Where do you hunt for treasure? I have found that thrifters, much like fishermen, are reluctant or downright impossible to pin down on their “best spots”. While I don’t wish to give away any of my specific locations, I did want to share my observations on types of hunting grounds 🙂
I first wrote about garage sales and thrift stores; now I’ll share what I’ve noticed about flea markets and then online treasure hunting.
Ah, flea markets. By flea market I mean a true flea, with pop-up and changing vendors, sometimes moving locations, and hopefully even some outside booths. (Contrast this with thrift stores that call themselves flea markets, but have permanent structures, and really are just a thrift store with a cute name).
My city has a long running flea market open on the weekends most of the year; the outdoor ‘booths’ are only occupied from March-October. While the indoor portion has some anchor vendors, some of the inside and all of the outside are weekend people who pay a fee to occupy an assigned space. It has an amazing array of trash to treasure and is not for the faint of heart- my flea sports a head shop, a flag vendor that sells Confederate flags next to Nazi flags, weed flags, and gay pride flags, and a truly amazing array of people to watch. It also features fresh fruit stands, people crafting leather goods and signs on request, and sock sellers (this is a mystery to me that I have seen at other fleas. Why socks? They aren’t expensive or hard to find, but there’s at least one vendor of just socks at every flea I’ve been to.) I’m fortunate in that there are several regular sellers that carry toys; I go here as often as I can since it’s a bit of a drive and only open on the weekends.
Best Finds: Many 1980’s My Little Ponies; a new in package My Pretty Puppy; Hearts for Hearts doll with full outfit; Fenton glass vase; recurve bow for personal use; My Pretty Pony for 3.00!
Biggest Drawbacks: Need to arrive early for best picking; never knowing what sellers will have; finds are often dirty; people can be a little too interesting depending on the area
Best Strategies: Be ready to bargain and chat with vendors; carry small bills, and be willing to dig through items. If you know you want something get it quickly, but if the price isn’t right you can try hanging around and making an offer as they close up; few vendors want to lug all that home with them!
Next I’ll talk about shopping online at places like Ebay (or Evilbay, as it is sometimes known to collectors!). It’s a big enough topic to deserve it’s own post 🙂