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How Flea Markets are Different Than Swap Meets

Updated on August 20, 2014

What is a Flea Market

A Flea Market is a place where someone can go to purchase previously owned goods usually at a very discounted rate. This makes it a really good place to go to if you are looking to save some money while also getting what you need. The great part about flea markets is that local people can sell their own items to other local people, which helps spread the wealth within the community.

Flea markets have been in existence for quite some time now and the word actually originates from the 1800s. This means that the world has had a lot of time to misinterpret our makes this word with the word swap meet.

Walking thru a Flea Market

What Type of Items Are Sold at a Flea Market?

You can find almost any type of items that you are looking for at your local flea market, depending on how many sellers are available of course. Items can range from household products to clothing to office products to deodorant to automotive products, the list goes on. Also some flea markets are specific to certain industries or themes and only participate in the sales in those types of products.

For instance if you attended and automotive themed flea market you should expect to only see cars, car parts, and anything that pertains to the automotive industry. These types of events are highly productive and successful for those involved as they are very organized towards niches.

Flea Market Table

What Word Do You Use?

Which Word Do You Use for Fleamarket?

See results

Now What Is a Swap Meet?

A swap meet on other hand, a true swap meet anyways is a place where you can go that usually carries a theme such as action figures that allows you to trade action figure parts with other traders. Here's another example, if you attended and automotive themed swap meet you should expect to be trading car parts with another person that has parts that you want and you have parts that they need.

Without disambiguation the term a swap meet can also be used interchangeably with flea markets and is very very common.

How Can You Be Sure?

Before you attend your next event be sure to check the fine print in writing and try to notice is any trading is involved. If trading is involved that you can more than likely be sure that event is a swap meet and not a true fleamarket.

It's a Regional Thing

Depending on where you are located people may or may not use swap meet interchangeably for flea markets. It appears and modern language that most people prefer to use flea markets for everything. Whereas people using swap meet may be actually referring to a flea market.

Video of a Swap Meet

In Closing

In conclusion, these two places usually share the same types of venues for the events to be held in a first-place which means that a swap meet can actually be held at the same building that the flea market is ran out of, and vice versa. This may be a contributing factor to the misinterpretation of the two terms.


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