The vintage and antique dealer business is usually very friendly. We see a lot of the same people over and over at estate sales, flea markets, and antique malls. Over time, we get to know the kind of things each of us “goes” for, how much we tend to spend, etc. We point out things that might interest another vendor, and try to help each other out. But every once in a while, like last Thursday, the business gets ugly.
We waited outside a local estate sale last week, talking to our friends about the items we were interested in (most estate sales post pictures online at www.EstateSales.net). We all agreed that an old wooden card catalog looked great, and would probably be easy to resell. I was one of the first people in the door, saw the file cabinet, and immediately removed the price tag. In estate sale “etiquette”, removing the price tag means you get to buy it. Just as I removed the tag, a woman ran up to me screaming that the file cabinet had been promised to her the night before by the people who ran the sale. She tried to grab the tag from me, but I wouldn’t give it to her, assuming that they would not still have a price tag on it if it was promised to someone. Finally, the sellers appeared and told me they would sell it to me. Naively, I thought I had won the battle…
As we stood in line to check out a while later, one of the women running the sale asked for the price tag for the file cabinet. I figured she was holding it for me up front. When we got to the head of the line, I asked her to add the file cabinet to my order. “But it has already been sold!” she said. Turns out the woman I argued with had told the sellers that she and I came to an agreement and I said she could have the file cabinet. She even got them to find me and get the tag from me! Right under our noses, she paid for it, loaded it in her van, and drove off! Had I just lost the war?
Needless to say, we were very upset. Once we explained the situation, the women running the event were very upset and apologetic. And over the next couple of days we found out that “this woman” has done this to many other people. So the lessons learned were:
– Keep a close eye on items you plan to purchase – sit on them if you have to
– Make sure the person actually ringing up the sale knows what items are yours
– Remove drawers or other parts from the item to make it “imcomplete” and carry them around with you
But all was not lost – we still managed to win and pick up quite a few treasures for our shops (and for show at Luckett’s Spring Market coming up May 18th and 19th).
A church birdhouse-
That is a smaller companion to our larger church birdhouse-
Two colorful enamel crocks, an antique toaster, and cast iron boot remover-
A beautifully distressed wooden tray and a rug beater-
A big old tobacco basket-
A HUGE oar (already hanging at Glory Days in Newburgh, MD) –
And this beautiful long church pew (wouldn’t it look great with a striped grainsack cushion?)-
So check out these cool treasures, and many more at our booths at Eclectic Nature in Del Ray, VA, and Glory Days in Newburg, MD – as well as Luckett’s Market – hope to see you there!