Sadly, that was the pinnacle of my excitement...I only got more disappointed as the day wore on.
Weather was AWESOME!
Company was AWESOME!
Parking was affordable at only $5.
But....absolutely no one was willing to budge on prices.
When you go to an antique fair or thrift fair you can almost always expect to respectfully haggle a little bit and find bargains all over the place. When I went to Brimfield in May of 2012 - my trip report is here - I got nearly a dozen things for less than $200 total. This time, not so much...
I had so many things on my list this year, but because of terrible pricing I came away with only three things:
1) Keys for a project I'm planning for Christmas time. No wiggle room here, folks...they told me $2 per key and wouldn't even give me 6 keys for $10. Come on people, at least throw the last key in for free! It's the least you can do, you've got 500 more to sell. I'm almost doing you a favor by buying these. No?? Ok, fine, you can break my $50 for $12 worth of keys. (wish I could have said that)
2) My ONLY "steal" of the day at 33% off asking price - this cute old painting ladder that can be used as a magazine rack or blanket rack - which I got for $20. It was marked at $30 and this guy was actually nice and accommodating about a lower offer because it was smaller than a similar ladder he had that was marked at $20.
Honestly, I don't mind paying more for high quality stuff that's new and custom and heavy-duty and handcrafted with love. This was worth it.
Bottomline, no matter how much leg I showed, how much I used my fading Texas accent, or how severely I played hardball, people weren't willing to wiggle.
Case in point: I wanted a little metal sign with an arrow on it. My husband asked the guy how much, and he said $15. My husband said "how about $10?", he said "nope, $15". (Not even a meet in the middle deal?) We left. I come back a few hours later, this time without my husband, and ask again..."hello sir, how much for the arrow sign?" He says, "weren't you here already?". I say, "well, yes sir, I was. I was just about to leave but wanted to see what you could do for me on that little arrow sign. I only have $10.50 left in cash, but I'd like to give it to you for the sign. Can you work with me?" He says, "Nope, it's $15". Well, I hope he never sold it...
Maybe people are pricing things low to sell - which if that's the case, mark 'em up a bit so people think they're getting a deal when they talk you down a mere 10%. Getting a good deal is what makes shopping at shows like this thrilling - it's what brings people in. No deals, no shoppers. There's only so many full-price paying people out there who have $1000 to spend on a leather chair with rips in it. Or, $75 for a 24"x24" cardboard Red Cross-like plus sign....really!?!?
Unfortunately, I think antiques and vintage items are becoming so popular that even the vendors who hunt and gather things day-in and day-out to bring to shows like this aren't getting things for reasonable prices anymore, so they're not passing any deals on to the customer. They're likely paying too much for the space they rent at Brimfield too. Higher booth pricing means higher product pricing. I also think that vendors make up arbitrary prices without doing much research. I could have bought most of the stuff I saw on Etsy for half the price. My rant is over...for now. (Thanks to those of you who stuck with me!)
Lesson learned: DON'T GO TO BRIMFIELD UNTIL THE LAST DAY (OR TWO) OF THE EVENT, when people have to get rid of things so they don't have to haul them home. Perhaps then they'll be willing to negotiate a bit. (We went on a Wed of a Tues-Sun show) The crowds will be terrible, but maybe you'll be a happy camper and score some good loot like I did back in 2012. (oh, so long ago...)
P.S. All that being said, I'm thankful I got to go to Brimfield. I'm thankful my husband got to take off from work and go with me. I'm thankful for amazing friends who watched our little girl so we could make it a hot date. I'm thankful that I found what I did. I'm thankful I have these first world "problems" to rant about. And, I'll still go next year (on SUNDAY) in hopes of having better luck.