Combined with our love of junking, paired with the spirit of the road trip, we travel around the West Coast in our Airstream trailer. We scour flea markets, thrift stores, estate & yard sales to bring back lovelies to our vintage shop located in the quaint town of San Luis Obispo, California.
This weekend on the central coast is the Three Speckled Hens show in Paso Robles, and the following weekend will be the Remnants of the Past show. Along with those shows, there are a handful of shops in the area the we will be visiting.
So what exactly is the protocol on asking for a better price? Do we ask in the shops? We certainly don't want to hear about someone getting an item for a better price than we could have gotten it for.
1. The first day of a show (especially the first few hours) , dealers are less on "dealing" at this time. Most of their inventory is just out for the first time and they are not as motivated to take a lower price. My advice here is, "if you see something at a price that you think is fair, don't hesitate, as we all know, there is someone right behind you that is waiting for you to put it down".
2. As the day goes on, the rush has passed, and you are considering an item (and a few dollars would make or break the purchase), ask the dealer in a very kind way "Are your prices firm?"...or if there are a few pieces that you are interested in, make an offer such as, "I am interested in these three items. Could you make a deal if I take all 3?". Another approach would be, "Is there any wiggle room here?"...and the words I use a lot at flea markets, let's say the item is $45, "Would you consider $40?".
3. Dealers at flea markets and shows are used to working with us and they are always kind if you are kind. Sometimes we may get an answer like, "On these items, I am firm.". My advice here is to respectfully take a "no" as well as a "yes".
4. The wonderful thing about both of these shows is that they are held for two days. If possible, go back the second day and look again. You may see something you didn't see on day one, or maybe the item you are thinking about may still be there! Dealers are much more motivated on day two--especially toward the end of the day.
1. If you are in an antique mall or a collective, where there are many dealers under one roof, some spaces will have a sign stating what their discount is...or you can go to the desk and ask, "Does this dealer consider offers?" or, "Is this dealer firm on his/her prices?".
2. If you are in a boutique store that has antiques, resale, or junk throughout, try to look around the counter to check out their policies--discounts, return procedure if any, or notice of sales. This area can be a little tricky, so tread lightly and once again, manners are very important here. Since owning a small business, I have come to realize how tight things have to be. If prices are too high, the customer walks or a reputation is made, if they are too low, then we work and stress to make our month. Pricing has thought and value in it, so each separate buisness knows what they need to do.
3. Here at Ruby Rose, our policy is that we put out our best price and that is that. We feel that the customer that comes every week to buy a little somethin' is just as important as someone buying multiple items. In the 8-9 years that we have been a company, we can count on one hand the times we have altered this, thus, we have a reputation for not dealing but that we are fair to all.
So that is our two cents. These are all suggestions...as everyone plays a little different. Just try to have fun, listen to that inner voice when you get giddy over an item, and be considerate (good manners!).