This Little Shopper Went to Market

Have you ever been to a flea market? I have. Tons. In fact, I’ve sold at them probably more than twenty times. I love it! I love shopping there more than selling though. ;-)

There’s something so thrilling about searching for something you’re in dire need of, and then finding it for only a fraction of the cost of if you bought it from the store! No, it’s not always used – sometimes you can find new items too. Last weekend I sold at the flea market in Wentzville and the lady selling next to us on the left had nothing but new household items. She had everything from toothpaste, to laundry soap, candles, and pantyhose. The guy selling on the right of us had brand new sunglasses (over-priced if you ask me because I know how much he got them for at the wholesale house).

Now what do I sell? I get rid of anything I don’t need. I sold a toilet paper roll holder for a dollar and some kitchen canisters for three. I sold some of Gene’s video games, and this speaker thing he had (no clue what it even was). I’ll sell anything! The hardest thing about selling at the flea market is trying not to go walk around and spend the money you’ve made!

When I sell I’m not out to make a ton of money so I price cheap (I take after my Mom), but you’ll see people out there trying to get rich in a day. Gene and my Dad are even like that; if they had their way they’d get what they paid for the item every time! Granted nobody would buy it so that’s a moot point. Anyway, like I was saying, people trying to get rich make up about 85% of a flea market. They over-price all of their items hoping to get the people that won’t bargain down (like my Mom). Don’t be shy. Seriously. They price their items for those bargainers, so never, EVER pay what they have on there. Unless you’re dead set on it and can’t live without it.

Here’s a tip, and this one is especially good for furniture or bulky items: If you’ve found something that you like and the person won’t come down on it, walk away. Chances are, you’ll surprise yourself and find the same item down the strip for less. If not, go back right before you are leaving and ask again. It happens all the time so don’t think you’re doing something weird. It’s just one last shot for the person to make a buck; if they pass, it’s their loss. Again, don’t use this tip if you’re going to die without it because it does backfire. My Dad always has the motto “Somebody will pay for it.” Well, not always, and how long are they willing to sit on it before it sells? The worst thing for a person selling is to have to pack up and take back home a ton of crap, especially heavy items.

If you decide to try out selling there, here are some good pointers:

1.       Get there extra early – the prime spots get taken quick (some people will get in line there at 3am)!

2.       Presentation is key – don’t expect to even make your “rent” if you just lay your stuff out on blankets… tables, like items together, larger items in back. *Yes, it will cost you to rent their space. I wouldn’t pay more than $25 per spot, per day.

3.       Price everything – it’s just like a store… if you come across something and you don’t know the price, how often do you go ask someone?

4.       Be willing to negotiate – Hey, that’s half the fun!

5.       I definitely suggest going to shop a flea market before you sell there because you need to get familiar with the location and the customers. Each flea market is not the same. It also wouldn’t hurt to talk to some of the vendors to see if they have any suggestions.

Well, if selling isn’t your thing I highly recommend going to paruse the bargains. This is the prime time of year because it’ll probably be over by the end of October and sellers don’t want to have to hold onto all of their wares until next spring. So bring your pocketbook and be prepared to walk A LOT! Have kiddos? Bring the wagon! No pets though as they aren’t allowed most places, even those outdoor ones.

Suggested Flea Markets:

-          CWE Flea (1st and 3rdSaturdays)

Have fun with it! And make sure to give yourself plenty of time.

Happy bargain-hunting!


  1. We used to go to the Wentzville one all the time when I was a kid. It's changed so much since then. Back then, it was nearly all used items and you could haggle. Now, it's new stuff. Not the same experience for me. We've found this to be true at a couple of local ones down here

  2. I need to find some home decor stuff. Maybe I should try the markets!!