Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Flea Market Season

I had a great long weekend, and spent lots of time at various holiday flea markets.  So I thought I might share with you my top ten five (ten was too ambitious for the first day back after a long weekend)  flea market survival tips.

  1. Arrive early-  Flea markets typically start early to ensure maximum shopping time before it gets too hot.  So if you are gonna compete with the serious shoppers you need to arrive when vendors are first opening.  That means getting up really early, i.e. when it is dark outside!
  2. Bring cash (small bills are best)-  Cash is king at a flea market, so come with loads of it.  I typically also try to bring an assortment of small bills to help in my price negotiations.  It's hard to bargain with a dealer on a $2.00 item when you pull out a $50 bill to pay.  Also dealers may be unable to make change, so large bills can limit your shopping power.
  3. Attire yourself properly-  Most flea markets are either partially or completely outdoors.  Which means you have to deal with sun, rain, and mud.  Wear comfortable clothes in layers, with sturdy shoes.  It may start out chilly in the morning, and be blistering hot by the time you leave.  Don't forget sunscreen and a hat.  I also suggest bringing a few snacks and a bag for your treasures.  Some dealers don't offer you a bag for your purchase.
  4. Have a focus/plan-  Even a small market can seem overwhelming with the sheer amount of stuff.  That is why it is best to have a few items in mind that you are searching for, as well as the size and color.  Remember there are no returns if you get buyer's remorse. Also don't be afraid to dig and get dirty.  That special item could be at the bottom of the pile and covered in dirt.
  5. Negotiate-  Prices at flea markets are rarely firm.  Most dealers expect a little bargining and typically price items accordingly.  I like to ask "What is the best you can do on this?"  That way I don't insult the dealer with a low ball offer.


  1. We LOVE flea markets! I saw some great finds two weeks ago at one. Really have regrets on not buying them. I guess that's a low about the flea markets, and, survival tip #6: trust your gut. Thou must not fear spontaneity. Great post!

  2. You are right...there is nothing worse than that!

  3. well said! i love flea markets as well.

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