And so we went to this blessed car-boot sale I’ve been preparing for, for days. You see, participating in a car-boot sale entails time-consuming preparations. You first have to decide what to take. That alone took me the longest, as I was still adding to the selling pile up until the last minute. There were my clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, C’s clothes, A’s clothes and other miscelleanous things. I came to England with two luggages and somehow ended up with a hundred times more things. Desperate times called for desperate measures you see.
Then comes the filtering. After deciding what to sell, I had to check to see whether they contained any tears, stains, or anything else that would render them ‘unsaleable’. The latter pile was discarded with because I had no idea why they were still there really. I mean what sense was there in keeping my maternity jeans which had a small tear near the knee area? Or a once-favourite white top, which hasn’t been white in years really? I finally got rid of what was nothing short of rubbish really.
I then went about cleaning the remaining clothes. I ironed the shirts and set about neatly folding the clothes (I can now say, more fool me!!)
Then the interesting pat came – the pricing. You can’t price them high because it is a car-booth sale after all and people are not going to be willing to pay more than the very least. And at the same time, some pieces of clothing held so much memories for me that I did not want to give them away cheaply. Eventually the pricing was sorted out, the clothes were packed, and we were set to go.
The day started early for us – at 6am since by 7am all sellers had to be set and ready to go. It is not the best time to wake up on a Sunday morning. More less so with a baby in tow. C, as always, was a trooper. She did not even make a sound when I woke her up and took her out of her crib. The car was packed to its’ limit, and we set off to the selling grounds.
By the time we arrived, the majority of all sellers were already set up and selling. We found an empty parking bay, opened up our table and set about working on our ‘display’. The buyers came immediately, inspecting what you’re selling and for how much, and getting what grabs their fancy – always playing the haggling game.
As the time progressed, it was more about getting rid of as many things as we could, rather than keeping up our prices and holding on to things because the last thing we wanted was to take the stuff back with us home. So in the last hour, we lowered our prices and even then the haggling continued. I understand it’s part of the game, but really, is £1 really an exaggerated price to pay for a brand-new, still with tags on, Asos skirt? Or a pair of boots? I admit I didn’t budge lower from the £1 price, because I did not think that I had to really.
So considering the time it took to get ready, the time we woke up, the 5 hours we spent there, the fee you have to pay for taking part and the fact that we sold around a half of our stuff, would I do it again?
- First of all the buyers were not what I thought they would be. I expected (perhaps stupidely) that the usual people I met where we live and the City Centre would be the people who attended these events. Yesterday we calculated that 75% of the buyers there were foreign. But it wasn’t that which bothered me – it was their attitude. Most of the buyers came wearing a mish-mash of clothing, with a number of children in tow, carrying everything from fans to shiatsu massagers in their hands, smoking, roughly asking ‘how much’ without looking you in the face, and leaving the display in one big mess and with clothes on the floor. Please don’t misunderstand me. I have nothing against such people as a race or country, but thery were quite unbearable. There were no ‘hello’s’, ‘thank you’ or ‘goodbye’. All I got was grunts, nods or smirks. I’m a sucker for manners. Real or exaggerated, I prefer the overly-polite English rather than the cold treatment I got today. So let’s just say that I will not miss not seeing such people again.
- The haggling going on was unreal. Haggling down from a £5 price is totally understandable, but from £1? How low can you go? Many times, out of spite really, I was changing prices if I didn’t particularly like the person. Some times it worked, other times it didn’t.
- Some of the buyers were, to put it politely, not particularly keen on hygiene. Imagine such a person removing her shoes to try on your shoes. We were praying she’d take them, and fortunately she did because there was no way I was touching them after that.
- And finally, I was so disappointed that I only sold one book. Yes, just one! When I went to a car-boot sale in Gozo, I had only taken books and was really surprised how quickly they sold. I was convinced I’d sell them here in England. But then again, I didn’t know the ‘clientele’.
By 11.30 we had had enough, packed everything up and drove to our local Cancer Research UK shop and deposited all that was left there. And I have to say that that 2-minute act gave me much more satisfaction than the nearly five hours I spent at the sale. My aim all along was to get rid of things which had somehow gathered out of my control this past year and a half. And managing to do that whilst helping others was the easiest and best thing to do.
I’ve definitely learnt what to do next time here in England!
So I will go to another car-boot sale here in England? Definitely no. There are some good, hard-working charities out there that can benefit from my unwanted goods. I’m not ruling out attending another one in Gozo though, mainly to sell the rest of my books which did not sell first time round. Plus, surprisingly enough, the manner level in Gozo was a hundred-fold higher than that here. And it was more fun. Maybe because the majority of people buying there were polite, retired English people, who spared a minute or two for innocent chit-chat.