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Swap meet etiquette for a first timer

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by inkmunky, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. spooler41
    Joined: Feb 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,099

    spooler41
    Member

    I've usually gotten my best buys on Sunday afternoons, A number of years ago I was
    looking for a set of headlights for a "T" roadster project and spotted a set of '33 Chev.
    10" headlights that were perfect ,good chrome ,like new lens's ,clean and bright reflectors.
    I've seen stuff like this go for $175 to $250 per pair. I was almost afraid to ask what he wanted
    for them, I then asked and his reply was "Well don't want to take them home again,make me
    an offer".I certainly didn't anywhere near $200 on me, so I asked what he needed to get out
    of them because I didn't have any idea of where to start. Then again he said he really didn't want to pack them up and haul them home again,, then he turned to me and said "how about $40.00 bucks.
    I'm sure there was the smell of burning leather in the air as my wallet came out of my pocket,
    anyway I made the deal, paid the man and was on my way to a roadster project, by the way
    the head lights are still in the box after almost 10 years. At least I still working on it.

    ...........................Jack
     
  2. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    Ruthless! No Prisoners! Repell all boarders!! Thems that dies will be the lucky ones!:p

    Seriously. Make a shopping list and at least TRY to stick to it. Dont dilly-dally, move fast. You will probably be pressed for time at the end. If you see something you really want/need, dont "come back later", especially if its rare.

    You do have more bargaining power close to closing. Unfortunately, that ultra rare double throw-down ramafratstat you have been seeking for 3 years has already been bought by some guy like me, who was waiting outside when the gate opened on the first day. Unless another vendor bought it before the swap even opened...
     
  3. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    Another thing. If the price is REALLY right, I dont even bargain. Earlier this year, I bought a Vortec air gap rpm guy was asking $80. I just handed the money over.
     
    Bubba1955 likes this.
  4. Big_John
    Joined: Mar 28, 2006
    Posts: 327

    Big_John
    Member
    from Upstate NY

    I was at a big swap meet and needed a green arm rest for an OT car. I looked all over and finally found one. I had just walked over to my car on the show field and grabbed a cold barley pop out of the cooler and hadn't even opened it yet. There was a bucket of arm rests and there was a perfect one in green. The price said $5, a little high (30 years ago) and I offered $3. The guy said "nope.. been selling those all day for $5 and that's the price". I thought for a second... it was a hot day and he noticed the beer in my hand. I said "$3 and this cold beer".

    I had the arm rest.
     
    Bubba1955 likes this.
  5. Zerk
    Joined: May 26, 2005
    Posts: 1,419

    Zerk
    Member

    This may be an old thread, but it's really about people, not cars and parts.
    And people don't change.
     
    Bubba1955 likes this.
  6. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 4,080

    Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Member

    As a buyer, I go EARLY or don't go. If I get up at 3:00AM I figure I'll stand much less chance of seeing the part I'm desperately looking for in someones wagon. You'll be there with guys like yourself, dealers from other spaces looking to flip parts that day and self titled "pro" flippers looking to buy most anything they can flip on ebay. You'll be able to pay more than the flippers so your true competition is a fellow hobbyist. I first make a 90 MPH Highway Trooper type fly through as folks are unloading, then go back again slower and more diligently starting in the "garage sale" type aisles away from canopy dealers.

    Buying tips;
    Bring a shopping list, small pocket tape measure for measuring wheel sizes and bolt patterns, etc. I also bring one of those paper wheel bolt pattern guides.
    Swap meet Golden Rule: pick up the part prior to negotiating price. Once you place the part back on the ground it's fair game.
    If you see or buy only a couple of parts for your project, ask the seller what else he has for the car. For example, if he only has a set of headlights for a 34 Ford, I ask if he has any other 34 stuff (at home).
    Big sheetmetal and heavy items can be easier to negotiate down as they're a bitch to load up and take space at home.
    Early in the day, don't stop and waste precious time to bullshit with friends or browse at the back issue magazine, hardware or sandpaper guys stand. Grab that stuff on your way out and stop to BS with friends in their sellers space later.

    Seller peeves;
    Parts with no prices.
    Sellers that won't give you a price ("make an offer"). I tell them "I can't sell it and buy it".
    Sellers that put out all their stuff w/o prices then go shopping w/o their cell and leave the Wife there w/o a clue.
    Sellers that say "those are $500 new" or "those sell for $500 on ebay" . I always tell them "since it's not new and not ebay, how much would you take for it".
     
    Bubba1955 likes this.
  7. Ever had a jerk haggle with you until you accept his best offer then he backs out? Now, if someone asks if I'll take XXX dollars, I ask "are you offering me XXX dollars?
    My other pet peeve is the guy that tells you your part is worth twice what you're asking, but doesn't buy it.
     
    pat59 likes this.
  8. just like in a strip club...!!!!
     
