TITTLE TATTLE AND TANTRUMS IN THE TRADE JUNE 2012

I’m not sure if it’s global warming or just a bad year but having had a warm winter we are now beset with a wet spring and early summer. Maybe it will get better. For organisers of indoor fairs the rain is usually a bonus as it keeps the boot sales closed but for the bigger events which rely on the outdoor stands and for the people who trade that way it has been a disaster so far.

Rain lashing down on unprotected furniture and pictures doesn’t exactly inspire people to buy them and potential customers are usually rushing by under umbrellas anyway. When this is followed by tractors pulling over loaded vans and cars off water logged sites it makes for a depressing situation. Some fairs haven’t even got that far, being forced to cancel due to flooding.

Back to the boot sales again though and we find that they are popping up everywhere. There are more and more regular sites as well as hundreds of one off’s for charity at schools, football stadiums, fields and station car parks. They can be even more of a killer than the weather as there is nothing more frustrating, after paying out significant money for a stand at a fair, than finding that the adjacent field or one half a mile away is being used for a boot sale. Result? Either people don’t want to pay to visit a fair, which is usually more expensive, or when they do they expect to pay boot sale prices.

In many instances there is little the fair organiser can do because there was no sign of a boot sale in the vicinity when the event was booked but if there was, then perhaps the site was unsuitable in the first place. By the same token some boot sales actually become a focus for the Trade and thrive on it but that doesn’t mean they would then be suitable for an “upgrade”. In fact there seems to be no rhyme nor reason why some sites work and others don’t.

In reality, despite all the hype on the TV about people who have found wonderful things for a pound, there are more bargains to be had at a small organised fair than at a huge boot sale. That’s why most of the sensible Trade save their shoe leather and petrol and stick to fairs. There’s also much less chance of it being rained off, though it is always advisable, as I said in my last TT, to check a fair is on before setting out.

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