by Deborah Rosalind Nieto
by Deborah Rosalind Nieto
You are about to visit a flea market. Although this may be your first or nth time to visit one, you may be overlooking a few essentials in making your shopping tour a remarkable one. While you may create checklists or a schedule for yourself, you may find that following each suggestion below will guarantee a successful shopping spree for yourself.
What to wear
Comfort is cool. Leave those skimpy clothes at home and don instead the most comfortable outfit you can wear for one of your most adventurous shopping voyages. Remember that a flea market often seems like a race, a race for the great finds, so you have to be in your most comfortable clothes. Also, with the several stalls that flea markets usually have, you might end up shopping for a great fraction of the day.
Shopping shoes. With a comfy outfit should come a good pair of shoes. While you may be used to wearing high-heeled shoes everyday, it won't be a great idea to wear a pair on the day you wish to rave the flea market stalls. If you wish to prove your stubbornness by wearing such forbidden footwear, I bet you would end up buying flats in the flea market and giving up your high-heeled stilettos for the day.
What to bring
Rain-ready. The last thing you want to happen is for the sky to literally rain on your supposedly fabulous shopping day. You wouldn't know when the weather would suddenly shift so it is best to be armed with an umbrella and even a rain jacket for that day devoted to shopping.
Sweet nothings. Bring a pack or two of candies, mints or even chocolates. Some flea markets could get terribly hot and crowded which means you may need a sweet thingamajig to the rescue in case you get dizzy.
Drink up while you shop. Since it can get too hot and tiring in a flea market, bringing a bottle of water may be a great idea. You wouldn't want to faint before spotting a nice pair of jeans or a perfect top, right?
Chewing and shopping. I'm not sure if some flea markets rule against eating while shoppers buy, but most flea markets I've gone to don't mind shoppers grabbing a bite while searching a great find. A simple window shopping may turn to an addiction so you better prepare or buy a tasteful sandwich, a filling one if possible, to save you from another fainting incident. With other promising shopping stalls ahead of you, you wouldn't want your shopping momentum to be interrupted by your grumbling stomach.
A shopping comrade. If your judgment tends to become clouded when you go shopping, it's better to rave the flea markets with a friend a.k.a. your shopping lighthouse, or in a not-so-weird term, a shopping guide. She may either serve as your devil's advocate when you see almost anything as a great find, or your cheerleader when you have doubts about purchasing something which is indeed a shopper's treasure. What to remember
What to remember
Armed with a comfortable outfit, the needed stuff and a shopping buddy, you may feel all set to storm the flea market stalls. But read on first for you need to keep a few things in mind to help make your flea market shopping an affair worth repeating.
Patience of a thousandfold. Besides some cash, do not forget to bring great amounts of patience when going to a flea market. If you think a flea market is starkly a shopper's heaven where great finds are all lined in front of the stalls, waiting for shoppers to be grabbed, then you are disillusioned. Oftentimes, you have to scan through so-so stuff to excavate that much coveted great find.
While flea market stall employees may have the patience themselves to hang each clothing individually, they may also have a portion in the stall where each clothing is unfolded and placed like fruits in a fruit stall, except that they are placed in a disarrayed fashion.
If you are in search of a nice t-shirt, blouse or polo shirt, then be prepared to literally dig under countless other shirts which may not suit your taste. Only after several minutes and a hundred products, could you possibly lay your hands on a product which suits your taste and, at the same time, fits nicely in your budget. Sometimes, you may not even find one which passes these standards yet you won't know for sure unless you keep searching.
Clothing competition. You may see shopping as a personal therapy, a costly hobby or simply a perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon; but no matter what your reason for shopping is, your shopping pace in flea markets is a vital factor.
While you may opt to take your sweet time looking for worthy buys, you have to remember that competition is wafting in the air. What's worse than paying for a product at a non-discounted price is actually seeing a great find purchased in the counter by another buyer. What makes this even worse is the fact that not all flea markets have a stock of the same kind of product. That is why it is not advisable to tarry when shopping in flea markets.
Introspection. Although this may sound like setting up a yoga mat in the middle of the flea market and doing some meditation, this is not what I mean. When finally you have laid your hands on some seeming good buys, always think twice or even thrice before permanently making each product yours by purchasing it.
In the first place, you are going to the flea market to scout for nice products which are tagged with low prices. One of the most awful things you may experience is bringing home a bunch of things which you don't want at all. This is very likely to happen when you shop in a flea market since you get too excited with the rock-bottom prices which almost all products are tagged with. Don't let these cheap price tags cloud your judgment; discipline yourself by double checking if each product you have taken hold of is indeed a worthy buy. Same thing, different price tags. While a flea market stall may have just one stock of each product, there are some flea markets having stalls which offer the same products. One of the last things you want to happen is finding that same wooden basket you just bought from one stall at a lower price in another one. While the difference in prices may not be that big, you may actually buy another product if you sum up all the differences in prices that you lost from impulsively buying.
Same thing, different price tags. While a flea market stall may have just one stock of each product, there are some flea markets having stalls which offer the same products. One of the last things you want to happen is finding that same wooden basket you just bought from one stall at a lower price in another one. While the difference in prices may not be that big, you may actually buy another product if you sum up all the differences in prices that you lost from impulsively buying.
Damaged goods. Another reason why you should take your sweet time deciding to buy a flea market product is the fact that some may be damaged. Although you may return damaged products if coupled with their receipts, you are better off inspecting each product you intend to purchase before bringing them to the counter.
The art of haggling. One of the beauties of buying from flea markets is that you may negotiate with the salespeople for the products' prices. While you may do this in a bidding fashion, you may also ask the stall's owner or salesperson for the product's last price.
The craft of hoarding. I don't mean actually getting each product you get to lay your eyes on, but actually piling great finds and purchasing them at the same time, instead of buying products individually in a stall. This is because some flea market stall owners give bigger discounts when you buy several products all at once.
Now who says flea markets are not to be taken seriously? With these flea market shopping commandments indelibly set and sure to guide you in each stall and every find, you are most likely to have an exceptional shopping experience worth remembering. Just keep in mind that as with any experience, shopping in a flea market should be maximized, yet kept in moderation. You wouldn't want to walk home penniless as your shopping spree sucked the life out of your wallet.