Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's Almost Show Time!!

(photo credit: http://madelinetosh.typepad.com/)

Can you believe that the Round Top/Warrenton Antique Shows will start in about a week. Well, technically as I previously mentioned in the last post some of the shows will start this weekend, but one week from today I will be in Warrenton Texas. I am so exicted and can't wait!! I always look forward to being back in the country. I guess part of it is because I grew up in the country and can't wait to be back there. I take my vacation twice a year to spend it at the shows and I can't imagine being anywhere else. I'll get to see my friends that normally I can only see twice year, there's the best junk on earth that you can even imagine here, and the customers/friends just make it so worthwhile.

I wanted to mention some flea market tips for those that possibly have never been and are planning on coming out to the shows. When I was on Sue's blog, Junk Market Style, the other day I saw her tips and thought it was just appropriate to do a post on them as well. The main point is just to have fun while you are out junkin'.

Here are Sue's tips:

1. Early Bird Special: You already know how the saying goes, “The early bird gets the worm”! Many flea markets across the country offer an early entrance option for all of you leave it to eager- beaver junkers. This alternative is not for bargain boppers, but for those of you in search of the best selection. You will have to cough up some extra green, but the variety of junk is hm-hm-hm good. In a nut shell; early entrance fee (varies), coffee and doughnuts (five bucks), early bird experience, priceless.

2. Search First, Rescue Later: We refer to this strategy as the “straight jacket“ defense to over paying. Take a loop-de-loo around the entire flea market before making any purchases (Let me just add this may not be possible in Texas, if you see something you like you better buy it, because if you come back it will probably be gone!!). Although, there are some downsides (you may miss a snag or two) to this plan of attack, but more times than not you’ll be happy you employed it.

3. Where is the Real Junk? After you’ve scoped out the market and retrieved your initial must haves get your boots a walkin’ to the back forty. What does this mean? Head out to the very back of the field and work your way back in. Vendors who have staked claim in the field are most likely to have what we consider to be the coolest of cool. You will find stuff in the rough with more potential than you can shake a stick at. What’s even cooler are the price tags or the lack there of, allowing you to inquire. What will you take for this thing with its ears cut short and its tail cut long?

4. Junkers on the Down Low: While out in the back forty, leave no stone unturned. Vendors will display their favorite junk confectionery, but the sweetest of sweet may be tucked away for later. Listen to that sweet tooth and ask if their might be any hidden treats perhaps slipped under the table, or in the back of their truck or tailer. If you dare to ask, you may be in for a pleasant surprise. Scrounging in the underworld is what true junking is all about, so, go for it! This is something that will not require a trip to the dentist, quite possibly a welder, but most definitely not a dentist... thank goodness for small favors!

5. Let’s Talk Turkey, The Art of Negotiation: Negotiating is indubitably an art form. At the end of the day you want everyone to be happy. Vendors work very hard searching high and low in order to bring out the best in show for you. Rule number one is not to offend the vendor. Rule number two is not to offend yourself, so pre-determine what you can afford to pay for something you like. Rule number three, combine rules one and two and you are set to go. If you can’t bear the expense, politely ask the vendor if he or she can do better. If the answer is no, be prepared to walk away and say whatever you were after is out of your price range. Don’t say I’ll be back because that will leave the vendor laughing.

6. Cash and Carry: Cash, don’t leave home without it. Although some vendors are now accepting plastic, cash is still king at the flea markets. Before heading out the door make sure you have what you need in a variety of denominations. Twenties, tens, fives, and ones are best. Vendors always appreciate not having to break your honey bees. Oh, and by the way, make sure to keep it all in a safe and handy location. We’ve found that stuffing your back pockets is not all it’s cracked up to be.

