Saturday, 15 May 2010

Car Booty....

Sorry BBC, for stealing your programme title, but it really is a good one, and very, very true.

A morning at the car boot sale will indulge your shopping addiction, pander to your love of bargains (who doesn’t love a bargain!), exercises your inner haggler, and soothes your recycling whimsy... Hmmm, satisfaction on all levels!
To begin with you have the anticipation of arriving and seeing firstly, how many stalls have pitched up, and then secondly, how many fellow punters are going to join you for a rummage. Then the real fun begins... I always have a fair idea of what I want, in general terms, but it is always nice to find a few surprises too. For example, on my latest jaunt I was after vintage crockery, picture frames and anything else I could salvage, restore or up-cycle... but by keeping an open mind I also came across a fabulous box of antique looking glass mineral bottles (not sure whether to restore and sell, or keep for myself!) and a wonderful 1930’s Household Encyclopedia – full of all sorts or fantastic information, and in itself a great slice of recent social history.
My tip is not to stop and linger at every stall – you will be there forever, and you will probably find many “useful” things at bargain prices that will just add to the general clutter that you probably already have at home. Instead you need to perfect the art of “skimming” – that is, walking very slowly a small distance from each pitch, casting your eyes over all the goods on display – and if you are focussed on the kind of things you are looking for, they will jump out at you, and you won’t be distracted by all the other, er, rubbish....

Once you spy something of interest then you can approach closer – pause, spend a second or two sizing up the item before handling it, and mentally deciding how much you want to pay. Ask what they want for it – if it is below your secret valuation, then I say go for it – and if it is more than you want to pay you can counter with a lower offer – but don’t insult the vendor! Not every item for sale will be an absolute bargain, and be prepared to walk away without it – if you’re loathe to do this, then your initial thought on what to pay might have either been too optimistic, or else just way off.
Settle quickly, and move on to your next target – and always have a stock of empty carrier bags with you – it would be a shame to miss out on something just because you can’t juggle all your purchases back to the car! You will be amazed by just how much you can come away with for not very much at all – remember, most people are selling their stuff there just because they want rid of it and hope to make a few pennies rather than simply sending it to the tip.
To give you some kind of an idea, at my last sale I spent an almighty £10.10 and managed to get my hands on:

7 antique glass bottles
2 wooden framed mirrors
An original 1930’s Household Encyclopedia
An autobiographical novel in a series that I am collecting
A small wooden display case
240 glass beads I can use for a mosaic

Not bad, eh???

Where are you going this weekend??

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