How to shop in flea markets like a pro
With the sheer variety of finds available at flea markets, shopping in one is loads of fun. But before you barge on to your nearest flea market to shop up a storm, here are five indispensable tips to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your flea market experience:
- Have a list.
Before you set off for the flea market, make sure that you have a list of everything you want to purchase – and stick to that list as much as possible. It can be very tempting to buy that vintage bag or cute mason jar because they’re cheap and cute, but if you don’t really need it and it’s not on the list, it may pay to restrain yourself. Or, you could wind up heading home with bags of clutter and a much lighter wallet.
- Set out early.
If your goal is to find really good items at marked down prices, then make sure that you arrive at the flea market preferably 30 minutes before it officially opens. That way, you get to really scrutinise the stuff you buy and not just settle for what’s left.
- Come prepared.
You’re not going to some fancy party, so wear comfortable clothes and shoes. You may want to appear frugal to provide some leverage for haggling later on; the vendors are hardly going to offer you a steep discount if you look like you’re wearing expensive jewellery and designed jeans. Most flea markets accept cash-only payments, so leave your credit card at home and bring cash instead. Bring something to carry your purchases, like a huge bag or even a wheeled cart and lastly, don’t forget to eat before you shop and stay hydrated.
- Inspect thoroughly
Though flea markets boast of a lot of quality finds, that’s not the case all the time. Always check your items for any issues, like rust, tears and mould. If you’re looking for vintage products, check the craftsmanship to determine its value. Don’t forget to also check for noxious odours. Better not to shrug off that ‘subtle’ mustiness since it can get overpowering when brought indoors.
- Haggle gracefully
Of course, one of the reasons you’re shopping in flea markets is because you can haggle the price. But at least be considerate when doing this and really consider how much you’re willing to pay for the quality of the item. Don’t go for half the price and instead, make offers of two-thirds or three-quarters of the full price.