It's that time of year again. My favorite time of year. The sun is shining, the windows are open, flowers are blooming, and everyone is trying to sell their old junk. Aside from the now abundant tag sales, this week also marks the first Brimfield week of the year. I heart Brimfield. Have I ever mentioned that? (oh right, I mention it every year- '14, '13, '12, '11) For those who are new here or maybe just tune out when I go on treasure hunting rants, Brimfield is my Disney Land. 3 times a year, 6 THOUSAND plus antiques vendors spread themselves across spacious fields down a several mile stretch of Rt 20 in Brimfield, MA. Thousands! There's so much to look at and poke through and just watch in amusement. BUT I figured that since this magical time of year is now descended upon us, LET'S MAKE A DEAL!
Oh the thrill of the deal. That's half of the fun! Whenever I watch shows like Flea Market Flip and they DON'T negotiate I cringe. If you aren't negotiating, you're leaving money on the table!
BUT HOW? you ask.
My personal philosophy when it comes to treasure hunting is to ALWAYS try and get a better deal. You don't get what you don't ask for. Even if you get it for $1 cheaper, that's $1 more in your pocket. Use that $1 to indulge yourself in a frozen yogurt at IKEA or make the neighbor kid delighted by buying lemonades from their roadside stand.
Ok, so imagine this scenario. You walk into a booth at the flea market and spy a glorious goodie that you just have to have. What now?? First you need to figure out what you are willing to pay for it. Would you be ecstatic if you could take it home for $30? Great, let's try and make that happen!
"Hey Mr. Antiques Vendor, how much is this glorious goodie?" $40? No me gusta. At this point, many might walk away, $40 is more than you wanted to spend. But remember, most of these vendors REALLY want to sell you their stuff. The more they sell, the less they have to pack up and transport at the end of the week. (Or if you're at a tag sale, less stuff they have to shove back into their garage) They are almost ALWAYS willing to deal.
I'm about to give away my secrets here. They want $40 and you won't pay more than $30? Logic might lead you to think that you tell them that "My top is $30, would you take that?" which might work occasionally, but usually, they'll try and get you up one more time and you'll end up spending $35. Still a deal, but not the one you wanted. To get the deal you want, anticipate that they want to have the last say on price and start off lower- your goal here is to get them to meet in the middle. "It's priced at $40? Any chance you'd take $20 for it?" Don't expect a yes to that answer, but this will show you if they're willing to budge. Sometimes they'll meet you right in the middle at $30 and voila you just scored the glorious goodie for the price you wanted!! Congrats! BUT, wait! What if they only come down to $35 at that point? Never fear! That's your chance to say "For $30 you have a deal." This won't work 100% of the time, but when it does, *happy dance*! You just saved yourself $10 and got to enjoy the adrenaline rush of making a deal!
No negotiations are foolproof since you never know who you are trying to make a deal with. Sometimes Mr. or Ms. Seller isn't willing to budge AT ALL. That's when you need to decide how much you really want the item.
The biggest thing here is- don't be afraid to negotiate! They expect you to! They won't be offended if you offer a lower price (respectfully of course- don't be offering $5 for something with a $50 tag on it). A few other tips- respect the item: don't try and get a lower price by telling the seller how crappy or broken it is. Occasionally the seller may have missed a chip in the glass or a small crack and you can use that as a bargaining chip, but never insult the item that you are trying to buy or the person you are trying to buy it from. The nicer you are, the more willing to make a deal the sellers will be. Kill 'em with kindness.
I'm generally a bit of an introvert and would prefer not to talk to strangers, so if I can negotiate an awesome deal on glorious goodies, trust me, you can too!
Happy treasure hunting!!