Since the Fall season is right around the corner, and treasures are just waiting to be discovered at local flea markets; I’m going to share with you five tips to avoid purchasing-Flea Market Ripoffs.
1. When pondering whether to purchase fine, gemstone jewelry at a flea market, always ask the vendor, “Is the gemstone authentic, or genuine?”
Genuine means “real” and everything on this planet has substance and is real. Authentic means “natural” not synthetically created or imitation. (I learned this from a turquoise stone, jewelry expert.)
2. Do your research on vintage pottery, china, and porcelain hallmarks.
When I first started attending flea markets, I found- what appeared to be- an authentic antique ‘Flow Blue’ earthenware soup tureen. I’d been told by the vendor that it had been her grandmother’s, and why should I question this…right? Once I arrived home, I set out to identify the maker’s stamp found on the bottom of the piece and was disappointed to find out it was a newer reproduction piece, which had been stamped with a faux hallmark.
3. NEVER research an item’s value on your cell phone- in front of a vendor who is selling an unmarked item.
The vendor may or may not know the actual value of the object in question, so he has left the piece unmarked hoping to strike up a deal with a potential buyer. Once you’ve researched the item online, the decision has been made to immediately offer a low price for it. This may send a flag to the vendor that perhaps the item, could be…quite valuable; hence they may decide not to sell it, or place a higher price on it. Instead, view what the vendor has for sale; walk away, investigate the object’s value, then return and ask what the vendor’s best price would be for the item. This newly discovered treasure will be less obvious.
4. Avoid skincare SPA vendors who just happened to have a sample of a miraculous wrinkle reducer creme/lotion and they’d like to illustrate how remarkable the product works on your skin.
Those free sample ‘quick fix’ flea market facial treatments were created to ‘wow’ targeted aging female patrons with their immediate results. Once you’ve decided to purchase one miraculous product, they’ll try to up-sell more from that particular product line.
Unfortunately, as I discovered, (yes, I was a victim) those costly products you’ve just purchased, won’t give you the same immediate results as that free-miracle application. Maybe, after numerous applications, you’ll see some minor results, but in order to achieve this…you’ll have to purchase more of the product.
5. Think twice before buying used/vintage televisions, DVD and VHS players; computer components; stereo equipment, amplifiers and other electronics UNLESS, verified to be in adequate working condition.
Purchasing flawed vintage electronics can result in costly repairs, not-to-mention, who can find a person to repair them anymore? Always ask if the vendor has an electrical cord handy that they can plug the item into to make sure its functioning properly.
A good rule of thumb to remember when you decide to go on “Junk Jaunts,” or flea market treasure hunting: “If the price is too good to be true…it is!”