Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Brooklyn Flea

Flea markets have long been a source of unique, one-of-a-kind, stylish accents for WTSTA, but lately shopping at them had become stale. That is, until we took the plunge and ventured across the Brooklyn Bridge to the waterfront. It. Was. Awesome. Right on the waterfront on Sundays (Saturdays it's in Fort Greene, which I'm a little scared to find - baby steps!) is the Brooklyn Flea. I had to go once for the culinary tour (lobster rolls, fish tacos, popsicles, shaved ice, pickles, arepas.....I had to roll myself home), and once to really shop. I tried to keep the spending under control; I went in with only $60 cash and spent it all. Here's what I bought:

Butterfly sweater clip, $15

Victorian silhouette picture, $12

A good portion of the rest of my cash was apportioned to food (of course). But here are some tips to shopping a flea like a professional - I've gotten amazing, cool pieces, and some I've even tired of and resold to consignment shops for a ton more (a Lanvin 70's dress I bought for $15 - sold for $150 in a shop!!). Below, some guidelines:

1. Practice a poker face. If you seem really excited about something, a vendor will expect you to pay what they've put on the sticker.

2. Bargain. They expect it. Low-ball but not insultingly so and work to a happy medium you're willing to pay.

3. Inspect. Sometimes vendors will give you a better deal if they see you're a discerning customer. Do all the buttons button? Do the zippers zip? Are there scratches or will you have to replace something? I generally ask down a few dollars and see if they'll meet me.

4. Shop around. If you're not totally in love (and don't let them know that!), then say you'll come back and think about it. Vendors don't want you to leave their stall, so they're more willing to work with you.

5. Be prepared to walk away. There is always a chance that it won't be there after you've thought about it, so weigh your options. There also might be something better a few stalls down - it's a gamble!

6. Carry small bills. If you sometimes tell a vendor that you have only $15 for something they've got marked for $18, they'll take it.

Happy hunting!

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