Some of my observations: The meet really starts on Tuesday. We got on the field about 1 pm. As we were unloading our parts, potential customers were waiting to see all that we were selling. Most of these were other dealers. I only sell at Hershey, I am there to sell, not to hold out for top dollar. A nearby dealer bought some of my 26-27 parts to resell. He still had them for sale when we left. If you see something you are interested in, you should buy it then. A lot of people came back for parts they had looked at earlier, but in most cases it was already sold. One case in point was a solid set of TT rear fenders, unfortunately the person that bought them was going to use them on a trailer. Three different people that had looked at them earlier came back to buy them, but they were to late. We sold a lot of parts. I should say my wife sold a lot. She loves doing it, and I would rather cover the flea market. Thursday after lunch, many of the dealers were packing up to leave, maybe because of Fridays forecast. We decided to pack up Friday morning for a few reasons: 1st- the parts we sell we bring in our motor home, with the weather forecast we didn't want to load wet parts inside, 2nd- the amount of people walking around our area (potential customers) dropped dramatically. As we were loading, a guy was grumbling we should be unloading instead of packing up. I understand his point, but this is a hobby for us not a business. My wife wanted a break from selling and wanted to see what was out for sale in the flea market, walk over to Hershey world, etc. As we wanted to get home before dark, we left around 1 pm and before the rain hit.
Well done Dan. I go to Chickasha every year and normally sell 90% of what I bring. The swap meet begins when you unload and it ends when you leave. You see the same bunch at these events (and others) buying everything they can to stock their eBay stores.
Eventually the great swap meets are going to move to the internet. Let's enjoy them while we can!
My friend and I go to Hershey Wednesday through Friday to shop and to sell. We would go on Tuesday, but its not easy for either of us to take that much time off from work.
I find shopping is the best on Wednesday and Friday and the best day for selling is Thursday.
I don't buy to sell and I don't sell for profit, just to clear out my excess.
Can't wait for next year. Less than a year away!
Thanks Royce, I think many parts go from dealer to dealer, and of course the price goes up. I especially see this with the Ford V-8 parts. This is how some people support their hobby. It doesn't bother me as long as I get what I want for it.
Here you see the phenomenon at Chikasha in 2010 - the trailer have just drove into the fields parking/line up lot and the vultures are there before it stands still....
When I sold muscle car parts, it was the same deal. You couldn't even get out of the truck and people were trying to paw through things. I would tell people "I am going to ask you kindly once, let me unload it, then we'll talk. The price doubles if you continue to pester me." I also had zero issues with telling someone to get lost.
They are truly vultures. I hated dealing this way, but people have no respect sometimes.
And Dan, I agree. I have no issues if someone wants to buy to resell and / or hang onto it for the rest of their days at every swap meet, as long as I get what I think is fair, I am happy. I am there to sell, not drag it home. I loathe the people who bring their museum collections time after time and have things priced so high no one will buy it. I also love pointing out to these people that they have brought things for 4-5 years in a row and still haven't sold it. Sometimes I can buy it that way, sometimes I get chased out of their spots.
I worked at a very large antique mall for 7 years while I was college and noticed right away that we have a crazy hobby. The dealers that pay rent for a spot still would have the same stuff, at the same price, for years on end. That's a lot of rent to pay, but every month they would cut the $250 check to us for monthly rent, year after year! I never understood it, and it's more common than not. I would rather sell something for $5 than hang around for years waiting for $10! I don't get it.
Stuff going from space to space is common in all swap meets. I remember one in Auburn, CA where I saw a Model A Roadster door handle with a distinctive dent on it. It was early in the day and he had $15--too much IMHO with the dent. Later saw it in another stall for $25, and at the end of the day in a different dealer's stash for $45!
There are certain vendors I don't even bother stopping at. They have the same waterlogged and swelled wood box T coils at $25 each that have no chance of being rebuilt to anything useful. They bring them back year after year. I guess it is none of my business why they do what they do but I never see them selling anything and wonder how they pay for their spot but wonder if they just setup so they can park on the field - have their wife watch the stuff while they then go shopping. Don't know but to each his own. I believe that the swap meet begins when any buyer meets any seller anywhere between their respective homes on the way to at or from the intended swap meet. I have bought and sold items the night before at the motel from guys trailers. I once bought an item at a rest area in Ohio from a destination Hershey vendor. Who cares. Sometimes you get lucky - often you don't.
John, I take no issue with pre show, night time or outside the gate selling/buying. That is part of the fun, browsing other peoples stuff with your eyes.
What I do have an issue is that people come up to your truck or trailer before you unpack it and start pawing through things without even asking first, like they just found a box of junk in a barn --or before I have even opened the door of the truck to get out or taken the first strap off. That is disrespectful in my opinion, and I would rather be a grumpy old man about it, and to them, then take the chance they might damage something else of more value through their carelessness. Ever see a $1000 '70 Cuda grill get broke by someone doing that? I have, it is not pretty.
