Wednesday, September 25, 2013


This is gonna be a quick post y'all...complete with misspelled words, dangling participles and incomplete sentences. But I really wanted to finish off my advice series with one last post before I head out the door to The Greatest Show On Dirt.
My job as an antique vendor is to do my darnedest to bring the best merchandise I can find and afford....your job is to try and negotiate the best price before purchasing it from me.
While none of us really like to discount our stuff, mainly because it's getting to where it's so cotton pickin' hard to replace with the same quality at a fair price...both for me and you...most of us do at least a little.  Basically, the more I have to will you. Factor in time (which BTW for me averages out to 50 cents an hour!), operating expenses, show fees, fuel etc., and you can see, I'm not exactly raking in the do-re-mi.
And...contrary to popular belief...the best things are seldom found on the side of the road or in dumpsters.  Unless, of course, a film crew happens to be following one around and then anything is possible in the world of "Reality" TV.
My point is, I understand haggling is part of the game and I like a good game as much as the next girl, but there's a fine line between getting a good deal and beating me up for a deal.
So for what it's's a few guidelines when you are, boots on the ground, out in the fields of any antique market.
1.  Know your price points. I know mine.  Know ahead of time what you can reasonably expect or are willing to pay for that one of a kind jack-a-lope trophy.  If it's out of your pocketbook range to begin with...chances are it still will be when trying to negotiate.  Save yourself some disappointment and keep looking.  You never know what will be just over yonder.
2.  If you come into my booth and immediately make a mad dash for a comfit I have perched on a table...that's a dead giveaway.  Think of bargaining as a poker hand.  If I see you salivating, chances are I'll give you the best price I can, but some will see this as an opportunity to stay firm.  Practice your poker face in the mirror before venturing out and for goodness sakes...don't blink!
3.  Speaking of poker, if you do make a dealer a fair offer, don't be bluffing. You've made your wager, they called it, now buy it.  Please don't say you'll have to think about it.  Chances are...
a. It will be gone when you've made up your mind and...
b. If it is still there when you return, chances are slim and none you'll get it for the price you wanted.
4.  A lot of dealers, myself included, tend to offer deeper discounts when a shopper is buying in piles.  I don't know about others, but I actually prefer this method for both buying and selling. It allows me to give you the very best price by reducing my margin.  Frank on American Pickers thinks this is his idea..."bundling"...but we've been doing it for nigh on 25 years. One caveat...if I give you a multi-discount and you decide you only want two or three things in the pile...that's okay, but the price will be different.  I give quotes based on the prices of the overall pile. Keep in mind, buying one or two items is not going to get you the same deal.
4.  When you are in a booth and looking at a certain item, please do not say loudly you can buy it across the road for a lot less...or worse that it is over priced.  No one know what a dealer had to pay initially for their product or the time and money put into it to get it ready for a show.  It's absolutely A-OK to ask the provenance of an item, but please, please, please...don't pick it apart and show me all the flaws in it.  It's old...just like me.  And just like's got the wrinkles to prove it.  Those well worn spots only add to the value.  And for the our business...rust is an expensive commodity.
5.  Lastly, but most importantly, don't bust out your velvet hammer and start beating me over the head with it.  I don't respond well to cruel and unusual punishment and chances are I'm only going to go up rather than down.  I'm not too terribly fond of pop knots on the top ofmy head...thank you very much.  And while we're at it...never beg. I've had folks do that and believe you ain't pretty and the only thing it accomplishes is to irritate the heck out of me.
I hope these buying tips help. They aren't carved in stone...or at least I don't think they are.  These are just a few of the things I myself practice when out shopping.
It's important for the vendor and the shopper to both remember two things.
1. Always be polite.
2. A smile and a friendly attitude...or as I like to say...CAT-titude...goes a long way in helping to arrive at a happy sale and maybe a new friend.
Now I've got to scoot, but if you do get out to Antique Week, please drop in to see me. I'll be in the Zapp Hall, just inside the front doors.
I promise you up and down, I won't try to sell you anything you really don't want...she says with her best poker face!



You know I love you...and this!! What great advice for all...proud to be your friend!

Olive said...

Spot on Deb. I especially like number four. I would not know a participle if I saw one. xo, olive

Low Tide High Style said...

Such great advice...and not just for antique shows and fleamarkets! Have a wonderful show, and sell everything you can, just not Cat Daddy! ;)

xo Kat

Sheila said...

Could not of said it any better than you did...LOVED THIS POST!!!!


Smiles and Blessings,

Curtains in My Tree said...

I agree with you what upsets my apple cart is when they say ,she is to high I seen that about a year ago for 1/2 that price and look at it it needs to be painted and striped etc etc, BULL SHix I say

keep you smart asx comments to yourself ,you should have bought it a year ago when you seen it 1/2 price LADY LOL

have a great time as I know you will

Curtains in My Tree said...

OH I am sorry I should have been polite and said I agree with # 4


Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

Hi Deb,
Great advice for both the seller and the buyer. Had a lady beat me over the head with that velvet hammer and believe me I was ready to boil. But happily we did reach an agreement.


Sue said...

What a perfectly worded and said post! Being a shop owner, I go through this haggling game playing thing daily. There is definately a "way" of asking for a discount. I really don't want to hear what the customer "thinks" it should be worth, or offer 50% of the price because in their minds it is way over priced, etc. Anyway, I hope everyone goes easy on you at the show. I think all os us in this biz hears you that one!!

Take care,

Beth Leintz said...

Halleluiha and are so right on!

Bliss said...

Here is my tip for shoppers.... remember you are not at a garage sale so don't expect garage sale prices. At a garage sale people usually want to get rid of stuff even for free because they don't want it in their house and won't be holding another garage sale the next month.

Pam @ Frippery said...

Wonderful tips Deb! Best of luck this weekend. I can't wait for more pictures. As my hubs often says when a buyer has asked for the best price and we have given it, for example $20, then they counter with, "Can you do better?" Joe says , "Sure, how about $50"?
LYttH and you Cattitude too, Pammie

Mrs. Kelley Dibble said...

Great advice... and my favorite was, "Always be polite."


Daphne Nicole & Lynda Cade said...

Well written!!!

Kathie Truitt said...

Ya know, I NEVER haggle. Never. I always pay the price that is marked. And am happy to do so. By the way Deb....I'm plannin' on moving to your great state within the next 13 months.