Thursday, 8 September 2011

How to (NOT) do a carboot sale

Carboot sales.  They're all the rage, apparently.  If you have never even been to one I suggest you get the local paper and find one, set your alarm clock for a ridiculously early time on Sunday and get out there, armed with small change, plastic bags and a haggling disposition!
The bargains you can pick up at a carboot are incredible, especially at the end of the day when people are desperate to get rid of their stuff.  For years I have loved going to them and, like rummaging through the charity shops before they got all upmarket, it is immensely satisfying to find a little treasure in amongst the trash.

Being a seller on the other hand is a completely different story.  If you're thinking of doing one, there are some great tips on this site that I recommend you look at beforehand.  If you've got anything vaguely valuable you would be much better off trying to ebay it first, because you won't get much for it at the carboot.

Anyway, I'm not here to give advice and information on carboots, I'm here to tell my story.  So I'd better get on with it.  I know you're busy and dying to get back onto facebook ;) 

We packed up the car the night before, including blankets to put the stuff on with no decorating table to hand, a chair, guitar, lunch and a flask of tea.  We'd been told that the carboot advertises as sellers at 10am, but most people get there at 7am.  Blimey, that's a bit of a difference, we ended up arriving at around 8.30am and were one of the last rows of cars!  There were about 500 cars! And even a bouncy castle!  

Everyone parked bumper to bumper, with a little gap inbetween, and then whooooosh! It began. We laid the blankets down, took Bubbaboo out and Jam strapped him to his back, whilst I started emptying boxes and organising our wares, not sure what order I was putting them in, it was all so random, and people immediately started coming over and opening boxes and rummaging through them. We'd tried to work out what prices we wanted for things beforehand and conferred a lot and haggled even more.
It was quite good fun, even Bubbaboo loved it, he attracted lots of attention and 'ahh isn't he sweet' or 'what a contented little chap'.  He was sitting amongst it all, banging spoons on ceramic pots, that then broke, but who would have wanted to buy that anyway?!

Of course, we took a guitar and Jam was happy to tinkle away, gathering customers.  People even commented that it was very mellow and lovely over this end of the sale, what with a man rather loudly trying to sell his meat at the other end and you're not even allowed to sell food!
On the way there, Jam was getting excited about looking at all the other tut, I however was feeling a bit nauseous at the prospect of trying to get money for old stuff, some of which I wasn't really sure I wanted to give away, and the last thing I wanted to do was buy any MORE stuff!  Jam was adamant he wanted to be able to choose two things to buy, I could only think of one thing, a xylophone for Rolypoly, but towards the end of the day, as people were packing up I had a quick peek at the stall next door and saw a large digit telephone suitable for my Mum and a wetsuit for Bubbaboo.  I called Jam over and said I'd found my two items, Jam was chatting to the chap and suddenly the chap said, 'Mate, I tell you what, give me £20 for the lot?' 
'What?!' said Jam, 'I couldn't possibly, and just as I was about to breathe a huge sigh of relief he said, 'I'll give you £30' - WHAT THE.....
 'Look I'll meet you half way, give me £25, deal? Deal, they shook hands, I shook my head and started laughing or was that wailing hysterically?  The chap had arrived with a van load of stuff, a wife and son, who was having trouble selling his football stickers and I dread to think what he told them, but he'd obviously had enough and just wanted to get home.

So we were left with more stuff than we had arrived with, no more customers to sell to, a little boy who was getting fed up and just wanted to feed and slightly burnt foreheads (just me and Jam, R had quite sensibly been wearing a hat and sunscreen). 
The lady on the stall opposite was just as gobsmacked as I was!  As were the couple across the way with a little baby too, they'd been chatting lots to us throughout the day and were considering changing their plans to try and help us but we assured them we'd get it sorted.

We were the last to leave the site.  You weren't allowed to leave anything behind, yet the rubbish collecting man with van had said he would come back and take some of our empty boxes for us.  So I was walking across the field to drop the boxes off and the female organiser was shouting across to me, 'You can't leave anything here, you have to take everything with you'. 
'Yes, I know, but the chap with the van said he would take these for us...' 
'You can't leave anything here, he's gone.' Total lie, because he was standing next to her... I carry on walking, she shouts out again, 'There are no bins here. You can't leave anything here!'
'I hear you lady, but I can't fit it in the car, so I'm just going to have to walk home with it!'
At this point the chap with the van comes over and says he will take it, I thank him profusely and want to stick my fingers up at the arsey lady but choose to be polite and shout a big 'thank you!' out instead, as I magically squeeze into the car and we drive off.

Obviously there's another part to this one, get back to whatever else you were doing, go on, shoo, I'm exhausted just writing about it!


  1. hahaha! I love this story! Toooo funny! :-)) x x x

  2. Oh Jesus Crisis!!!!!! But very funny indeed :)))

  3. I love that picture of Jam with his guitar and car boot sale. Classic!