One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Or to put it slightly differently: one man’s garbage is another man’s gold. These sayings could pass as a motto of flea markets. A flea market is a place where you can find incredible treasures at a very low price if you are lucky enough and you can also sell your used or unnecessary belongings.
A flea market provides space to people who want to sell or barter goods. They either have to pay a rent for the table or space provided or they can use it free. The items sold are on display installs, on folding trestle tables, on a blanket or on a tarpaulin, or just simply on the ground. Usually second hand goods, cheap things, collectibles, antiques, vintage clothes, kitsch, toys, electrical goods, accessories, or fragrances and furniture are commonly on offer. But you can buy whatever you might be interested in, as goods can be as various as people are, and certain things are useful and valuable to only certain people. You might consider something to be worthless, but it can be a real asset for others. Flea markets are the place to find obsolete objects, objects remembered from your childhood, vintage stuff and whatever you might imagine. Flea markets are a way of recycling useful but unwanted items that otherwise might have been thrown away. Many markets offer fresh produce, baked goods and food from local farms, and snacks and drinks, too. Flea markets generally take place at the weekend, often on Sunday. Entry for the general public is usually free, although sometimes a small admission fee is charged. Items may or may not have price labels affixed and bargaining, also known as haggling, on prices is routine.
Those who sell their stuff at the flea market are called vendors. Flea markets may be indoors, for example in a warehouse or a school gymnasium, but more typically they’re held outdoors – in a field or in a parking lot. Flea market vendors can be various. They may range from people who want to sell their unwanted household items or clothes occasionally to professionals who regularly sell the objects they themselves buy from garage sales, from legacies or other flea markets to make themselves a living.
Different English speaking countries use different names for flea markets. In Australian English, they are called trash and treasure markets, in the United Kingdom, they are known as car boot sales or simply as car boots because the vendors sell goods from the boot of their car. If the event is held indoors then it is usually known as either a jumble sale or a bring-and-buy sale.
People can get rid of their superfluous possessions in garage sales or yard sales as well. The venue of the sale is typically a garage or a driveway, a carport or a front yard. Popular motivations for a garage sale are spring cleaning, moving or earning extra money. Items sold at garage sales include old clothing, books, toys, household decorations, garden tools, sports equipment, board games and home appliances.
A special form of a garage sale is called white elephant sale. The term “white elephant” refers to an extravagant but burdensome gift that cannot be easily disposed of. It’s based on a legend in which the King of Siam gave rare albino elephants to courtiers who had displeased him as a present, so that they might be ruined by the animals’ upkeep costs. White elephant sales are organized by churches and schools to raise money for a charity cause. Members or friends of the organization holding the sale donate items which then are sold at low prices.
In the age of the Internet flea markets are also present online. If you don’t have the chance to visit a real flea market just browse on the different auction sites to find rare treasures.