth a try, and many sellers are eager to work with you. On the other hand, later in the day is when products are oftened marked down, merely to save the seller from having to re-pack everything. This may sound silly, but it is true that if the weather is turning inclement, sellers will mark down items fast before rain, snow or sleet shuts them down. If you are just a causal buyer, then any time of day is good to shop, especially midday which is the quitetest time. Most collectors and antique dealers have already come and gone, so crowds are smaller.
Don't be faked out
Items can be made to look as if they are aged and have value, but are in fact knock-offs. Likewise, items may be marked as new, but are old and placed among new items to make them appear new. Experienced buyers can pick up on fakes more readily but the casual shopper would hardly spot the difference. Be careful. Take for instance an antique dresser; the dresser should show concentrated wear around the drawer handles. If you find an 19th century wooden chair, it should show scuffing around the stretchers where many feet have rested over the years. Last but not least, if you want to become a serious collector or shopper, then do your homework and study-up on items that you have a sincere interest in buying.
Be a proud Haggler
Don't be shy are afraid to ask for a price reduction. Now is the time with the world economy in the dump,people are ready,willing, and eager to sell. The most tactful and diplomatic way to seek a price reduction is to say, "Is this your best price?" The worst thing is that the seller will be firm in the price, but it doesn't hurt to try. Another tactic is to propse a lower price where the seller may listen. Don't cut ther price in half because that will only hurt your chances of landing a deal. Again as I mentioned earlier, the end of the day at the flea market may possibly give you steeper discounts.
Much success on future ventures in Flea market world. Share any tips you may have in the comments section.
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