When is a flea market worthwhile?

I can't help it and keep doing it to myself, even though I should have really gotten smarter from the last few years. A lot of effort, a lot of time investment and hardly any profit beyond the stand fee. Well, you can't just look at a flea market from the side; a stand of its own at one of these district flea markets has something else to offer: material from studies by other operators and customers (especially).

In any case, after the flea market, I always draw the conclusion: never again! And then I do. There has to be something in my blueprint that I keep thinking that I can benefit from.

Let's start the day with the assembly starting at 9.30 a.m. Customers should be able to enter from 11 a.m. I show up with my bag and baggage (I don't want to call it clutter, because I have some things with me that are worth a try) around 10 a.m. and everyone is already finished with their assembly. As the? My table is also already occupied - because they thought I would not be coming any more. Huh? It's just 9.50 a.m.! And then I notice that the shop (an in-door flea market) is jam-packed. No, not the other marketers, but customers; those that are only allowed in from 11 a.m. When asked, I get the answer that they “just couldn't be held”. It soon feels like the winter sale in the early years, when satire still had fun with drawings with "elderly women" fighting over handbags and the like - possibly with the aforementioned handbags.

But back to the beginning. I hasten to spread my beauties and horrors on a pretty cloth (the things that had already occupied the table had to be cleared away; much to the annoyance of the neighbor, who could have used a little more space - but not with my stand fees. Where do we get there!).

As soon as I can set up the articles in peace, hurrying hands are grabbing them and I'm tempted to slap their fingers. That kind of thing makes me aggressive, that kind of greed. As if 11 a.m. wasn't early enough!

At some point I made it too. A few candles in pretty stands make my table attractive and I sit down behind my treasures, waiting for the buyers to come in droves. To get right to the point: between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. - before the official opening - they come. In droves; after that rather blotchily.

For example, there is this man of indeterminate age, gaunt and daring, with an open, loosely tied scarf in old pink on his bare chest (of course he has other clothes on, of course). Rimless glasses and tumbled, thinning hair suggested, without prejudice, that it was an intellectual from the neighborhood - our residential area by no means lacks it.

He picks up a non-fiction book on mediation. As good as new, a few years old. He looks at it from the back and front, flips through the pages, gets stuck on one or the other, and with his glasses immerses himself in the middle of the book.

“How much do you want for it?” He asks, lurking and already on the go, finding the price to be too high in any case. Well, it's a flea market and I'm ready for it.

“7 euros,” I say in a firm voice.

"7 euros! That's a proud price for a used book. "

Did I mention it was like new? I needed it for a presentation and basically only read it once. And I left all the letters in it!

"Make me a counter offer. Action is allowed. "

He boldly calls his price: "3 euros."

Ha! I say: "Give me 6 euros and the book will be yours."

Now he looks at the book again. Some kind of ritual, I suppose. Front and back, in the middle, flips through the pages and then realizes: "But it's an edition from 2001."

“So what?” I say, “compared to the 2009 edition, next to nothing has changed. I have that too. Which is why I am now selling this one. "

And then he discovers the name of the publisher. He doesn't like that. The publisher. He makes a couple of derogatory remarks.

That's when I feel sorry for my book and I don't want to sell it anymore, at least not to him. I take it from his hand and say:

“You still have until 5:00 p.m. to think about it. If I sell it elsewhere in between, it's gone. "

He looks at me as if to say, "This is not a sales practice."

No, maybe not. But that’s how I am. I put the book back in its place where it is clearly visible.

It takes less than 10 minutes for the said gentleman to be with me again.

"Well, that's where it is," he notes. "Nobody wanted to have it yet."

If I'm not mistaken, he has put on a smug smile. Actor!

I don't say anything, just smile for my part, but more friendly.

He picks up the book again. I can tell, he wants it.

He says, “Good. I'll give you 5.50 euros. ”And pulls out his purse.

But not with me. Nope !!!

I say: “The price has risen in the meantime. I am now selling it for 10 euros. "


Now he's really baffled. He looks irritated through his rimless glasses and grimaces as if he had bitten into a lemon.

“And why is it more expensive now? Before you wanted to have 7 euros for it. "

Me: "Give me 7 euros and the book will change hands immediately."

And he pays the 7 euros. Crazy. Totally crazy!

I'll get some fresh coffee and wait for more customers that I'll enjoy.

It doesn't take long (I don't wait here with all those who look and also buy, but only tell about those who have burned themselves into my memory) when an elderly lady appears in front of my stand. She wears a smart little felt hat the head, smiles mischievously from funny eyes. A lined jacket will keep you warm and that is necessary, because under the jacket I can see a knee-length, floral summer dress made of transparent chiffon (it's February!); bare legs peek out from underneath and the feet are in lined, half-height slippers that lack the clasp, which is why the feet slip out of the shoes with every step. On the left she is dragging a half-opened pink children's umbrella with a rubber duck motif and on the right a large plastic bag, which suggests that the contents are voluminous. When she stops in front of my booth, she opens this plastic bag and asks me conspiratorially like Schlemihl from Sesame Street while selling an A whether I'm interested in a fur. In the bag there is undoubtedly a fur coat made of thick gray fur. I regret. No, I would neither wear fur nor buy it. I do not make any further statements. I'm kind of sorry for her. But she is not sad about the cancellation. She explains to me that she doesn't need the fur. She would get on well with the jacket and would always sweat anyway. She bravely goes from stand to stand and receives rejections everywhere. Some make stupid remarks. It's not nice.

