One of my favorite fleas is Portobello Market in London, which my best friend brought me to the last time I visited. It’s so good that I actually dream about it, sometimes! And though I had no idea what I was doing at that stage, after a few years of trying more flea markets out, I now have some kinda idea on howt to make your flea market a great experience:
1. Plan the time. The beginning of the day is better because obviously, everything will be there, and the end of the day is gret too because the sellers are tired and just want to get rid of whatever’s left – cue the extra discounts! It’s up to you to figure out what is more important to you – getting great deals or getting the best or most unique stuff?
2. Small cash only. Nothing is more annoying to both you and the vendor when they gotta exchange a big note – just bring how ever much you want but break them down to $5 and $10 bills. Easier for everyone!
3. Bring a huge tote bag… self explanatory, really. I remember in Portobella my BFF and I were scrambling and sharing each other’s handbags ’cause we didn’t know where to put our purchases, or when they were too much. Just bring a big old bag and dump it all in!
4. Bring a camera. For “expensive” things such as art work or furniture, if you’re undecided, you should take a photo of it and see what it looks like – and visualise it in your apartment. After hours of rummaging around, things can seem unclear and a photo can show the “real thing” and give some clarity.
6. Behind the Seams. When buying clothes, make sure to look for any tiny holes (usually around the seams), stains, smells, missing buttons and the like. Also, gently tug at the seams - especially around the shoulder area – to see if the fabric is sturdy and can last you more than say, one wash.
7. Lastly, ask specific questions. What I do is when I see an item I mentally tell myself how much I would pay for it. When asking for the price, if it’s higher than what you wanted, ask specific questions like “Can you let it go for $20?”, “I’d pay $20 for this, is that cool?”, “Would you take $20 for this?”. This usually starts the conversation and gets the sale rolling much quicker than going back and forth on prices – cut to the chase, other words!
And those are my top tips for working a flea market. Speaking of which, does anyone know of good ones in Singapore? I haven’t come across any yet, though I used to go to one in high school but I cannot for the life of me remember where it was! Also, if you have any other tips for working a flea market, please add them.