This past weekend we visited the Long Beach Antique Flea Market. I picked some awesome pieces for the house and we got in a really good amount of walking and sweating. Overall it was a really fun experience, but I couldn't help noticing some snippy remarks coming from venders. It kinda soured the mood for a few minutes and made me wonder, "What is Flea Market Etiquette?"
My friend spotted a WONDERFUL framed Owl needlepoint that she thought I would love. I totally did! I asked the vendor about the price. He replied with $35. I repeated the number and stared at the piece. Knowing I had to have it I looked him in the eye, opened my mouth and HE said "I can go as low as $25." I said, "DEAL". At the same time, my friend was being shown an awesome Chevron print blanket. In talking, you could tell she wasn't sold on it. I, however, LOVED it. The vendor said $15, no other price. Nothing higher was ever communicated. I told my friend that I would take it if she didn't want it. She passed it off to me, I handed the vendor $40 and packed away my stuff with a big smile and a sincere "Thank you". He then said "yup, we're here to sell. Ya know." I didn't really think anything of it and walked away all excited. We stopped at a few more booths where I picked up some old lady knickknacks. Never once did I haggle for a lower price. I just paid the $3, $5 and $5, dropped down from $6 when I made a funny face, requested by some very lovely vendors.
On the way out, my friend picked up a little knickknack cabinet and asked the price. $15 replied the vendor. We all studied it and commented that it was really adorable. Before being able to offer a counter offer and ultimately deciding that she didn't want it, the vendor shouted at us "WE'RE HERE TO MAKE MONEY TOO!"... whaaaaa. Maybe it was the heat? Maybe the oxygen tank stapped to her face was running low? But I was sooo confused and responded with an "Awesome" as I walked away. Instantly I thought about the blanket vendor.
Had I just cheated him? What this lady feeling cheated? Were we in the wrong?
So... what is FM Etiquette? Do I just approach with money in hand and shell out whatever they are asking for? Do I not make serious eye-contact with any booth I'm not seriously considering patronizing? Should I have not swooped in on the blanket? Should I have said $30 to the $25 offer? I just don't know. I said "Thank you" to everyone I met and talked to, even if I didn't buy anything. I had a 5 min conversations with two ladies in a van about Halloween. We connected and shared stories for that moment in time. No biggie. But the rude vendors made me feel like I did something wrong.
Are there tips? I need to know. I plan to go back and I want to make sure I'm the best shopper ever. It's truly important to me to make sure I'm not offending anyone and to make sure I'm maximizing my experience.