With the economy being what it is, flea market shopping has become a design enthusiasts best friend. Not only can you score some excellent bargains but you just might leave with a one-of-a-kind treasure. For those new to shopping flea markets, there are a few pointers that can make your trip more pleasant and rewarding. In their book Flea Market Style, Decorating with a Creative Edge*, Emelie Tolley and Chris Mead share these tips for ensuring the best day of flea marketing:
-Bring you own bags for carrying your newly acquired treasures. Whether you use a book bag or plastic grocery bags, don't leave home without them. Dealers rarely have bags on hand.
-Always keep money, credit cards and checkbooks well concealed in a zippered wallet or fanny pack (I know, fanny packs are against every fashion rule!) Pickpocketing is not unheard of at flea markets.
-Be prepared to pay cash. Some dealers will accept checks with proper ID, but only the most upscale dealers generally accept credit cards.
-Jot down measurements and dimensions before leaving home. You don't want to pass up a fabulous deal because you aren't sure if it will work in your space.
-Bring the largest vehicle that you own or can borrow. If your goal is to buy several pieces of furniture, it might be worth the investment to rent a U-Haul for the afternoon. You will want to be sure that you can fit all of your purchases into your vehicle.
-Some flea markets will offer an "early bird" pre-show. Admission for these are higher, but chances of snatching up the best deals are better since you will get the first crack at items.
-If you are unsure of prices, have a reliable price guide on hand.
Currently available on Ebay for $10.95.
-Most dealers will allow you to leave your purchases at the booth and pick them up later. Don't forget to get a receipt and jot down the booth number and location. Many flea markets are massive in size and you don't want to accidentally leave behind some of your merchandise.
-Dealers are open to bargaining. Large items that will be difficult to pack up may be the most negotiable. Low ball offers are usually not appreciated. It's best to ask, "Is that your best price?"
-If you have your heart set on a piece, think twice about waiting, it might be snatched up by the time you return. However, many dealers will reduce prices at the end of the day to avoid having to pack items. You will be gambling by waiting, but you may end up with a real steal.
If you have never been to a flea market, you are in for a good time. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and wear your sunscreen!
For more tips on flea market shopping, be sure to check out EddieRoss.com
What was the best find you've ever purchased at a flea market?
*Find Flea Market Style, Decorating with a Creative Edge at Amazon, used copies for as little as $3.30.
Images from Country Living