21 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Shopping at Flea Markets and Antique Fairs | Architectural Summary
“Making fun of a price or talking to a friend loud enough for the seller to hear won’t get you the price you [want],” she says. “For many of us, it’s our livelihood, and we’ve spent years honing this skill.” If you want to ask a seller for a discount, Neko suggests you “start with how much you enjoy the piece and then go from there”.
Point out flaws in an item
Another haggling mistake that Kenneth and Dee say is both offensive and far too common is pointing out what you think is wrong with a piece of a seller’s merchandise when trying to convince them. to give it to you at a reduced price.
“When you do that, it’s in a weirdly desperate way, because you’re showing that all you’re trying to do is drive down the price of something that they’ve already considered quality,” Dee says. And, as Kenneth points out, sellers typically put a lot of thought into manually selecting their wares. “These are probably items that they care deeply about and want to pass on to the right person,” he says. “So telling them all the reasons why you think their article sucks won’t necessarily help.”
Since antiques and vintage items are almost always second-hand goods, it’s also unrealistic to expect them to be available at a reasonable price in immaculate condition. “There are going to be scratches and chips,” adds Kenneth. “When you buy an antique, you know you’re getting something that’s been around for a while.”
The only exception is if you believe you notice some type of damage or defect, such as a crack in a plate, and you don’t believe this is reflected in the price of an item. “A polite way to talk about it is to ask, ‘Are you aware of this crack?’ If so, they usually explain what makes the piece valuable, like if it was from a certain maker or if it had a rare pattern,” says Dee. “If they weren’t aware of what is happening, [because] even the best dealers can miss things, so they might lower the price for you. »
Come without small bills (or cash in general)
There are also a few haggling-specific reasons why you should bring cash to a flea market or antique fair. First, since sellers generally have to pay a processing fee on all credit card sales, you may have better luck negotiating the price of an item if you clearly state that you will be paying cash, note Dee . Likewise, by paying cash, you may be helping a seller who is short on change, especially if you ask them if they could use smaller bills. “In the current monetary climate, change is greatly appreciated,” Dee told Clever. “Small bills can be quite hard to come by now.”
Both Kenneth and Dee recommend bringing lots of dollar bills with you to a flea market or antique show. One of the reasons for this, which they explained in a 2018 episode of their haggling podcastis that if you ask a seller to go down to $3 on a $5 item – telling them you only have $3 left – and then pay with a $20 note, the seller will notice and will likely be less likely to work with you on pricing if you shop with them again.
Buy multiple items from the same supplier without “bundling”
If you’re going to try haggling with a reseller, Mel says it can be helpful to bundle multiple items together and ask what they’d be willing to do for the set, a technique often called bundling. It’s a tactic she recommends at flea markets and antique shows, as well as estate sales, where the less sellers have to deal with at the end of the day, the better. “If I’m on sale with a friend, I usually bundle our items into one purchase in hopes of getting a bigger discount that we can then split between our items,” she explains.