To come to the point: She has no luck in the whole market, but comes back later without the plastic bag and, when I ask me whether she was successful, explains to me that she “deposited” it at a stand so that she doesn't go any further to drag along. There they gave her the tip of where to sell fur in Hamburg. Then she wants to try it next week. A friendly visitor. She goes on to explain to me that today she is “completely without any desire to buy” and therefore won't buy anything from me either. She says that in such a nice, happy tone. Wonderful.

At some point during the day I have a lady at the booth again. No wonder with around 85% female visitors. After all, it's a women's flea market. She looks skinny, the new customer, skinny and tall. Your age can hardly be estimated. She grabs a small mocha cup from the “China Blue” series and sees it with thin spindle fingers that remind me of “dwarf nose” - that is, the old woman who appears at the market there at the beginning and checks the vegetables at the stand on all sides. The cup is a mocha cup; undoubtedly, and therefore quite small. Not much to see in it. But she turns and turns the cup, looks into it - no, there is nothing in it - turns it upside down, reads what is under the cup and fishes a magnifying glass out of her handbag. The happening repeats itself. This time with the illuminated magnifying glass. What is she looking for? The gold edge and the blue of the pattern are completely undamaged. But I'm afraid that if she turns the cup back and forth any longer, that will have been the case for a long time. Oh, now she puts the cup down again and grabs the small plate that goes with it.

"But that doesn't belong", she says, "this saucer."

"Why do you believe that?" I ask you, "You can be sure that both belong together."

She repeats the test with the magnifying glass.

Then she asks what the cup should cost. I name the price and she asks: "For cup and saucer?"

"Yes exactly. For both."

Now she puts both down again after she has dealt with them again in detail and goes on her way. Would she have bought the parts if the price were only for one part?

No idea. People do weird things.

What sells quite well are DVDs. But here, too, I have some strange experiences. I have a couple of DVDs with me that are still shrink-wrapped. So NEW! That makes people suspicious.

“Oh,” says one, “it's still sealed. You can't even look into it to see if it's okay. ”Yes, that’s something. Maybe. I regret. I will not open the case. The next one comes and then complains again.

A young man accompanied by a young girl wants tips on which of the films is worth watching.

I take the DVDs and look through them and recommend to one and the other. Ultimately, however, they choose one that I didn't recommend. That’s a logic!

Shortly before the end of the flea market, a customer comes, her face pale and dressed as from yesterday, from very far yesterday, with a boot from the next stall and asks if she could “try it on here for a moment”. There is a free chair next to my booth, so it is not free at the moment, but occupied by a friend who is visiting me. But of course she gets up and steps aside. The customer takes off her shoes (swaths of a distinctive smell waft around us) and tries on the boot. She gets up and takes a few steps. The dialogue that takes place between her and the owner of the boots is ready for printing.

She asks what size shoe it would be. Size 39, they are boots, only worn once by herself. A bad buy because they were too big for the previous owner. The customer says she has a size. 39 and that is strange. Because the boot would fit exactly.

It was also Gr. 39, the saleswoman repeats.

But why are they too big then?

Meare they too big; because I Gr. 38 and thought I had to buy the boots one size bigger - because of thick socks in winter. "

The customer takes a few steps again. We all agree that the boots are top quality and we give this opinion too.

She repeats: “But I have Gr. 39. Why does the boot fit me? "


Now she wants to try the other boot and everything breathes a sigh of relief. Also my friend, who would like to sit down again.

Now the customer asks for a shoehorn, which we regret. Nobody has one with them.

The customer pulls the boot on without effort and without a shoehorn and pulls up the zipper of the same. Now she takes a few more steps down the hall, through between the stands and has disappeared.

"Great!" Says the owner, "that was it."

"Don't worry, she left her own shoes here and a bag with contents."

"What if she doesn't want her old shoes anymore?"

But she wants to, because she comes back after a quarter of an hour, sits down again and takes off her boots.

“Well, that's not possible. I have Gr. 39. The boots don't fit. “Well, don't they? Very strange. And now she remains seated on the chair, starts a conversation with herself and looks back in a mirror. “How do I look?” She wants to know from me or from herself. I don't answer. She doesn't want to hear the truth anyway. And I want her to get out of the chair. What feels like 127 hours later, it actually works - without buying it.

Shortly afterwards we pack up all of our belongings again and shuffle home.

On Sunday I am busy reassigning everything that has not been sold to the rest of the household.

Never again a flea market. It's not worth it considering the financial side.