Speaking of careless swappers, I once had a nice set of aluminum Chevy small block cylinder heads fresh from the machine shop. I had them on a piece of carpet to protect them which was on my tarp on the ground (pavement). I watched a guy pick one up, stand it on end off the carpet to look at it, place deck side down on the tarp and slide it across the tarp (remember when I said the tarp was on pavement?). The restraint I had to take as I mentioned to him it was a fresh surface job was all I could stand, and then my buddy practically had to hold me back as he just shrugged his shoulders and said "ehh, not what I was looking for." and walked away.
Another issue are some buyers and how cheap they can be. I had a 26-27 Tail light bracket for sale. This was in mint condition. They repro them for 10.00. Now I don't know about you, but I would much rather have a genuine Ford part on my car than any repro part. I priced my genuine part at 10.00. A potential customer picked it up and wanted it for 5.00 I politely said no, to which he slammed it down and left. I will deal, (my wife says I deal to much) on a high ticket item, but not on a 10.00 genuine part that is mint.
Half the fun to me is the negotiation! I'll pay full price if the other guy will play tug-o-war with me for a while and that's where we end up. No fun if they lay down and play dead on when the first offer is thrown out.
In the past when I went to swap meets I had a problem with the listed price and what I was willing to pay - and logic has nothing to do with it!
I love the "best deal" but can't figure out what it is.
I also dislike getting taken advantage of and wonder if I could have done better if I had been stronger.
China changed things.
I was taken to the underground market in Shanghi- it really is underground- to look for a computer case.
I really didn't need one but we thought that it would be fun.
I found a leather Tumi briefcase (the label said Tumi and it looked like a Tumi) and was told that it was 1,000 rmb -about $170
$170 for a $450 Tumi was a fantastic deal but I didn't really want it so I said too much.
The reply was special deal just for you $500 rmb.
I said too much - the reply was you are killing me but 400 rmb.
I said 100 rmb -
We bounced around until we were arguing about 150 vs 160 rmb.
The person with me said, Fred you are arguing over $1.70 so I said bought it at 160 even though I was thinking about offering 155.
The sales person smiled and said something in Chinese.
Later my friend said that the sales person said that she only made 10 rmb on the bag but had a great time.
I told him that he owed me 5 rmb for the Show!
And made him pay.
I take Dans approach. The haggling can be a lot of fun. I was looking at a very vintage/rusty soda/beer cooler. The guy originally wanted 50 for it and then immediately went down to 40. I told him I would think about it. I came back a few hours later and he had dropped his price to 30 as posted on the cooler. I walked up to him and told him I was slashing his price one more time and had 25 in my hand. He reluctantly accepted. We had beer iced down in it 2 hours later.
I though "haggling" was just part of the process, I just came back from a train store open house where they had a diesel locomotive on the shelf, kinda beat up and needing a full rebuild (typical for American Flyer diesels, the design is kinda self-destructing--after all, they were toys, not meant to still be here 60 years later!). The sticker was $200 with 30% off for the day. Hmm, still too much, so I offered $100, he countered with $125, and I said, OK, how about $110? Deal. Not a really great buy, but OK, and I knew it had been on their shelf for a few years anyways. It will fix up to a good "layout runner" after I spend some 4 hours rebuilding the chassis.
I remember a cartoon in a magazine, guy holding a part and saying. Thanks for accepting $20, I was willing to to $200" and the guy in the swap space replied, "That's OK, we were willing to sell it for $2!"
But, I completely agree about NOT pulling stuff out of guys trailer or truck until he/she tells you it is OK to do it. You break it, you bought it! One guy's junk is another guy's treasure.
I always wanted to go to a meet with an old coffee can full of rust flakes labeled, "RARE!! 1932 Duesenburg left cowl light, with reflector"
Heh Heh heh
I'm at the other end of the spectrum. I dislike haggling and wish it were not the way it was. Unfortunately, it IS the way things are and unless you want to get taken, you MUST haggle, as the extra is already included in the price. Want to REALLY piss someone off? Find that rare guy who has already put his no haggle sale price on the price tag and offer him something significantly less. I've done it. Not because I was trying to take advantage, but because I don't know the true value of some things and just expected the price to be artificially inflated and offers to be entertained. I don't like to feel like I'm cutting someone's throat and I don't like to feel like I'm being cheated. I probably end up paying more than I should for most things and I probably end up selling for less than I should when I sell. I just dislike the whole business of haggling. There's a reason I am not a business man.
