A colleague sets up monthly at Scott Antique Show in Atlanta.  He vents about what show attendees lack.  Thursday’s  tip topic – Show and Negotiating Etiquette is, for you my reader, so you won’t be in the lacking class. Below I share some key points for easy shopping:

1)       Dealers setting up at large antique shows, in public venues, haul their stuff in and out each month.  They don’t store it at the venue. Therefore, it is not polite to say “I’ll see this(item) next month and buy it then. “  This is not a shop.  Transport of goods and show setup and breakdown is an exhausting process.  The items are there to be sold at that time and place.  Each time a dealer moves an item there is risk of breakage, this overhead cost  is calculated into the asking price of  items.

2)      It is inconsiderate to stop and call over your friend, pick up an item in the booth and say something like” I have one of those or my grandmother had one of those.” While your friend eyes the price and says “you should sell yours it looks better than his”.  A customer lacking in savvy, then puts the item down and walks away without even acknowledging the dealer or thanking them.  Not so nice!

3)      Remember when negotiating that cutting down the item by saying something bad is akin to a cut.  Depending on how far a person goes with this tactic it can range from a paper cut to a deep gash.  This does not win the prospective buyer good will. Also remember, that the dealer spent time, energy, and money to bring the item to the venue.  They need to make a living, so negotiate but don’t maul the deal.  Most dealers expect to dicker a bit, but they can’t sell items at their cost.  It is okay to point out inherent defects in the item that you feel warrants an adjustment to price.  However, do so honestly and in an informed way.

4)      Be considerate.  Don’t waste a dealer’s time by asking for a best price if you have no intention of purchasing once given a price.

5)      Once you establish a relationship with a dealer it is okay to ask for tips or for a sharing of information.  Don’t say I have one at home and it looks like this and has this type of leg or knob, what do you think it is worth.  Expertise is something that is given not taken.

I hope sharing some insider tips will help you enjoy your experience at antique shows.  Wear comfortable shoes and hunt for something you love, love, love!
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