Want to be the person who snatches up all the bargains at the flea market? Here's how:
Dress the Part
Photo © Erin Huffstetler
Hitting a flea market in jeans and a t-shirt will help you to stay comfortable, but did you know that it can also help you to stay on budget? It true. Vendors often use your clothing to determine how much they think you can afford to spend. Don't be the overdressed person that's offered an overdressed price.
Shop Early in the SeasonFor the best deals at an outdoor flea market, the beginning of the season is the time to shop. Why? Because the vendors are loaded down with fresh inventory from the off-season, and eager for some income.
Arrive Early or Come LateHoping to score a real treasure? Then, hit the flea market as soon as it opens. Hoping to score the best price? Then, go late in the day when the vendors know they have two choices: sell it or haul it home.
BarterWant a better price on that gizmo or gadget? Then, ask for it. Haggling is an accepted and expected practice at flea markets. Not able to get the seller to budge on his price? Then, ask him to throw in something extra--a lamp to go with that table or a pair of pants to go with that shirt.
Group Your PurchasesSee several items in a booth that you'd like to buy? Then, negotiate a price for the group. Bulk sales deserve bulk prices.
DigOften the best deals are at the messiest booths. Sift through boxes and piles of junk, and you may find a rare gem at a junk pile price.
Share Your Wish ListSearching for something, but not finding what you want? Mention it. Vendors often bring extra merchandise to restock their booths throughout the day, and they could have what you're looking for on their truck or be able to point you to a section of their booth that you've overlooked.
Don't Act Too InterestedIn love with something you've found? Save the victory dance for home (or at least until after the sale is complete), otherwise you may dance yourself right into a higher price. Practice your poker face – or in this case, your flea market face – and then use it to get what you want at a price that you can afford.