I have just participated in my very first car boot sale – not knowing quite what to expect or what it was all about. I have to admit, I enjoyed it too – possibly more as a buyer than as a seller which, as anyone who knows me will tell you, is totally in character.
Together with a couple of friends who had basically slimmed down several sizes and wanted to offload their entire wardrobe, we set out our store, so to speak – and the car boot sale we chose was Rogate – just outside Petersfield, on the Hampshire/West Sussex border. Several things were quite evident immediately. I was outclassed by the veteran car-booters and should have prepared more. Think competititive school jumble sale and then some.
The savvy car booters surrounded us on arrival, demanding to know what we were selling and eager to get first dibs. Kid’s clothes and toys, photographic equipment, CDs and LPs were much in demand. As we didn’t have these, they soon melted away to encircle another new arrival. All however were cheerful and friendly.
Layout wise – there was the “pile it high and delve” car booters and the “thoughtful, well laid out” car booters – the latter were the ones which attracted me. When looking around, I saw that many were actually businesses using it as an alternative avenue of sales.
Two or three wallpaper tables pulled together, covered with a table cloth with items laid out beautifully, priced individually seemed to be the order of the day. These aficionados had also thoughtfully brought sun umbrellas to help with the sun on the day we visited, flasks of coffee, water and sandwiches – sitting in camping chairs, reading books or chatting on the mobile. It’s very much a social thing.
Talking to a few of them – they tend to go to two or three sales a week and hone in on those that specialise in what they are selling be it vintage, books, prints, plants, clothes, jewellery etc. They also sell on eBay or Etsy (for the more craft orientated) but for them, discourse with their customers is what its all about – they love to chat, they love to sell, they clearly love what they do.
I have to say, car booting is probably not for me as a seller but I will definitely visit a few as a prospective buyer in the future. It’s great fun, everyone is very helpful and cheerful and you never know, you may find a collectible or two if you search hard enough.
All three of us sold enough goods to cover our entrance fee and more.
In summary, for any other newbie car-booters: Get there early for the best pitches / lay your wares out clearly / mark everything clearly / be happy to bargain / take lots of change / bring plastic bags for your customers / have the patter and be happy to chatter! Bring everything you need to keep comfortable and its always good to have two people around otherwise you are glued to your stall (and that’s no fun!)
Most of all – go and have fun. More information, prices and dates, check out http://www.rogatecarboot.com.
Contributor & Photographer: Sue Lowry
Follow A3Traveller on Twitter: @A3Traveller and Sue Lowry on Google +, YouTube, Linkedin, Flickr and Pinterest. I also operate another blog for my company, Magellan PR – http://www.magellanstraits.com. They can be followed on Twitter: @MagellanPR, on Google+, on YouTube, on Pinterest and on Facebook.