The Brooklyn Flea Market at Fort Greene is full of curios and hidden treasures curated by a heterogeneous band of impassioned vendors. You can, and should, get money off the asking price but you’ll have to muster up the courage and convince the person working the table you’re worthy of a bargain. Ying Ying Li made a beautiful video interviewing both the sellers and buyers in this bazaar to glean some tips:
First off, know that the vendors figure that you’re going to haggle. Ergo they add in a “haggle factor” to the price already. If you’re not negotiating down off at least that, you’re overpaying. So buck up!
Part of the gameplan is ingratiating yourself with the vendor. Jumping into a pricewar right away is a good way to tick the vendor off. If you can convince them that you’re part of the cognoscenti and that you’re cool and chill, they’re more willing to relax on the price. Ask questions about the item. What is its provenance? What materials went into it? Who made it? Appear interested, but not too interested and you can start greasing the deal-making.
When it comes to the money, there’s different strategies. Some veteran shoppers say they start at half off and work upwards. Some vendors say that 20-25% off is reasonable, but over that you’re going to offend them.
Another word about prickly vendors: if you ask them “what’s your best price” and then you keep haggling after that, some of them find that offensive. They gave you their best price in good faith and then you keep trying to chisel them. It may be just business but part of this business is following flea market etiquette. Learn it and work it, or get locked out of a good price. That’s just business.
What are your flea market strategies? Sound off in the comments.