7. Never Believe the Weatherman: (This is so true in Texas!!) Be prepared for sunshine on your shoulders, the rainy day blues, and everything in between. A full day at the flea market can produce a potpourri of weather conditions. You’ll want to pack a sensible bag of necessities. Items like bottled water, sunscreen, lip balm, shades, and a hat are a must (Let me add don't forget your comfortable shoes--you'll do a lot of walking). You may also want to consider layering up your wardrobe (This is really important!). Don’t worry about being stylish, this is not an audition for America’s next top model. As the brisk morning air gives way to the smoldering afternoon sun you’ll be able to shed layers on the fly without missing a beat or a hot deal. In case of the dreaded inclement weather situation, make sure to have that rain poncho and gollashes in the car ready and waiting. Don’t let a little torrential down pour send you packing like everyone else. Keep in mind if the storm sends folks running for cover you will be left with the goodies all to yourself. We do not advocate, however, junking in a lightning storm. Even we have to draw the line somewhere!

8. Don’t Find Yourself Lost in Translation. Some flea markets are expansive (just like this one), some are small, and some are just right. In any case you’ll want to know where you are, where you’re going, and most importantly where you need to back to. If you’re planning a major haul kind of shopping experience you will probably find it necessary to leave some purchases with vendors for pick-up later in the day. If so, it is imperative to make a map of your junking journey. Some fleas have maps available (you can pick up the magazine "SHOW DAILY" almost at any booth or show and it will include maps of all the shows), but if not, make sure to have a small notebook in your arsenal to make your own. You will want to jot down the vendor location (aisle, booth #, etc.), vendors name and contact information, and a list of the items left behind. The last thing you want to do is get home and realize that you forgot a favorite find.

9. Don’t Be a Hungry Junker. Do you ever go to the grocery store when you are hungry? Mmm, mm, bad idea. Most of us have learned this valuable lesson through personal experience. Why did I spend $50 on twelve bags of munchies? If you don’t have a plan of attack you might just have a similar escapade at the flea market. This time instead of buying silly food, you’ll be buying silly junk. Prepare a list in this order, things you need, things you want, and maybe a few things you’ve been dreaming of for quite some time. If you do this you’ll feel more in control, you will be less likely to over-spend, and you won’t end up with a lot of impulse buys that will assuredly take up residence at your next garage sale.

10. Don’t Let Your Eyes be Bigger Than Your Volkswagon Bug: Remember the junk you buy throughout the course of the day needs a ride home. Easier said than done!

My last tips are:

** Don't forget your cart or at least a bag to carry your smalls in. However, I really recommend a cart because once you load that bag up will be heavy to carry around. I also recommend putting a liner or a bag in your cart. Most carts are used to carry large items and it's not made for small items. You can use the bags to carry your smaller items in, but you still want to make sure they don't fall out of your cart so having a larger bag will hold it all.

** Bring plenty of water and snacks. You don't want to dehydrate yourself. With the way the Texas weather is, it can become very hot and drinking plenty of fluids will help to keep yourself hydrated. Also having snacks will prevent you from having to stop and spend extra money on foods that aren't always the heathiest to eat and you could save that money for finding more stuff.
** Bring comfortable shoes. I can't stress this enough. I've seen shoppers in high heel shoes and I know they've got to be uncomfortable. Remember, you are literally in the middle of a cow pasture. There are sandy spots, uneven spots, and the last thing you want to do is fall down and hurt yourself.

The important thing is to Have Fun!!


  1. you beat me to this woman...I've been planning a post about junkin'...oh well, theads are better than one.

    and about RT....drool is spilling all over my mactop...I can only dream......sigh

  2. Can you go back and add not to wear sandles? One year Renee had to treat a person with snakebite. Rare but possible and real shoes would have prevented it!

