7 tips for finding good bargains at flea markets

7 astuces pour bien chiner en brocante

When the good weather returns and until autumn, flea markets and garage sales flourish every weekend in the four corners of France. Real open-air Ali Baba caves where you can find old objects and furniture, second-hand clothes and other bric-a-brac. In addition to the pleasure of hunting for a unique piece and a good deal, bargain shopping is also synonymous with more reasoned consumption. But how to become an ace in this field? Here are our best tips.

1- Get up early or arrive late

First come, first served. There is no secret to finding the best deals, you have to get up early! Unique pieces require, be there “at the back of the truck”, because it is often when unpacking that the nuggets fly away. If you are more of the late riser team, you also have every chance. Hunting at the end of the day ensures you find items sold off by sellers who want to go home with as little stock as possible.

2- Bring change

No question of missing out on an item due to lack of cash! Many flea markets are organized in the countryside, without an ATM nearby. So, plan ahead!
Also bring some small change with you as the sellers themselves may run out of it during the day. It would be a shame to miss out on a hard-negotiated transaction.

3- Equip yourself

Before you leave, equip yourself! First, consider wearing comfortable clothing so that you can easily squat or carry bulky objects. If the weather is bad, don't forget your raincoat or poncho, more practical than an umbrella, to keep both hands free. Also avoid external signs of wealth which can work against you during negotiations.
A meter to check the dimensions of a piece of furniture and a flashlight if it is still dark when you arrive, should also be put in the bag before departure (or always have in the car!).

Finally, don't forget to bring something to carry all your finds: bags, shopping bags, shopping carts and the must-have: a trolley! In the car, leave bubble wrap or newspaper available, as well as plastic boxes to store fragile parts and avoid breakage. A blanket can also be very useful for propping up objects!

4- Spot

Take a first tour of the flea market to spot interesting pieces. If you like an object at first glance, don't wait, otherwise you risk having it stolen from under your nose. When scouting, ask the seller for all the information, as well as the price. You then have time to think about the offer you want to make, or to do some research on the Internet to find out the value of the item. It happens that you come across the same part twice in the same unboxing, at very different prices. If you're not sure, don't rush! Flea markets sometimes have nice surprises in store for us.

5- Snoop

Far from the organized shelves of stores, flea markets require more commitment on your part so as not to miss out on the perfect object. Crates, bins, baskets, boxes... don't be afraid to search each stand to find a treasure. Often, these pieces that are not highlighted are considered of little value by sellers. The perfect opportunity to get a good deal!

6- Negotiate

Negotiate yes, but not at any price! Start by sympathizing with the seller by starting the discussion with a smile. This immediately makes the moment more enjoyable for everyone. Ask a few questions about the desired item (be careful not to show too much enthusiasm or risk jeopardizing your negotiation), before asking the price.

Try to be reasonable in offering yours, but still lower than what you really expect in order to have room for negotiation. Dare to insist a little, it often pays off! But if the seller remains firm on his price, it is because he knows that his item is in demand and that it will sell. You then have to know how to give up by being a good player.

7- Hunt often and everywhere

Are you disappointed because you came home empty-handed? Don't dwell on this failure! To find that rare gem, you need to be patient and tenacious. Also broaden your scope, don't hesitate to do a few kilometers. Get away from the big cities to scour the flea markets in small villages where the prices are often more affordable. When you are on vacation in another region, take the opportunity to stroll through garage sales where you will discover local objects, and perhaps one that you have been looking for for a long time.

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