'Tis the season for all those outdoor shows and flea markets we dream of on cold winter nights.
Of course, in our dreams the weather is gorgeous, there are no bugs,
the merchandise is in perfect condition, the prices are so low they're practically
giving it away and no one except for us notices the fabulous gems lying on the tables. Good
dream, right? Let me drag you back into the real world now. Pay attention and,
although I can't promise your dreams will come true, I can promise that your outdoor show
experience won't be such a nightmare.
You need protection from the elements so bring sunblock and also one of those cheap poncho
things that fold up into a pouch and can be thrown away after you're done with it. Don't waste your time trying to get it back into the little pouch after you've used it. That's why you bought a cheap one! Bring sunglasses
and a hat, too. You can get really fried on a field. And you will probably need an insect repellant, at least toward the end of the day.
Bring a heavy cloth shopping bag, some
tissue paper and plastic bags. I wouldn't count on the dealers to have packing materials. Leave some
big cardboard cartons in your car, so you don't break anything on the way home. Don't bring a shoulder bag.
You need one of those fanny packs (I call them "belly bags." I want the darn thing out in front of
me, where I can see it). That will leave your hands free for grabbing, examining and paying. If you have a little red wagon, or a shopping cart, and the terrain is not too
rough, bring that too. And I never go to one of these things without at least one bottle of water.
If you see something you like, it's priced right
and you can afford it, buy it. The time to buy an antique is when you see it. Grab it before someone else does. If you really
can't decide, and want to take a chance on coming back, ask the dealer for a business card, and jot down the
booth number and the item description. It will making finding the booth again a simple task instead of a frantic mission.
Don't try to do more than you can! If there are 1,000 dealers at the show, just accept that you can't
visit every booth. Take the show program home and contact dealers whose specialties match
your collecting interests. Be nice. You can catch more flies with honey (yada yada yada). In other words,
don't criticize a dealer's wares in an attempt to get him/her to lower his/her prices. It seems silly to be telling you this part, but I'm amazed at how many people show up at my booth, criticize the quality of something I have, and then try to buy it. I usually refuse to budge one cent if they do that.
Your comments, as always, are welcome. If you have something to say, write to me.
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