Let me preface this post by saying that going to flea markets is one of my favorite things in the whole world. If you’re a seller, I can only imagine the “interesting” customers that must come your way, looking for a bargain and throwing out crazy offers. And, as a shopper, I expect/love/look forward to the rummaging, the contemplating, the game of getting down to the best price. But, there are three things that I hear every single time that drive me a little crazy. . .
When I ask how much something costs, please don’t preface the price with:
“This is very old.”
I’m aware that nothing here is brand spanking new. Or else, I wouldn’t want it in the first place.
“This is a really nice one.”
As opposed to what?! Of course, it’s a nice one. That’s why I picked it out :)
“This goes on Ebay for $_____.”
I think you know what my mental response to this one is. . . Then, WHY in the world are you wasting your time selling it here instead of listing it online??
For the record, I don’t say any of this stuff out loud. I try to (mostly) keep it all in my head, because I’ve found that a friendly attitude is usually helpful in getting good deals. (I even got a few hugs from one dealer. A little strange, maybe. . . )
What are your “pickin’” pet peeves?
Debbie from Florida says
I hate… “this is a collectible”. I once walked away from someone and told him that he can continue to collect it.
Elizabeth @ The Little Black Door says
I’m so with you on all of those! I also hate when they go into long explanations about how much work they put into whatever it is they are selling. That is part of ‘the job’.
Meagan Claire says
I’ve noticed there’s a very specific type of vendor who prices their Depression/milk/carnival glass way too high for the flea market, and they always say, “The book price is….” I don’t care who the manufacturer is, if it’s not a flea market price, I’m not into it. But I think my number 1 flea market peeve is when a vendor slaps on a rough brush coat on an MCM piece to hide it’s flaws, then think they can price it higher as they’re telling me it doesn’t have a laminate top and that it’s a quality piece because, “Feel how heavy it is.” Unfortunately, I factor in the time it would take me to strip the lousy paint job into the final price – vendors are killing themselves!
Jennifer Miller says
This happened to me just last week: I was looking for a pair of small corbels. I found some that would work ok and I asked the seller how much? She told me they were going for $90 but would sell them for $80. Hoping to eventually get them for $75, I asked if she would let them go for $70? (You gotta haggle, right?!) She told me that she, “doesn’t play that game” and that the price was back to $90. I told her to have a good day and went on my merry way. Consequently, I found some bigger, better ones elsewhere for $60!!
Krystine @ www.KrystineEdwards.com says
HA all of those comments makes me nuts….I actually keep really quiet, let them do the talking and only use the word “uh-huh” Then when they’re done, I say, “will you take x for this” and if they don’t I put it down and start walking, it works every time. Then of course I need a glass of wine when I get home! Funny post!
oh i am SO with you! i can’t stand when things aren’t priced because when they say “make me an offer” they probably don’t want my response of “um, one dollar?”. or when they tell me the price and then there is that awkward, “oh, ok thanks….” as i walk away with my head hung in shame.
I was at a place that had the most amazing antique desk that I had to have. There was no price anywhere on the desk, so I asked the guy what he wanted. He wasn’t the “pricing person” so told me to make an offer. Knowing how much work it needed to get back to its original glory, I offered a number. He wanted way more than that and would not budge much on the price. His reasoning was “it is worth closer to $400 if I were to sell it somewhere else.” Then why didn’t you price it at that and why did you ask me what I wanted to pay.
He lost a sale that day and I went back a month later and saw the desk sitting there……without a price
My pet peeve is not having a price on something, followed by “Make me an offer”. There’s that line between suggesting a price that’s offensive to them (but not to my pocketbook), or offering more than they had in mind. For crying out loud, give me a starting point!
Maggie Overby Studios says
My biggest flea market pet peeve has to do with presentation. If I have to dig through a giant pile of filthy mess to get to the one piece of merchandise actually worth buying I expect the price to reflect that. I will pay a vendor who actually took the time to clean and organize their merchandise more for the same piece. I don’t mind digging it’s a bargain I’m digging for. I mean now I have to go wash my hands…
Emily Clark says
Me, too. I kind of like the digging.
I once had someone say, “Well . . . that was a wedding gift!” YOUR sentimental value is worth exactly zip in my wallet! If it’s that precious, why are you selling it?
Emily Clark says
I hope you said that :)
I hate when they make demeaning comments that you don’t know what you’re talking about. A friend was once haggling for some chairs at Scott’s. She asked the seller to take a certain price, and he was rude, basically told her she didn’t understand the value or something crazy, and said he’d rather take them home than sell them for that price. She went back on Sunday afternoon when he was packing up and she got the chairs for what she had offered him on Friday. I guess he really didn’t want to pack them back up and take them home with him!!!
Laurie at Laurie Jones Home says
I’m with Heather my biggest pet peeve is when a piece isn’t priced, I will rarely ever ask and I’m not going to be the first one to throw out a number. No pricing just comes off shady to me.
Laurie at Laurie Jones Home says
Oh and if anyone knew the conversations I had in my head with anyone I’d seriously have no friends and they’d probably lock me up! (:
Mary Jean says
I too hate an unpriced things! After asking a price for an item and getting the cost, I then paused to consider if I wanted it. The vendor misread that pause as something else, because she snidely said, “Well, if you can’t AFFORD that….” I walked!
Donna @ Modern on Monticello says
I will be attending several antique events and estate sales this spring and I have to admit that the vendors can be intimidating when they start trying to up-sale their items. I usually try to keep quiet and not feel guilty for walking away. Thanks for a great article that reminded me of what to be prepared for. I will definitely keep yours and the other’s comments in mind – there is always another treasure to find elsewhere. Love your site.