I always say if you find something "you need" and the price does not insult you, you better buy it. I am also a vendor, and you have to "inflate" your price a little bit. It gives "room" for the hagglers to feel good about their purchases. As to if haggling bothers you or not, I think it is as much how and where you were raised. I had a friend who was from the North, he was raised to never haggle and that it was insulting to offer anything lower than the person wanted for their stuff. He moved to the South and everyone here (true southerners not transplants) want to deal and haggle. It just drove him crazy. But the people here see no problem with it, its just part of the game, and the way it is. I also have a friend from Minnesota who moved to Arkansas for the winters and a few months in the summer, He goes with me to some of the swap meets. He is just now after close to 10 years getting used to the haggling. He said the same thing as my other friend. He was raised to not haggle. I have been a "picker" most of my life. When I traveled on Boilermaker jobs all over the US, I would take night shifts, so I could "pick" during the day. I became well aware of the difference between Northern and Southern peoples feelings on haggling. As to having people "wait" till you get it set out... "Really" "come on now". Do you think if I was to see the part I have needed for months (or years) laying open on your trailer, I am going to stand back out of your way, and be real nice while someone else walks up and buys it from you. Swap meets are a feeding frenzy and always will be. I make sure I am ready to sell the instant I turn the key off on the truck. I have even sold stuff before I have a chance to open the door. That's just the way it is,
I love to haggle.
I don't always Haggle, especially the dollar stuff (OK, if I have a bunch of it in my hands I will ask, "Throw this in with the deal?").
I'm remembering one time I didn't, and I know I could have; it was at a yard sale. A friend called me one Sat. morning, "There's a bunch of American Flyer at. . . ." So off we flew (almost literally!). When we got there, I walked up the driveway and there was a card table of trains, underneath it boxes of track & other stuff. Trying to act REAL casual, I said, "How much for the trains?"
We want $80, we've had an offer of $60 if they're still here at the end of the day."
Well, that much information is enough to know one COULD offer $70 and probably walk away with it, but I just pulled out my wallet and said, "They won't still be here!"
We all laughed and I packed up my haul, which was till an incredible deal (about 10¢ on the $1, I figure), although nothing in the pile was "rare."
That's been one of my best finds in a long time! Here's a pic of just the trains in that buy.
BTW, when I saw my friend later, he said, "WHAT? You didn't offer him $70??" and shook his head. Ah, sometime ya just gotta go with the flow!
One year I started selling off the trailer at the last rest stop on the turnpike before I even got to Hershey.
The haggling is part of the process, but after 5 days (I sell Tuesday thru Saturday) it starts to get to me. Nobody likes any of my prices. Geez, I try to price things fair to begin with rather than inflating them ahead of time to leave haggling room.
My booth is right next to the show field, so I get good crowds right up until 3 on Saturday, sometimes that's me best day.
Derek, Thanks for the link, I loved the Monty Python stuff. The guy wanting to buy the fake beard must have been from the North, and the vendor was from the South
I love the art of the sale or the buy. One seller had a Early teens bicycle for 350. I Asked him to Make me buy that bicycle (this is Thursday) he turned his teenage grandson loose on me. He was out of school to learn something. Well he started at 350,325,320,315,310....I kept holding out 3 100 dollar bills at him and telling him Me and his grandpa were best friends now.... His grandpa is siting just watching and laughing....So I gave him 310. He handed to his grandpa the money. His Grandpa called me over and gave me the 10 dollars back,said it was the best education the boy had all week,and great entertainment!
Fred, was that that Mead tandem? I was considering that since I'm already working on a 1920 Mead Ranger but decided I didn't really need another project. I had a nice New Departure A front hub, but the rear was missing.
Once, when I was in the old White field, I was packing up on Saturday: I would move the packed boxes and set them near my truck, then go back and pack up another box. One time I took the latest packed box to the other side of the truck and I saw two men busily UN packing my boxes and digging through them. They didn't speak much English so I had a hard time persuading them, politely, to cease and desist.
I was surprised at the number of vendors still around on noon Saturday as I was walking back to my car from the car show.
OT, but I left at noon so that I could drive to visit a friend of mine in Connecticut and get a flight in his home-built airplane (a Glastar Sportsman 2+2) the next day:
I think Donnie may be onto something with the theory of regional differences. Last year I was bawled out for being "rude" by a guy with a northeastern accent. He was outraged when I offered $10 for a rust-sharpened Hayes rim that he thought was worth $60. He declared that it's guys like me who are ruining the hobby. I didn't complain to him about insulting me with his $60 price. I just moved on.
I think they should explore having set up day on Wednesday, and the swap on Thur-Sat. It's too big now, and there is little early stuff to look at any more.
Not me. I'm slow. I need all those days to cover the whole thing.
I'm with Steve. Having 4 days to browse the Swap Meet is just fine. You're pretty much going to blow the whole week anyway. We go to the AACA Museum on Monday as it's always a good place to visit. While there, I buy the Hershey Swap Meet Directory & then on Monday Evening, I mark on the map all the Vendors I want to see. It works for me.