Albert LaFarge's article "What Is A Flea Market?" asserts that the term is "a literal translation of the French "marche aux puces", an outdoor bazaar in Paris, France, named after those pesky little parasites that infested the upholstery of old furniture brought out for sale". Whatever the source of the name, few markets today are infested by fleas (unless you count the two-legged variety!) and one can safely examine the merchandise before commencing to haggle over the price. A good barometer of the cleanliness of the merchandise is the cleanliness of the person running the stall.Haggling is an art form and it takes practice to become good at it. You have to be willing to spend some time at it and few places are as good for practicing as flea markets. Here's a few tips for the neophyte bargainer: Select the item you want and determine the maximum price you are willing to pay for it.
Start by offering 40 percent to 50 percent less than your maximum price. Respond to counteroffers from the merchant by increasing your offer in small increments until you reach your maximum price. Above all don't believe their protestations about how they can't sell it so cheap - if they're still talking to you, they are still haggling.Remember, the closer it gets to the time for the market or festival to close, the more the merchants will be open to haggling. Make sure you know the item's fair market value before you start your negotiations, or you could wind up paying more than the item is actually worth.
If the merchant won't come down to your maximum price, don't hesitate to walk away from the deal, implying that you want to shop around. Chances are, if you're anywhere in the ballpark of what they want for the item, they won't let you - or your money - get away. And above all be gracious, if they meet your offer, be sure to convey to them what tough bargainers they are and what good merchandise they have. A truly successful haggle always leaves both sides smiling.
1. Germany: Berlin's most unusual stalls Die Nolle, is housed in 16 old railway trains at Nollendorfplatz. You'll find a huge array of collectibles to comb through: antique dolls, furniture, sewing machines, kitsch lamps, model cars, books and records.
The traders are known to pack up and leave before closing time, so show up early. Opening hours are every day except Tuesday, from 11 a.m. until 7 p.
m. If you're lucky, you may catch a street performance by a jazz band.2. Greece: Athens' best deals and famous poetry Located on bustling Pandrosou Street, Monastiraki, (also known as the Athens Flea Market) is a great place to buy Greek souvenirs, original art, carpets, books, old stamps and even helmets from the Second World War. The street cafés here are particularly good fun and offer some of the best people watching in town.
Stavros Melissonos, who runs a custom shop nearby at 2 Ag Theklas Street, is said to have made the Beatles their sandals back in their heyday. What's more, Melissonos is a rather famous poet and will happily autograph a copy of his book, the Rubaiyat, nothing to do with Omar Khayam's original version of course. Now that's a souvenir!.
3. Ireland: Dublin's best for bikes and beanbag chairs Located in the Rathmines area of Dublin, the Blackberry Fair Flea Market, Rathmines Road and Blackberry Lane, sells such items as antiques, closeout shoes, electronics equipment, bric-a-brac, used furniture and collectible records. You can't miss the place as you're driving past-it's the place with all the secondhand bikes outside and the big sign that says, "Beanbag chairs: 20 euro". It's probably best to think of this place as more of a jumble sale than an organized flea market.
Hours are Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.4. Italy: Rome's best haggling lessons On Sundays, from 6:30 a.
m. to 2 p.m., the massive Porta Portese Flea Market, near the end of Viale Trastevere, 75 bus to Porta Portese, opens for business. Not a place for the faint of heart, this popular market attracts thousands of aggressive shoppers, gypsies, pickpockets and you-the unwitting tourist.
The vendors here are no shrinking violets either. Well schooled in the art of haggling, these veterans are unlikely to lose on a sale. On the other hand, there are deals to be had here on one-of-a-kind items and oddities. For a first outing, why not just observe the expert shoppers and vendors duke it out.
Some proshoppers say that a good rule of thumb is to assume that the starting price is about twice what the vendor expects to get.5. Netherlands: Amsterdam's multicultural best Amsterdam's best known day market, Albert Cuyp Market, Ferdinand Bolstraat 44, Amsterdam; shows the city's diversity at its best.
Stalls line both sides of the street for many blocks and include vendors in fish, textiles, new and secondhand clothes, gadgets and even clogs. There are numerous cafés off the main road should you need to recharge. Opening hours are Monday through Saturday 8 a.
m. to 6 p.m.5.
Portugal: Lisbon's best place to steal from thieves The Feira da Ladra, Campo de Santa Clara, Alfama, translates as "Market of Female Thieves". Some 300 years ago, female thieves known as sovaqueiras, concealed illegal goods and sold them at a market in Lisbon's Rossio Square. While the present day market is on the up-and-up, you can still find a real steal here, particularly when it comes to bronze, copper and gold items. This market is jam-packed with antiques, rugs, new and used clothes, vintage tiles (these are great), riding spurs, pottery, as well as a lot of rather useless junk. Opening hours are Tuesday and Saturday from 7 a.m.
to 6 p.m.6.
Spain: Madrid's best knockoffs and craftiest pickpockets If you're looking for designer sunglasses but can't afford the real deal, El Rastro Flea Market, Metro: La Latina and Tirso de Molina, stocks some convincing imitations. For that matter, this is a good place for fake "designer" watches, handbags and clothing as well. Fine imports from India and Morocco-as well as some fairly good quality antiques-are also available. You'll just need to keep your wits about you here: don't dress like a tourist, don't flash money around and don't believe any deal that sounds too good to be true. Most importantly, beware of pickpockets-this market is as renowned for these hoodlums as for its great deals. Operating hours are 10:30 a.
m. to 3:00 p.m.
Sundays and public holidays.7. Moscow's matryoshka dolls and more The Izmailovsky Souvenir Market, Izmailovsky Park Metro, is a full-day out. Whether you buy or not, you're sure to have a stimulating experience. Street performers abound, as do interesting vendors and customers-it's all part of the show.
Choose from costume jewelry, chess sets, Soviet memorabilia, original art and, of course, hand painted matryoshka dolls. By all means, get into the act and do a bit of haggling yourself! This market is massive, but you're in luck: the area boasts loads of relaxing cafés at which to set your packages down and take a breather.
Your Independent guide to Travel.Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michael_Russell.
By: Michael Russell