All of these comments are so funny – and make me crazy, too! My biggest pet peeve is when I see a piece of furniture that has a great shape and probably had pretty wood underneath, and the seller paints it some awful shabby chic color, adds some weird detail or knobs and hikes up the price to beyond what it is remotely worth! Just leave the piece as is and let me decide if I want to paint it at all!
Linda @ a design snack says
I’m with Krystine. I’ll wait till their done with their ‘story’.
I do have a pet peeve when it comes to buyers though. Choose your shopping companion wisely. My last flea market outing was with a lovely friend. When she saw anything she liked she’d pick it up and positively gush over it — in a none too soft voice. Very hard to negotiate when they know you love something.
You nailed it right on the head Emily! I totally agree and relate to you, glad you put it out there!
I was with a friend who has been collecting crochet doilies for wedding décor. She found a couple she liked though they didn’t have price tags. She offered a dollar for each and was told they weren’t for sale! Why are they out on display then?! So lame.
sherry hart says
If the price is too high….then I want to say “you will probably go home with that:)”
All 3 of those answers you have gotten are dang irritating……I just want the best deal and yes…I will try to be your friend if I think you will give me a better deal!
I don’t like it when you are looking at something in their booth they automatically start telling you about it. I just want to shop – not interested in talking each time. I know that may sound mean, but most times I’m there with friends, husband, etc., and I just want to look around and enjoy myself, and not feel pressure to buy anything.. :) really, i’m not a mean person haha
Emily Clark says
Man, you sound mean! :) Totally get it. I’m on a mission while I’m there. No time to waste!
Sarah @ 702 Park Project says
Ugh I totally agree! I especially hate when vendors try to convince you that old equals vintage/antique/cool/expensive. Just because it’s old doesn’t mean that I need to pay a premium for it if it’s an old piece of crap! Old does not necessarily mean a higher price tag.
Enters antique shop and starts to look around.
“Hi there! Don’t pay any attention to the sticker prices, everything is negotiable!”
“Oh great, what’s your best price on this one?”
“I have to ask for sticker price on that one. I can’t do any better than that.”
“Grumble, grumble, grumble.”
I have an uncanny ability for finding the one thing in the place that can’t be haggled down.
Emily Clark says
There’s this one booth at a local consignment store that posts the sign “everything 50% off except items marked firm.” I have yet to find anything not marked “firm” in that booth!
My pet peeve is when the seller goes on and on about how special an item is only to see something very similar two booths down. And by the way, I know what my silver pattern is and that it’s not made anymore. I also know what pieces I want and which ones I do not want. I guess all that to say just because I am the buyer and you are the seller, I am not uninformed or uneducated. If there is something I like and truly no nothing about, I look for the vendor most willing to share their love for the piece. I find they are usually more than willing to share what they know vs. the seller who wants to impress me with their knowledge.
I’m both a buyer and seller, and agree with you! I also hate “that’s not for sale” Really? Why is it here then?!??!?
I ALWAYS play “little girl who doesn’t know anything” because I usually get a good price that way (as opposed to mega maven who is going to resale this at 10x markup)
But I will say, I sell in NICE venues, and my prices are only negotiable by 10%. Sometimes if you are buying several hundred dollars I will go up to 25%. People drive me CRAZY with “I would buy this at a good discount” I would too! I don’t do good discounts, because my booths are already almost perpetually empty, the fuller I make them the more that sells it seems. I don’t need to do a good discount for one item. Now on the other hand, if it is something that has been sitting, sure have it at half off. But that is rare compared to all of the people who want something for nothing (once again, nice venues not the flea market)
Crabby dealers! So many……yuck!
I frequent consignment shops, and in this age of smartphones, it amazes me when I come across an item priced higher than a new one costs at a traditional store. Especially when the original store’s logo is still on it – I mean, come on!
Number one pet peeve…. “THAT’S ALREADY SOLD….SORRRRYYY!”
jessica H says
**FIRM** arrrrgh. If I see it written, or hear it spoken I will, just for the sake of proving a point, make a ridiculous offer on it. The thing I love about flea markets is the hidden treasures and the fact that in most cases you can negotiate a price. That’s what it’s all about, so why would you write FIRM, underlined twice, on the tag? sell it online or elsewhere instead of a flea market.
I used to have a booth at our small flea market in our small town….so I know at times how frustrating it can be when people don’t see the value in an item that I know is worth more than the offer they made, but as a “picker” as well, I know the power and the thrill of snagging a great deal. BTW, I NEVER ever write FIRM on the tag, it’s just wrong.
Barbara Moore says
At Scott’s last month all the items I asked about at every. single. booth. was ‘from France’. It got quite comical.
The most annoying thing in the world for me at a flea market is when I see something I really love and want to buy it, but the vendor is nowhere to be found! SO frustrating!
Emily Clark says
Yes! This happened to me the other day. I was getting ready to buy something and he just left and went to lunch…
You nailed all of mine…couldn’t agree more! I always look up items in interested in eBay while I’m shopping, that way I can see what I should be offering!
Emily, which flea market do you shop at/prefer? I’m in the Charlotte metro area as well, but on the SC side and would love to find a good flea market.
I love flea markets! I actually enjoy most of the sellers. Many of them just like to shoot the breeze, so to speak. I go to one fairly regularly and like it when a few sellers remember me and tell me about other stuff they have. A pet peeve is when nothing is tagged and it’s too busy to get their attention. I wrote a little thing on haggling and some do’s and don’ts if you ever want to check it out. I’ll send over the link!
Haha this made me giggle! My thoughts exactly :)