Hazel Ettienne: Boot is packed for an early start at the sale.
IT’S car boot season again! Oh the joy of it. Last summer I became well and truly hooked and as you are hopefully reading this column, enthralled by snappy writing style and offbeat humour, I will be trawling the Ettienne household for items to sell tomorrow (Sunday).
Husband and teenagers beware.
It became a bit of standing joke in our household last summer that anything that wasn’t nailed or glued down, when I was pacing the house with stackable plastic box in hand, could be removed and sold at the first available opportunity.
According to Wikipedia car boot/trunk sales or boot/trunk fairs are a mainly British form of market in which private individuals come together to sell household and garden goods.
The goods on sale are often used but no longer wanted personal possessions that previously might have been thrown away. Car boot sales generally take place within the summer months are very popular in parts of Australia, and have a growing presence in Europe.
Myself and friend Karen spent several happy and early Sunday mornings in the back of her husband’s van loading and unloading the unwanted contents of our home and displaying them on pasting boards in a large field at a popular Huddersfield car book venue.
Early starts, thankfully do not worry me. Getting up at 4am to be on the road by 5am (a girl still needs a bit of lipstick for the customers) and join the queue became a regular routine. But even at that time in the morning you still need your wits about you with customers “helping” to unload and chose items before you’ve even unpacked.
Bargaining is another key skill you need as a buyer or a seller. Reasonable offers are usually accepted by car booters. They don’t really want to take home anything they have brought. But even I must admit to gritting my teeth last year when a particularly tight-fisted customer offered me 5p for something I had offered for 10p. You can buy and sell practically anything at car boot sales, even a broken toilet seat. Clothes, curtains, bedding, it all goes.
And in my mind if you sell something for a pound which is being unused in your own home. Your quids in. I had a target last year for a new household item that was needed and achieved my goal in three weeks. Fabulous. You can also enjoy some good hearted banter with your customers and fellow booters.
One gentleman visited our stall several times to try on a suit, which we knew would never fit, but he seemed to enjoy the friendly chat anyway.
We also had regulars and bargain hunters who knew we some good stuff on our stalls.
If asked for advice for a successful day I would say a well filled flask, ample lunchbox, brimming float (change) and plenty of plastic bags for packing and packaging. I should add that as a car booter I am not denying business from the charity shops, which I also love. Last year on the last event of the “season” the remaining contents of the van were taken to a charity shop of our choice and were available for sale the following day.
To coin a phrase, make sure you “keep your eyes peeled,” when you car boot or visit charity shops or table top sales. As well as bargains to be had there may also be valuables like the unwanted brooch which was almost sold off for £10 but raised £36,000 at auction after being snapped up by a private collector.
One man or woman’s trash is always another’s treasure. Happy searching. I’ll see you on Sunday!