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{21/04/2012}   Boot fairs

Has anyone I know sold things at a boot fair?  I have been to one boot fair in the name of research for a future boot fair selling day.  It was not a pleasant experience, though in part I probably chose the location badly.
I went to the one at the Flamingo Park on the A20 around Sidcup.  The odds are that anyone who’s ever driven from Kent into London on the M20-A20 has at some point been stuck in a horrendous traffic jam at boot fair rush hour because of that place.  To save on the parking fee, people park on the verge along the A20.  That’s never going to be pretty.  As for the boot fair – I will choose my words carefully – it was full of … well, Chris and I didn’t fit in, put it that way.  It did occur to me that my shiny gold, slightly sporty BMW (albeit 11 years old) would not be a great car from which to sell from.  I longed for my K-reg 1992 Golf!  We arrived at least two hours after it started, it appeared that more people were leaving than arriving.  And those leaving were laden, and in most cases I am not exaggerating, with … I don’t know what, stuff.
In short, though acknowledging that sales of anything decent had occurred hours before we arrived, it was full of, well, crap.  It was apparent that lots of sellers were regulars.  I also wonder how people can have tables piled high with brand new stuff, ie more than one box of the same thing, ahem!  I found it an unexpectedly intimidating environment, despite it being a sunny day with a slight holiday feel to it.  I very much got the impression that a lot, maybe even most, of the people buying were Eastern European farm workers using the boot fair as their local shopping centre, which wasn’t at my issue with that particular boot fair; it was more the over-familiarity between sellers and their almost professional trading techniques.  I was expecting people like me who go there every now and then to get rid of excess stuff.  I realised that boot fairs are the new jumble sales and one of the few places where you can pick up cheap stuff, not that everything did seem as cheap as it should’ve been.
I read a bit about selling at boot fairs, it actually put me off a bit.  The general consensus was that you have to arrive early (one near me starts at 7am Saturdays and Sundays and that seems about normal).  There are so many warnings about when you first open your boot as that’s when most thefts occur.  You are advised to always have someone with you to keep an eye out when you’re off to the loo or buying burgers or hot dogs.  You need a trestle table, ideally prices written somewhere, lots of change, some bags … it starts getting more complicated.  But it would appear to be an arena for selling things you never thought anyone else would want.
Within the next five months, I intend to fill my boot and get rid of stuff.  I got put off ebay after something I sent apparently never arrived plus I don’t like the ebay process.  Bring on the boot fairs.  But not the Flamingo Park one, I would have “novice” written all over me!

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