Kicking the Boot
Posted by Richard
How much for the vase - 50p, £3,000,000?
I love a good bargain! Always have, ever since snapping up a shiny Corgi Starsky and Hutch Gran Torino for five packs of Hubba Bubba at primary school (he shoots, he scores!) Mud, on the other hand, I'm not so keen on. Or drizzle. I'm also of the firm belief that Sundays don't officially start until sometime after 10am(ish). Or later, preferably.
But those bargains? Yes; can't get enough of them. So the idea that I can snap up something on Preloved that's as good as new for a snip of what it originally cost makes me happier than the average Instagram shareholder.
And with thousands more items added every day, the deals keep coming round the corner faster than Sir Chris Hoy on a second hand cycle. For me, there's nothing better than sitting back in a comfy chair with the laptop, perhaps with a hot cuppa and a packet of Hob Nobs to hand, seeing what takes my eye. Or, if I'm out and about, browsing on the mobile site means I can crack on with my day without missing any of the latest deals.
It's the same with quickly selling off the stuff I no longer need. Snap a few pictures, write a quick description and wait for the enquiries to come in. It's quick, easy and I can do it anywhere (and there's still not a patch of mud in sight or a single spit of rain).
Which is why I fail to understand the enduring appeal of a peculiarly British weekend ritual beloved by both bargain hunters and sellers alike. While I, like millions of other sensible individuals, am enjoying the snug and deliciously smug reward of a well-deserved weekend lie-in, thousands of others are crawling out bleary-eyed from under duvets and shivering in the stark cold grey light of dawn. Grabbing whatever clothes come to hand, they fumble about for car keys and then drive off to some out-of-the-way muddy field or ex-airfield where an unforgiving wind blows in straight from Siberia.
Then, after finally getting to the front of the traffic queue to get in, these apparent gluttons for punishment wrestle with a trestle table and risk a hernia hefting heavy boxes onto its straining surface to set up 'shop'.
And they've made it! They have successfully staked their place (about 50 rows back, in between the burger van and a vast oily puddle) in a national pastime that has become an enshrined part of the weekend - the Car Boot Sale! Hurrah! Time to crack open the flask and celebrate with a cup of tepid tea and a bacon roll that's tougher than a Royal Marine's training.
Of course, I've had a go myself (who hasn't?). Stood about in the drizzle. Jumped up and down in an attempt to stave off hypothermia. Sipped cold coffee while being worn down by the masterful negotiation skills of some determined bloke trying to convince me that my old copies of GQ magazine are not worth anywhere near the 50p I'm asking and would I take 17p instead? ("Yes! Now *&*% off!") I've even had the odd item bought from me by some shifty looking geezer and seen it re-appear on his stall a few rows down with an increased asking price.
And, like everyone else, I've hung on to the dream that the tatty old vase I bought for a quid would eventually lead me to a slot on The Antiques Roadshow where I would stand, red-faced, as Fiona Bruce giddily gushed about how awfully clever I was and an expert said something about "Ming Dynasty... Early 14th Century… Lots of interest in the Asian market… Conservative estimate of £3 million." In reality, I'd spend my time rummaging through an endless array of things 'Made in China' that were unlikely to create much of a stir on the international market.
So, by the time I'd realised that the princely sum of £13.89 rattling around in my tin was to be my total takings, I'd drawn up my Top Ten list of good reasons why I'd be sticking to selling online in the future. That was once I'd gone another round wrestling that trestle table, loaded all the stuff back into the car, joined the traffic jam to get out, filled up with petrol on the way home, unpacked it all again at the other end….
It's FREE to sell - there's no pitch prices, fuel costs and hours spent hanging around
You can advertise your unwanted items 24/7, while you get on with doing the things you want to, like watching telly, cooking, going for a relaxing walk (to the pub), sleeping!
You don't need a car boot. Or a car. Or a highly rickety decorating table. Instead you get a professional looking advert with a good description and a selection of images or even video.
You can have all the space you need; rather than trying to pile everything high on a single pitch. And you can sell large items, like furniture, boats, cars and even houses (try getting those in your car boot!)
Rather than waiting for the car boot 'season' to start you can sell every day of the week, all year round
You don't get wet, cold, bored, stuck in a cramped camp chair reading the paper for the thirteenth time.
You can advertise your stuff to an audience of millions to ensure you get the best price and widest exposure. And you can also find a fantastic selection of things to buy!
You can arrange a time to meet potential buyers, rather than just surviving the scrummage with all your teeth intact once you open the boot of your car.
While your stuff is selling online, you can enjoy your free time, perhaps by taking a leisurely stroll around a local car boot sale (but only if the sun's shining and after your Sunday morning lie-in)
You don't have to get up at 6am on a Sunday morning
You don't have to get up at 6AM ON A SUNDAY MORNING! (OK, I know I said Top Ten good reasons, but that one's worth repeating!)
Car boot sales? I'm kicking the habit and giving them the boot! What about you?
16 April 2012 at 3:26 PM
The main attraction of car boot sale for me is the thrill of the hunt - they tend to be very cheap, you get your goods immediately and you might just find a bargain! The other attraction is that you can pick things up and examine them closely before deciding to buy. As for selling - there I think Preloved has the advantage. It might take longer to sell an item but you don't have to get up at 6 in the morning and stand about in any weather all day, then pack up all your unsold goods. There's a fee, too, unlike on Preloved. So I shall continue to browse both Preloved and visit the occasional car boot sale - they both have their place.
16 April 2012 at 4:04 PM
Good article, but I'd like to see a new dimension to
Preloved: all my items for sale on ONE PAGE. I'm
put off ebay and Preloved by the tedious job of
going from one category to another. If I take stuff to
a boot sale, I take all the stuff and lay it out. I don't
walk around the site putting a vase here and rolling
pin there, and a paper weight somewhere else.
Part of the fun of Boot Sales is rummaging, and maybe
finding something that appeals.
17 April 2012 at 10:39 AM
here is the first thing , 1] you have to pay to go in [prelovedFREE]
WHEN DID YOU EVER PAY TO GO INTO M & S]
its a load of people swapping one anothers junk in the hope they have found a masterpiece.
it is a market for stolen items, just a load of sad &.,,,$ got nothing more constructive to do/ i had the experience when i took a load of chocolate and tried selling it 3 bars 170 these were the large bars , so when someone offered me 50p that was it, packed up and sold them in my shop at a lot more
18 April 2012 at 10:50 AM
There is a point being missed here, granted the car boot is often a disappointing wet Sunday morning yomp around an assault course of pushchairs, kids and dogs, but when the sun doth shine, that muddy trudge becomes something more. Yes we all want to grab a bargain, some become so obsessed that return home loaded up with carrier bags full of 1970's curtains and washed out tour t-shirts. But it is also a wonderful social occasion, people chat, sometimes to friends or family they bump into more often than not, to complete strangers, about the dogs, the kids, just general banter which is often the best laugh you have had all week. Store holders become friends, people are out in the freshair, kids aren't stuck in front of the TV. Love pre-loved by all means, but don't underestimate the boot, it has a unique value all of its own.
20 April 2012 at 11:18 AM
With regards to your comments about Car Boot fairs ,OK so you work for Preloved Have you any idea that unlike this site you actually see the items you are going to buy,haggle on the price , see the actual item and its condition suitability etc also you can and I have had many bargains from these events plus with the cost of postage distance of items ,and I do not get a Day out into the bargain.Must be nice to do everything without getting out and about,or is Excercise suddenly bad for us .Do not knock it until youve tried it .
20 May 2012 at 12:50 PM
I find carboots are allot quicker to sell stuff than on preloved.co.uk
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