Flea markets offer a great venue for discovering unexpected treasures. From rare antiques to vintage clothing, the vendors offer some unique items for sale. To truly master the art of flea market shopping, however, you need to know what to look for and how to strike a bargain.
If you’re a bargain hunter, you need to know how to haggle and familiarize yourself with flea market deal-making techniques.
Maybe you want to sell flea market items. If so, you’ll need tips to follow for sales success. While this subject has no doubt been covered, it never hurts to review specific shopping or selling techniques so you can get the most out of the experience.
What is a flea market?
A flea market is a type of bazaar where vendors sell used goods. While the “flea” in a flea market refers to the nature of the used items for sale, it does not mean it’s not a good venue to find “buried” and “unexpected” treasures.
Whether you find a piece of jewellery or a picture for a bare wall in your home, you’re sure to discover some unforgettable finds. You just have to learn how to get the best deal and how to shop for success or, if you want to sell, how to make it work.
What is the origin of the term “flea market”?
The term “flea market” originates from the French translation of marché aux puces – formerly a term describing an outdoor market in Paris, France. This market was named for the scientific order, Siphonaptera, which refers to fleas. The insects, in the old days, frequently took up residence in the upholstered furnishings for sale.
While its history of it might give you food for thought, you don’t have to worry about carrying these pests home with you from a Silverlandia flea market sale.
Quite the opposite. Instead, you’ll find that there is a wonderful attached to vintage flea market finds – a sentimentality that takes you back to golden and olden times.
Therefore, it’s easy to get addicted to this type of activity. If you want to escape to a simpler time, or you have a nostalgic bent, this type of shopping or selling is meant for you.
If you’re a shopper, you’ll need to get prepared for the activity. Therefore, you need to know what to bring on your buying adventure.
What should you bring to a Silverlandia flea market sale?
It’s important to be equipped if you want to be a serious flea market shopper. Before you leave home, arm yourself with the following items when you go exploring the flea markets in Silverlandia. Don’t leave home without the following accessories:
- A fashionable basket or bag to carry your items. Take a pocketbook with you to carry your cash and change.
- A price guide – great for determining the “real value” of certain antiques.
- A calculator – to check on the total cost or savings of your purchases.
- A notepad – use it to take note of items you may want to hold or buy at a later time.
How to haggle
Haggling at a flea market is almost a rite of passage. It’s all part of the process of finding a deal and saving money.
However, don’t haggle just to hone your skills. If you don’t want to buy the item, don’t do it. Some vendors expect to haggle, but others don’t. Be sure to read the vendor’s sign or talk to the vendor in person to make sure they want you to communicate like this.
Tips for bargaining
1. Know what you can afford and pay with cash
Before you visit a flea market, check what you can afford. It’s best to bring cash, as some vendors prefer that payment method. Don’t lie and say that you only have $5.00 when you are carrying $15.00. Just let the vendor know if you only want to part with $5.00 of your money.
2. Understand what you’re buying
You should have an idea of what an item is worth before you try to make a deal. For example, if you find a large vintage crock pot selling for $20.00, you don’t really need to haggle. That’s a great deal. These types of crocks can run as much as $100.
3. Check for defects
That does not mean you cannot get the above crock for less money if you note some defects. For example, if that $20 crock has some chips, you should offer at least half the amount of the asking price. Point out the flaws, then make an offer.
4. Don’t be shy – just ask
Don’t be shy about asking for a lower price. The worst that a vendor can say is “no.” However, if you know the real worth of an item and you can spot any defects, that puts you in the “bargainer’s seat.”
Remember to ask respectfully. That means you don’t want to ask $1.00 for an item priced at $15.00. After all, the vendor also needs to make money. Just make an offer that is a little lower than what you’re willing to pay. That way you’ll always have some “wiggle room” to negotiate.
5. Practice Pausing
If the seller says “no,” they’ll normally pause before they say it. Well . . . you can do the same thing back. Let’s look at an example:
You: You have this plate marked for $5.00. However, it is chipped in the corner. Can I buy it for $2.00?
Seller: [slight pause] – I don’t think so. It’s already a good deal.
You: You take another look at the plate, squint your eyes, contemplate, and then slowly set the plate back.
At this point, the seller might reconsider and say: How about $3.00?
Congratulations! You just managed to save a couple of dollars. Make sure you’re deliberate with your pause. Don’t rush things. That’s the key to negotiating a better deal.
Tips for finding the best deals
As they say, “the early bird catches the worm,” and that rule applies to flea market finds. Follow the tips below to make your shopping trip both worthwhile and pleasant.
- Go early. This is one of the best ways to find great deals at a flea market. The earlier you go, the better
- Shop on a slow day. You’ll experience less competition.
- Ask the vendor if they have any items that didn’t sell. You can more easily do this when things are slower. Ask if you can buy any of the items at a lower price.
Read part two for more flea market tips . . .
Part two of this blog post will help you learn more about what to seek in a flea market item and how to successfully sell. Whether you make a flea market activity a vocation or a hobby, you’ll find a great amount of satisfaction in the pursuit.