  9. Ulu
    Joined: Feb 26, 2014
    Posts: 1,756

    Ulu
    Member
    from CenCal

    I can't believe I read this entire thread. I should be out sanding, but it was too much fun to see everyone's experiences in the swap meet game.

    I used to go frequently 30 years ago, but haven't been to more than 2 since.

    Buying or selling, the one thing I always tried to do was to smile, be cheerful, and maintain a friendly non-confrontational stance. As soon as you get a chip on your shoulder or get grumpy about something, other people get their hackles up, and it becomes so much harder to do business.

    Some folks I just can't deal with, however, no matter how much I might want to deal with them from an economic perspective. People who are abrasive, rude, drunk, etc usually get ignored. I certainly don't dicker with them.

    I always hated when people tried to buy stuff off my trailer while I was waiting in the entrance line. I sure didn't want to unload stuff there. Only once in a blue moon did the early birds offer me anything like what I was expecting anyhow.

    People often have funny ideas about what something is worth. Trying to disabuse them of such ideas is typically fruitless. I will haggle but I don't try to "run down" someone's goods. If I want it I just smile and make an offer.

    I want to do business with people I like. I want to make reasonable deals & I'm not out to steal things from the unwary or undeserving. Hammering some guy down in a bloodthirsty negotiation just isn't my style. Neither is selling to folks whom I dislike because they are rude or abusive.
     
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  10. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,778

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    next time I sell I'm going to not put prices on anything and tell everybody to make me an offer just to watch the buyers reactions.
     
    falcongeorge likes this.
  11. studebaker eric
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 1,514

    studebaker eric
    Member
    from Diablo Ca.

    It isn't 1984 anymore. You don't have to offer asking price, but don't offer 1984 prices either. Go for the deal, but be realistic. If you have been looking for something for a long time, and you find it- buy it. Seriously, even if its a little more, how much will you spend over time, trying to save 20 bucks on a part you may never find. Don't be an ass. The sellers have been dealing with asses all day,and don't need or want to deal with another jackoff
     
    Bubba1955 likes this.
  12. Bubba1955
    Joined: Jul 8, 2013
    Posts: 463

    Bubba1955
    Member

    I can tell you from personal experience, if you find something you really need and they're just a little ways off from the price you'd like to pay, don't think : "I'll just walk around and think about it...maybe come back."....It'll be gone for sure and most of the time you won't find another or if you do it'll be twice the price. I've dislocated my hip several times by kicking myself in the ass.
     
    falcongeorge likes this.
  13. Bubba1955
    Joined: Jul 8, 2013
    Posts: 463

    Bubba1955
    Member


    Ah...A cold beer on a hot day. The ultimate bargaining chip. LOL Briliant!!
     
  14. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    I normally carry a pair of Vernier calipers (hey, are these headers 1 5/8 primaries or 1 3/4?? Is this crank std??o_O ) and a small tape measure.
     
    Bubba1955 likes this.
  15. spooler41
    Joined: Feb 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,099

    spooler41
    Member

    Bubba, I'm with you,sounds like we 've been down the same roads more than
    one time. If you see something you need ,don't wait or chances are it will slip away.

    ..........................Jack
     
  16. I always wear a sign on my front and back that says, "1931 Dodge parts wanted". You would not believe how many leads I have gotten by doing that. I always hear people say, "Look at that guy with the sign. That's a great idea." I never see anyone else doing that.
     
  17. A few things that have always worked for me...
    Stay positive when haggling... Never mud sling against the part or the display. A seller will never drop his price if you start cutting down what he's selling.

    A tip straight from those picker shows - Buy something at full price to establish good will, haggle on the next bunch...

    Make a pile and make an offer. If the vendor has a bunch of stuff you need then pile it up and try for a better price

    If you cannot come to an agreement or the seller is pissing you off, say thank you and move along. Don't waste your time (or theirs)

    If you need it - buy it !
     
  18. oldpl8s
    Joined: Apr 11, 2007
    Posts: 1,381

    oldpl8s
    Member

    As a seller I always take a pad and list the item and price sold so I can see how much I made. When I get home I take a photo of the list and store in in a "sales" folder on my PC. I've saved many hours searching for an item that I looked up on my PC and seen that I had sold it 2 swap meets ago. Always bring, tape, felt pens, scissors, bunge cords etc. I keep these in a box I grad and throw in the truck each time. As a buyer, take of picture of the seller booth and surrounding spots with your cell phone so you can find it later.
     
  19. Ulu
    Joined: Feb 26, 2014
    Posts: 1,756

    Ulu
    Member
    from CenCal

    LOL this is priceless. :D
     
  20. I was set up at Canfield one year and, I had a vendor in the same row as me trying to buy something from me all day long. He came to my table 4 times throughout the day...All 4 times he changed his clothes and changed his hat. He thought he was slick shit. I called him out on it the 4th time. I decided after the 4th time, I would sell him the part so he could take it down to his table and, try to sell it for 5 dollars more than what he bought it off of me for. My dad and, I laughed for hours that weekend.


    Dustin
     

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