Author Archives: Maureen

last year

The Art of Flea Market Haggling

ladies shoppping at a flea market

“I never pay full price”, that’s my daughter’s moto. Every time I see her she has a deal to tell me about and she always knows just where to go to find the sale racks. If you are shopping at a big brand store or a mall the only way to get a deal is a good sale or coupons you just can’t negotiate the price. What the sticker price says is what you pay, unless they have one of those “we’ll beat any competitors’ price” policies.

Flea markets and yard sales are a whole different ball game, though. You are kind of expected to haggle. In some countries it’s even considered rude if you don’t haggle, and there is a real art to it. Most flea market vendors are master at their craft and most likely have been haggling with customers for years so it can be intimidating going in there and trying to get the best price possible. You’ve probably heard lots of different tips from people on how to haggle, but here’s a pretty standard negotiating deals list.

1. Know your product. Know what something is worth going into it and know what it’s going to take to make that item worth every penny. If you plan on selling an item for profit, then you’ll want to know your profit margin. If it’s for your own personal use, then know how much you’re willing to put into it to make it great.

2. Be charming. Strike up a conversation with the vendor. Learn what his (or her) likes and dislikes are and even where he gets his stuff. This might also help you in determining the value of a piece you have got your eye on without letting him know you’ve got your eye on something.

3. Keep your poker face. You never want to tip your hand in a negotiation. Play it cool – even if this is the item you have been looking all over for, don’t let anyone know how desperate you are for this piece.

4. Be respectful, though. Don’t tell someone his item is a piece of junk. You can say how much you admire a piece or like it without tipping your hand. When you hear a price, ask what his bottom line is. If it’s still too steep, then tell him, “It is a beautiful piece; I’m sure someone will pay that for it.” Then he should ask you what your highest price is. You give him a number and he’ll either offer you a counter or tell you that for cash it’s yours at that price.

5. While not insulting the vendor, don’t be afraid to point out why you might not go as high as he would like. Remember to be respectful and say how much you do love the piece, but tell him that you’re concerned at the expense to you in repairing the scratches or any broken parts you notice. Let him know that while you do believe it’s well worth what he’s asking, in order for you to make it the piece you want you’ll have to put some additional work into it which is going to cost you x amount of dollars to do.

6. Get something for free. Dealers at flea markets are often just looking to push the merchandise, either to make room for newer stuff or because it’s a place they have to tear down and pack up at the end of the day to go to another location. The less they leave with, most likely the happier they will be. So if you plan on buying more than one thing from a vendor, then don’t be afraid to say, “Hey, will you throw that box of baseball memorabilia and make it an even amount?”

7. Bid low, but not too low. Start out with a conservative starting price in your negotiations, but don’t be insulting because that will turn a vendor off to you right away.

8. Patience really is a virtue. Good things do come to those who wait. And if you’re willing and able to wait then at the end of the day, if the item still hasn’t sold the vendor might be more willing to give you a better deal. This of course is a gamble – you have to hope no one else purchases the item before the end of the day.

9. Use cash. While vendors might accept check, they certainly do prefer cash. So make it clear that you will be paying with cash, but of course that means you must have that amount of cash on you right then and there.

10. Have fun. If you take it too seriously, then you’ll never be able to enjoy your finds. And you can’t get upset if a vendor doesn’t accept your negotiation. There will be other items and other vendors; it doesn’t have to be that one.

Follow these ten steps when you negotiate at your next flea market and you might be surprised at the amazing deals you end up walking away with.

last year

How to Stay Safe in the Summer Sun and Prevent 15 Common Health Hazards

Summer Girl
Summer is many peoples favorite season, and I’m no exception. I love to be outside in the warm air, go camping, biking and gardening, but with summer activities come a few health concerns you can prevent with a little forethought and preparation.

1. Heatstroke

Heatstroke can happen without much warning. To prevent it, keep yourself and your family well hydrated, and avoid vigorous activity during the hottest hours of the day usually between noon and 3:00 pm..

2. Dehydration

Dehydration is caused by insufficient water intake for the amount of activity a person is engaging in. Drink plenty of water, especially when exercising or in extreme heat.

3. Sunburn

Too much sun can give a person a nasty burn, damage skin, and bring a lot of pain along with it. When enjoying the sun, stay in the shade when possible, and use some type of sun protection when you are exposed. Hats, sunglasses even a sheer long sleeved shirt are good options if you don’t have or want to wear sunscreen

4. Cuts

Bike riding, hiking, roller bladeing and other fun summer activities can bring scrapes. Avoid this by wearing knee-pads when riding any kind of bicycle, and teach safety to your children.

5. Concussion

Another possible and much more serious bicycle injury is concussion. Always wear safety helmets, and insist that your children do the same. My family rides dirt bikes in the summer and helmets have been their saving grace on more than one occasion.

6. Insect Bites

No one wants to deal with the itch of an insect bite. Insects such as ticks and some mosquitoes can even carry diseases like Lyme. Always use an insect repellent. You can make your own at home using a spray bottle filled with water and essential oils such as lavender, geranium, eucalyptus, and peppermint. Shake vigorously before spraying, and apply often.

7. Seasonal Allergies

Sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes are not the most enjoyable way to spend ones summer. If you are looking for a remedy other than over the counter, try some natural solutions. Use a neti pot to flush allergens from your sinuses. Taking two teaspoons of local honey per day at the onset of allergy season is also thought to help keep away seasonal allergies.

8. Swimmer’s Ear

When swimming is a main part of your vacation, swimmer’s ear can be a painful side effect. Prevent this by tilting your head to let water drain after swimming, and avoid swimming in dirty water. Wearing earplugs can help, but not everyone can stand wearing them. My family uses a few drops of equal parts rubbing alcohol and white vinegar in each ear after a swim to prevent ear infections from trapped water.

9. Sun Damage to Eyes

To protect your eyes from the suns effects, wear sunglasses specifically made to shield them from ultraviolet A and B rays. Even children can be taught to wear sunglasses when they go out.

10. Drowning

With swimming comes the risk of drowning. Prevent this by keeping careful watch of your children when around any bodies of water, and teaching everyone water safety skills. Don’t let small children play in little plastic wading pools unattended, it only takes a couple of inches of water for a small child to drown.

11. Muscle Injuries

Summer encourages us to try new forms of activity. When doing something new, always take care not to overexert your muscles, as this can lead to pain.

12. Exhaustion

With regular schedules suspended, longer daylight hours and new things to try, we can overexert ourselves. It’s easy to stay outside and work or pay until dark, but try to stick to a basic schedule each day, including regular bedtimes. Dont push your family too hard by packing in too many activities.

13. Viruses

Traveling can bring us in contact with new viruses. Try to eat wholesome foods which will help your body fight the germs, and get plenty of sleep.

14. Animal Attacks

When hiking, always travel in groups and make lots of noise. When camping, keep food sealed in containers and locked in cars, and dont leave leftovers lying around.

15. Rashes

When hiking, it is a good idea to wear clothing that covers your entire body to prevent contact with plants that may cause skin irritation. Avoid touching plants you are not familiar with.

Summer is wonderful. Keep it that way by using caution and taking measures to avoid health issues. This will help ensure your summer remains full of fun, and reasonably free of problems.