    The Texas Woman

  3. Good advice! Of course there will always be those shoppers who are more about being looked at that looking at. I love those women who show up in the bikini tops and high heels. It just wouldn't be a show without them, God love 'em!
    Another little piece of advice about negotiating, have a price in mind before asking a vendor what, if any, discounts they offer. If the starting price is way out of your budget, chances are even with a discount it still will be. Don't expect a 50% reduction even towards the end of the show and don't insult the vendor by offering that. Nothing ticks me off more than for someone to come up as we're loading and offer 50-75% less to "take it off our hands" so we don't have to load it. Loading and unloading isn't a problem...it's what we do. Debbie

  4. Hey my hubby said I could go to the next show. So let me know of your next show and I'm off to visit. Thanks Denise

  5. I'll be there. My daughters and I go twice a year. can't wait.



  6. I can feel your excitement for the shows coming up!!! Happy Junkin...can't wait for the photos. xo Cindy

  7. Oh TC...I can taste the dust in my mouth right now...girls..wear your cowboy boots and you'll be oh-so-chic-and-happy!
    also...to add to Trash's comment: consider starting a 'pile' and you'll end up doing much better than just buying one item...it's the only way I know how to shop, right?
    xooxoxoxoxox lulu

  8. Yes, don't forget your wellies'
    (rain boots)short for wellingtons. On my very first trip to Warrenton, nearly 20 years ago, my best friend and I called ahead to inquire about rain. And the lady who ran the Round Top show told us not to worry, just "wear your wellies". We had no idea what "wellies" were. Now I have the cutest pair of flowered wellies, I leave them in my car all the time just as a reminder that Warrenton is never more than six months away. And Debbie, I have to say my three college age daughters are those girls in the bikini tops on a hot day of antiqueing, but they've always got their tennis shoes on so that they can run to that treasure, no high heels for them, LOL.

    Carol Casey

  9. You're right about the rain boots, gotta have 'em, but always hope you don't need 'em. Before my best friend and I went to Warrenton for the first time, nearly 20 years ago now, we called to find out what to do if it rained, and the lady who ran the Round Top show told us to "wear our wellies", now being from Texas, we had never heard of "wellies", but we found out what they were. Now I have the cutest pair of flowered wellies. I keep them in my car all year long just as reminder that Warrenton is never more than six months away. As for the dirt and sandles, we still wear sandles and sometimes it's a contest to see who has the most "junk dirt" at the end of the day. And Debbie, I have three bikini topped college aged daughters who love to shop Warrenton. LOL


    Carol Casey

  10. loved the advice, it was well stated, after weeks in the fields, some one offering to take it off my hands could be dangerous, I move more funiture than some moving companies, I use moving stuff around for my exercise program, no osteoporosis to be treated here.Also look where you are walking in grassy areas.

  11. Lulu my girl, you are my type of shopper! Gee Ms. T, you didn't know you were going to get these type of comments when you did this post, did ya? Tn'T

  12. Hope you have tons of fun! I always enjoy your pictures. ~Mandy

  13. Don't you just love all the advise given over the years through the magazines about "negotiating for you treasure"? As a fellow "show"-er (shop owner), I for one am not especially fond of it. This antiqueing business is hard and costly enough without everyone asking for a deal. I love those buyers that pay FULL price!!!!

  14. Thanks for posting this, I'm bringing a friend for her first visit and you just can't have too much info. I must say that when it's really really hot I am thankful for my flipflops, and they make it thru the pastures just fine. Of course I do have filthy "country feet" at the end of the day :)
    See you at the blog party!

  15. AHHHH!!!! Your killing me....what a thrill it would be to tag along with you!!!!

  16. I love ya'lls ideas, keep them comin. Good thing we do have a nurse available in Bar W if anything happens, hint that would be Renee!

  17. Find some good stuff for those of us who can't make it to RT, and put it in your blog store, pretty please! I gotta start planning for a fall trip!

  18. I'm saving all your tips for when I come in the fall, Theresa. That's right, I'm coming in the fall, if it kills me (I'm just not a good saver, but I'm going to have to if I wanna come...).

  19. I so love your site, I'd like to put you on my favorites...

    Happiest Spring!
    Garden Party

  20. Hello Sweet Texas T:)

    Curious Sofa Deb and I are flying down next Saturday to see you and all our Texas friends:) Can't wait!!!!



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