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Have you ever had your eye on an item at a flea market or craft fair, but walked away because you weren’t willing to pay the listed price? No negotiating. No attempts at haggling. Nothing. You just let it go. 


Disappointing, right?


With over 40 vendors at the 2018 Pigs & Swigs Festival, there’s a good chance you’re going to spot something you want to call your own. 


So, don’t let it get away from you this time. Maybe you feel intimidated, silly, or you just don’t know how to bargain. Well, you can change all that. We’ve got the inside scoop on how to get what you want for the price you want. 


Here are nine tips to get the most bang for your buck at the craft fair or flea market in Scully Park from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday (June 2nd) at this year’s Pigs & Swigs Festival.


1. Understand that Prices Don’t Exist

It might seem a little odd to think that prices don’t exist. Especially when they’re scribbled on a charming tag hanging from the item or listed on the vendor’s vintage chalkboard.

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Here’s the thing, prices at these events are decided on the spot. Sure, the vendor is going to tag an item, but that’s really just formality and a starting point. 


Once you shift your mindset, you’ll understand that you have more influence over the price of an item than you ever realized. 


2. Practice Your “Poker Face”

To get the best price on an item, you need to put on your game face. This means being calm and cool as you check out what’s on the vendor’s table. 


Even when you spot the one item that makes your heart go pitter-patter, don’t go nuts…at least not on the outside. Like in a card game, pretending you have a bad hand of cards is often the key to winning the entire game.

pigs and swigs lincoln



Keep in mind that your enthusiasm also serves as leverage for most vendors. In other words, when they know you really want an item, they’ll bump up their bottom dollar.

"Winning" at this game means putting on your poker face.


3. Know Your Price

If you’re like most people then you probably depend on the vendor to throw out an alternate price. But what this frequently does is leave you stumbling over your words and not appearing very confident in your bargaining skills. 


Instead, have a price in mind when you first approach the vendor. Know what you’re willing to pay and go from there. That way, you won’t be saying the dreaded, “uhh, uhh” when the vendor asks you how much you want to pay. 


4. Carry the Green Stuff

Although we live in a digital age where many people no longer carry cash, do it at a craft fair or flea market. Some vendors will use Square or PayPal apps that allow their customers to pay via credit or debit cards. 


Still, when you walk up to a vendor with cash in one hand and your item in the other, you’re probably going home with that item. The bottom line is that cash is an easy transaction and vendors love it. So, bring the green stuff with you to the Pigs & Swigs Festival. 

pigs and swigs lincoln

Another quick tip is to dress down. You're already flashing dollar bills, so don't go sporting your designer jeans or you'll be hurting your game. 



5. Be That Friend

Remember the old adage about how you can attract more flies with honey than with vinegar? That truth applies to getting your money’s worth at a craft fair or flea market, as well. 


You might not agree with the vendor’s prices or opinions on your item, but be kind anyway. 


It even helps to form some kind of connection with the vendor. For instance, start a conversation with them to see if you share any history or commonalities. By nature, people are more willing to give a friend a deal over some random stranger. Be that friend. 


6. Start Low, But Not Too Low

Like mentioned before, knowing what you are willing to pay for an item will help you to be a more skillful bargainer. But be mindful not to lowball the vendor. 


This is especially true at a craft fair where the vendor may also be the actual designer of the item. You never really know how much work has truly gone into each vendor’s creation. Unsurprisingly, craft fair vendors are much less willing to work with you when you insult them by lowballing. And rightly so.

renegade craft fair sf2


Flea markets are a little more open to striking a great deal as they’re mostly just a mishmash of treasures. In this case, start by offering half of what you’d be willing to pay and barter back and forth to determine a final price.


7. Say Yes to Shilly-Shally 

Vendors tend to get uncomfortable when you hesitate. They fear they’re losing a sale. To compensate for this, they often lower the price or throw in something else in the deal. 


So, don’t be shy about being appearing a little fickle in your final decision. 


At a flea market, you can even take this shilly-shally time to notice and point out the flaws to the vendor. The one-two punch of hesitating and paying attention to detail might get you the exact deal you want.


8. Go at the Right Time

If at all possible, try to go to the craft fair or the flea market late in the day. Right before closing time is when vendors are the most tired and most willing to make great deals. 


Like everyone else, they want to get out of the uncomfortable weather, eat a good meal, and rest for the night. 


Think of it as a child hitting up their parents for pizza on a Friday night. That kiddo knows his parents are tired from working all week and don’t want to make dinner. So, they’re more willing to dish out 20 bucks for pizza night. 


Only, you’re the pizza-hungry kid and the vendors are your parents. 


9. Be a Good Sport 

Above all else, know that haggling at a craft fair or flea market is all in good fun. So, be a great sport about it all. Have a positive attitude even when you don’t get the deal or item you have your sites set on. 


Really, it’s all just a big game. Always play nicely and things might just work out like you want!


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