The car boot rookie

Now that I no longer have a city salary I need to be a little less frivolous, if only to keep myself in Bobby Brown eye cream. I will continue to support my local charity shops with donations and purchases but as I clear our house of unwanted goods my first thought should be whether I can sell them. Following the success at the auction I decided to give a car boot a go this morning. I spent Saturday rounding up as much random paraphernalia as I could. Nothing was ruled out. I then packed it all in the car on Saturday night to save time on Sunday morning. The gates of my local car boot opens to stall holders at 6am so I wanted to get their early to get a good pitch. Mr W kindly offered to come with me to set up, so at 5.30am this morning we both dragged ourselves out of bed and set off. It was a bit of a free for all when I got there but I managed to secure a pitch right in the centre of the action. The venue hosts livestock auctions during the week so thankfully its covered, as we had howling wind and rain all day. This at least brought us a lot of customers who had nothing better to do on a wet Sunday morning.

I thought I was prepared, but I was a naive rookie. This is what I learned….

  1. Dress like a true Brit, i.e. layers. Better to strip than shiver. Mr W had to leave me his coat.
  2. Take a decorating table and/or pack your things in boxes which you can then use as tables. I at least got this right.
  3. Take change, carrier bags, bubble wrap, paper, pens and sellotape. It might be a car boot but car booters expect the same service they’d get at John Lewis.
  4. Take a chair. Do not forget the chair. Remember a chair. God I wish I’d taken a chair.
  5. Know the measurements, sizes, functionality, origin, history and future potential of every product. Car booters ask a lot of questions.
  6. Always quote a higher price than you want. Car booters always make a counter offer.
  7. Smile at all the passers buy and invite conversation as this will encourage them to stop and look at your goods. Though in Cumbria this does have its risks as the Cumbrians are a chatty bunch and you could easily miss a sale shooting the breeze with some old dear about the weather.
  8. Make friends with your neighbours so they will watch your pitch when you need the loo, lend you pen and paper which you forgot to bring, and let you sit on their chair…..

Favourite comment of the day; Customer – ooh that’s lovely bedding. Me – its £10 for the set. Customer – oh no I don’t buy bedding. Me – (in my head) so why are you looking at it then!

I also loved the banter with the guy that came back to collect the fan that his wife had paid for earlier. I insisted he describe her in case he was just stealing my fan. I quote, “short with dark hair and a bit of a big lass, actually a lot of a big lass”. He then made me promise I wouldn’t tell her what he’d said if she came back. To be fair to him the girl had curves.

The result – £106 net after the £8 fee for the pitch which will keep me in Bobby Brown eye cream for the rest of the year. Macklemore was right (in the song Thrift Shop). One man’s trash is another man’s come-up, and if you’ve got goods to clear when you’re updating your home you should give it a shot. You will always sell something.

So despite the cold and the backache from standing it was a lot of fun. As a teenager I used to work on a market stall at weekends and always loved the banter and the bartering. I had a few things left at the end which will now go to charity. I’m not ready to make this a weekly event…..


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