Sep 9, 2014

Brimfield Antique Show Review... Sadly, a Bust

Well, friends, I was giddy with anticipation as my hubby and I drove up to the September showing of the Brimfield Antique Show in Brimfield, MA.  As we got out of the car I had butterflies dancing in my stomach because I was so excited to wind in and out of the rows upon rows and acres upon acres of thrifty finds.  And, this time with my partner in crime!

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.

3) I can't complain too terribly much about our last purchase - a beautiful handcrafted bench - that we'll use at the dining table, in the foyer, in the mudroom, or even as a coffee table (depending on the home we live in). The bench has a leaf that extends it from 5' to 8' and it's likely the highest quality and most versatile piece of furniture we own.  They had it marked for $245 and we got it for $230 - wow, 7% off.

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.


Melanie said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I LOOOOVVEEE that bench! So beautiful! Bummer on the sales, but yay for a date!

Kristen @ Inspired Whims said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Yes, Mel. No date time is wasted date time! And, I do love my bench :)

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Kristen Leigh, you are ever so funny ... my quintessential shopper! I really, really love that bench!!!

Marry NW4 said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Well, we can't have it all - awesome weather, awesome partner in crime..something has got to go wrong.
But these are some cute purchases, I am sure you weren't disappointed in the end.
Thank you for sharing, Kristen.

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Haha!! Thanks for the laugh! At least it was a beautiful day :)

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