Trash Finds, Flea Markets, & Customer Service

(Normal flea market stuff – just a small sample of what we had. I really have to remember to take pictures BEFORE things get going)

We participated in our first flea market as a ‘vendor’.  Despite the soaring 100° heat, it was fun, exhausting, a lot of work, but kind of rewarding.  I like flea markets as a consumer, especially as a trash picking consumer (see previous posts about trash picking the flea market here: We were told there is usually three times the amount of people that were there, but due to the heat, the crowd was a little smaller than usual.  There was still a pretty good turnout, we found a few cool items for ourselves, unloaded a bunch of stuff (had three truckloads when we arrived; one when we left), and took home a little cash – I’d say that’s a score all around!  We even did better than the vendors around us who have sold at this flea market for the past few years.  After seeing their customer service skills (or lack of), I can see why…

Whenever I have a chance to participate in an event where the success is dependent on ‘engaging the customer’, I’m always amazed how some people don’t have basic customer service skills.   Maybe it’s my years of working retail, but regardless, it seems pretty basic to me.  For instance, when I do an event where people are walking from vendor to vendor, I don’t bring a chair (I have an emergency camp chair in the car if needed).  The simple reason I don’t bring a chair is that if I’m sitting, I’m not interacting with the customer the way I should.  The booth next to us (which included an antique dealer) at the flea market had at least six people there, all sitting, & there were a few times I saw customers looking at stuff; trying to get someone’s attention for more info; not getting it in a reasonable amount of time; and just move to the next vendor (often us!).  A friend stopped by & the first thing she noticed was we didn’t bring any chairs.  When I talked to her after the flea market, she pointed out that we were always busy & were selling a lot more than everyone else around us.  Sure, not everyone can stand & move around for hours on end, but even a simple, ‘hi’, to someone looking at your stuff would suffice.

How about you?  What’s your experience at a flea market or yard sale with customer service, either as a buyer or seller?

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