Yard sales, rummage sales, swap meets, flea markets, and even second hand stores are great and wonderful places to go to! You never know what you might find! The beauty of it all is that (contrary to popular belief), for the most part prices are not set in stone. Especially in today’s economy, it would be difficult for a seller to let an offer go. Read on for a few tips to help you get that bargain for less...
Say hello! How are you doing? Talk with the vendors and sellers! This helps establish a good repoire that can be helpful when the bargaining begins!
Note how long a particular item has been there. This doesn’t so much apply to yard sales, unless you go to a 2-day sale both days, and a notable item is still there at the end of a sale on the second day. If you frequent a particular flea market, swap meet, or antique shop location, then I am sure you have a good idea what the inventory is. This can be exceptionally helpful to you!
I had been going to one particular flea market for years. I know the man that runs it and I would go browse even in the dead of winter when he and his partner were sitting by the cash register in front of a salamander (heater) to keep warm. I kept eyeing this large red velvet “precious moments” Jesus painting (I called it that because his eyes were teardrop shaped like a “Precious Moments” figure), but it had a $25 price tag on it. It had been sitting there for the five years I had been going there, untouched. Finally one day I pointed out to him that it had been there so long and asked him about it. As it turns out, the vendor whose initials were on it had abandoned all of his stuff, and I got that painting for $5! Persistence!
Weather and business (or lack thereof) can be to your benefit! I was at a swap meet in Arizona and it was that weird weather time of year. It was cold and very slow business-wise. To top it all off, it began to hail while I was there! There were some beautiful Mexican blankets being sold for $35 at one booth. Foot traffic was so sparse; I offered the vendor $20 (cash, of course) and got myself a new blanket!
Keep your game face on! Some people might call this your “poker face”. You may see the Holy Grail of collectibles sitting in front of you, but keep your cool! If you show an abundance of interest, or show that this is something you absolutely can not live without, the vendor has just officially placed you in his or her back pocket. Any option of bargaining has just gone out the proverbial window. Calm, cool, collected. Rejoice after the deal is done and you have walked away, victorious.
Make sure to bring cash! Vendors and sellers may be more inclined to discount some items if you pay them in good old fashioned greenbacks. If they have credit card machines, that means they have to pay fees to the credit card companies, and it varies by card. I believe most companies are about 5-6%. Some cards, like American Express, will charge upwards of 10%! To a business owner, that is huge! If you see something you really like, you may even ask a vendor or seller to hold it for you provided you will return within a reasonable amount of time, then hit the ATM!
Next week: More Tips!