We left our house at 5:00 in the morning to be sure to get down to Pasadena and get the good parking ahead of the crowds. I knew I wanted to pay the extra entrance fee to enter at 7:00 instead of waiting for the general public fee of $8 at 9:00 in the morning. The entrance fees per person go like this:
Before 7:00 a.m. = $20
7:00-8:00 a.m. = $15
8:00-9:00 a.m. = $10
9:00 a.m. and later = $8
I find that before 7:00 most vendors have not finished setting up, so it is generally not worth the extra $5. In fact I overheard a lady complaining about it to her companion that she felt ripped off when so many vendors had not even begun to display their wares.
Even at 7:00 there are still people arriving but the majority of the vendors are ready to deal.
We knew we wanted to be in and out.
Make a quick trip of it.
Here are a few tips:
1. Arrive early and then leave early to beat the crowds.
2. Haggle. Haggle. Haggle. I never pay asking price. It is the name of the game. It is a friendly conversation. They expect it. You should do it. It is fun. The end.
Wait. I spoke too soon:
Funny thing about that. We were leaving and these two hipster chicks were carrying the most amazing leather chairs to their Range Rover. I knew how much those chairs were worth because Emily Henderson has a pair. And Anthropologie has recreated them and sells them for almost $2500 each. So, I had to ask.
“How much did you pay for those?” I rudely quipped.
“$700 for the both of them,” one of the girls replied. I wanted to bite something in my jealousy.
“That is a fantastic price!” I told them.
“You think so? He wanted $1500 for both but I threw out $700 and he agreed really quickly… Almost too quickly.”
Ha! That happens every time. You always wonder if maybe you could have done better. Either way those girls scored. So be prepared with your offer and know what something is worth.
3. Bring a cart. We used to lug around a beach cart, but now we have a handy dandy cart that we purchased for $20 last year at the flea market. They rent them for $15 at the entrance but some booths near the back (of course) also sell them.
4. Read Emily Henderson’s Flea Market Tips. It is handy. I do not think you need a notebook because most of us have cellphones that we can just write the booth’s info down into.
5. Do not hesitate. We lost out on the coolest storage end tables because we decided to walk around and think on it. We did end up getting their smaller cousin for a great price ($20) and he worked out perfectly where we needed him (pictures in a future post). But they were something my husband really wanted, so that was a bummer.
Things are one of a kind so they sell quickly and early.
6. Pay for parking. VIP Parking is $15 for the upfront parking. It is a Godsend. You will be doing a tremendous amount of walking. Why walk more after a long day? This is especially true if you are buying large pieces. This is not a store and you are required to get your items to the car yourselves. It is worth it.
Okay, enough! Let’s get into the flea market all ready!
I waited in line until exactly 7:00. And I do mean exactly. The windows do not open even one second early.
I made my first purchase of these cool vintage carpet remnants that I am currently sewing together and finagling into a giant pillow.
We always forget to take pictures of the beautiful things and usually take pictures of only the weird ones. Sorry about that!
I guess from these pictures you can tell we are drawn to the wacky and strange.
As evidenced with the boar head above.
I did manage to take a picture of the coolest vintage foosball table that had immediately sold. Isn’t it amazing?
An anchor. Yes, an anchor?! For $600. I cannot imagine where you would put this, well, unless you are super practical and bought it for your boat. But if you have a boat that needed an anchor how is your boat remaining in place?
This poses the question:
Which came first the anchor or the boat?
It was too much pondering for my wee brain at the crack of dawn. It weighed it down, so to speak.
This has nothing to do with the picture above, but every single time I am at the flea market I see this lady selling a cool vintage cast iron garden bee. I love it. It has been there for three years.
It is overpriced.
She will not haggle.
It is extremely strange. And I do not understand how she can go to the flea market if she is too attached to her things to actually part with them.
This time she had a small garden gnome (I did not get a picture of her booth) and I asked how much he was. He was not anything special. Just a gnome.
She said, “Oh, you mean the magical rainbow leprechaun who grants wishes?”
“He’s $25… $125.”
We walked away. ‘Cause no.
But now I wonder if she truly is a witch and selling magical cast iron creations. It would surely explain the prices.
We had not gone to the flea market for anything particular. We didn’t need anything.
Which is why we bought everything.
As it goes.
The only thing we needed was a stop sign for my son’s room because he wants one every time he goes to the flea market and his birthday is coming up, so I figured it would be a good surprise for him.
And it would have worked because I found a cool weathered Stop Sign for $15 (priced at $25, but haggling is the best part). Except the sneaker saw me editing this picture and said excitedly, “So you did find a Stop Sign?”
Do not let me handle a surprise for you.
We found the cool ottoman coffee table. I love it. It is made from vintage crates and the fabric is a vintage Czech army blanket. This booth is always my favorite. The owners are constantly one step ahead of their competitors and one step ahead in terms of trends. The ottoman was a fabulous price and we are so happy with it.
I got this. I will showcase more of it later. It is just a sneak peek. I cannot tell if it was a good purchase or not, but either way, I had to have it.
So, we got into the flea market at 7:00 and we left the flea market at 8:50. I thought maybe I should meet some people down there, but we wanted to be quick. It was the perfect amount of time for us. We were in and out and home with the kids for lunch. We beat the heat. And most importantly, we beat the crowds.
Have you been to the flea market lately? Have you been to The Rose Bowl Flea Market (last year’s trip can be found here)? What do you look for when you go?
*The next Rose Bowl Flea Market occurs this Sunday, on August 10th.
P.S. I shared this on Savvy Southern Style.