The Art of Saving by Shopping at Flea Markets

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

Even if you’ve established a ‘system’ for buying at the best prices, it may be worth your while to shake up that system from time to time by shopping at a different venue. Changing your ‘shopping scenery’ may make you aware of better pricing and/or alternative products. For a worthwhile alternative to the same old stores, try flea markets.

Today’s flea markets are not simply vast garage sales designed to liquidate other peoples’ unwanted stuff. While some flea markets do offer antiques, collectibles and previously used items, many often have a plethora of new merchandise for sale as well. Flea markets today offer just about anything you can think of, from everyday merchandise like food, household items, clothing and accessories to more unusual fare such as live turtles and chickens. Even services, like specialty photography, are available. You can even grab a meal while you shop at one of the many food purveyors. Flea markets are exciting places to buy anything under the sun – a one-stop hunting and gathering experience!

What to expect when shopping at a flea market

Flea markets are venues where hundreds of merchants set up individual ‘shops’ indoor or outdoor, displaying merchandise or services to enthusiastic shoppers.

  • Multiple vendors with similar items: Each booth is unique to its vendor, who is free to sell whatever he or she desires. While the overall selection is varied, expect to find the same type of merchandise at several locations as you browse.
  • A bargaining environment: Although prices are often posted, expect to negotiate the final prices of items with the vendor. It’s expected that customers will haggle with the vendor over the price.

Advantages of shopping at a flea market

  • Ability to exercise influence over the price you pay: When you shop flea markets, you have an opportunity to make a deal with the seller for items you want.
  • Opportunity to establish a personal relationship with the vendor: Here’s the chance to get to know the person behind the table. That relationship may mean you’ll get a more advantageous price or will feel more comfortable buying from a particular vendor.
  • Quantity savings: Flea market vendors are in business for themselves so they may be willing to offer you a bargain price for taking a large number of items off their hands.

Disadvantages of shopping at a flea market

  • Source of products and identity of vendor is unknown: These facts beg the legitimate consumer concerns, “Who will stand behind this merchandise?” and “Will I ever see this seller again?”
  • Unreliable inventory/attendance: Vendors sell what they can get when they can get it. Bear in mind that while they may have a particular item now, they may not next time you see them. Or, they may simply not attend this flea market again, leaving you without a source for a desired product or service.

Best practices for shopping at a flea market

  • Buy it when you see it: Merchandise moves rapidly. An item may be sold while you hesitate so when you’re interested, buy it!
  • Patronize those vendors with whom you have good rapport: When a vendor invests time to explain their products and/or services, this indicates trustworthiness. Figure that “personal touch” into the price you’re willing to pay.
  • Know your prices: Being an informed consumer will help you determine what’s a fair price to offer and accept and help you avoid wasting time haggling over price too long.

At flea markets — like all consumer situations — use your good common sense. Project the demeanor of a serious customer and you’ll attract legitimate vendors and fair prices.

Bonus Tip:

Another way to save on your monthly Internet and TV costs is to find a current ATT U-Verse coupon code or at least a promotion to knock down your home service bill.

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