Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Car Boot Sale - Not

Lately I have been thinking about selling stuff at a car boot sale.  That's the British version of a 'yard sale'.  I've not specifically checked, but I suspect 'yard sales' aren't permitted by the local authority (town council).  Since it's not part of the culture and since your usual Brit isn't the adventurous type, I'm thinking it's no good me trying to buck the trend.

On the other hand, the memory of my one experience of selling at Blaydon car boot sale puts me off: it was wet and very windy.  If I am going to try that again it will be at least under cover.  Tynemouth Flea Market is an obvious choice, but they want £17 to rent half a table and you have to come up with public liability insurance.  Life has to be simpler than that.

So I went to check out Bilton Market AKA Fish Quay Fair; the cafe on site has a different name, I forget what.  I've walked past this place many times when it was open, but the charging of an admission fee (50p) put me off.  In my experience this means there isn't enough good things inside for sale and the site is making money off the buyers instead of the sellers.  Turns out, however, that the 50p gets you a 'free' cup of coffee or tea, so can't say fairer. 

And this place. is. enormous.  There are 'permanent' stalls around the outside, with spaces for let in the centre.  And the whole thing is repeated upstairs, though without quite as much stuff.  I saw a woman in a corner using a sewing machine and I really wanted to ask her what she was making, but the way she was tucked in behind a screen made me think she didn't want to be interrupted. 


If I had a square inch to spare in my house I saw loads of furniture I would love to buy.  I'm not convinced they have enough traffic to make it worth my while (assuming I have sellable goods), but this was on a pleasant summer's day.  A place with parking, out of the wind and rain, come winter may be another kettle of fish altogether (get it?  fish quay...sorry).

When I'd finished looking I went to the cafe for my tea.  They have a juke box you can play for free.  I can't tell you which Elvis song was on when I was in there, but I'm sure I would have enjoyed many of the other artists:  Everly Brothers, Sam Cooke, Gene Pitney, The Animals, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Thin Lizzie, Crystal Gayle and (of course) Cliff Richard.  (I don't think I ever heard of him before I came to Britain, but he made it pretty big here.)

So, I could go set up on Wednesday, leave my stuff til Saturday and again on Sunday, have free coffee and tea and listen to a bunch of golden oldie music.  I just might be talking myself into this.

In a shop called 'Den of Antiquities'...

Annnddd they have a crafters' market the last Sunday of every month!  Must go back and check that out!


Anonymous said...

Sometimes on rainy days, DH and I like to browse through places like this. I would be very curious to know how you might do renting a space here.

In the US, in some locales, I have heard that they are tightening up on yard/garage sales--in some places even charging sales tax!

Anonymous said...

This place looks like a riot! I would love to go shopping there.

Shelley said...

Terri - Oklahoma has always charged tax on yard sales. You have to have a license to have one, and with it you get a form to fill in to send in a percentage of your income. Of course, it's pretty much an honour system, as they've no way to check. I think this is in part to keep people from setting up a permanant sale in their front yard.

Bliss/VFC - It is a riot, only you no longer get a free tea or coffee.