My First Flea Shopping Experience With Some Tips – Part 2


( … in continuation ) – Read 1st part here

I said, “Lets experience flea shopping today as I am really bored of mall hopping”.  Must have been a lucky day for me as she said “It’s a great idea, why don’t we take a metro to go to beep- beep market. That way we  can do some really great flea shopping”.  I smiled first and then cursed myself because I had already wasted fuel money.  Anyways, I was happy that at least she did not flee at the idea of flea shopping.  We hopped onto a metro at Huda metro station and reached Hauz khaas in 40 mins. Thanks to my metro card I didn’t need to pay any cash for the commute. A short auto ride and there we were, at the haven of flea shoppers – the Sarojini Nagar market. Here begins my first experience of flea shopping.

Scene 3: Sarojini Nagar Market

We entered the Sarojini Nagar gully and found a long line of cars jostling for parking. I looked at my girlfriend, grateful that she had saved us a good half an hour by suggesting the metro ride. I noticed some constables and one barrier at the entry and felt proud that I was in Delhi and the police is trying their best to keep the local markets safe.

I knew that within an hour I would have enough ‘luggage’ to carry that I will not even get a chance to go to loo and hence I decided to answer nature’s call first. The washroom was far from clean and was also out of water, but the service was free there was no one to hear my complaint. My girlfriend was supposed to wait for me outside but when I came out she was not there.  I called her up immediately and guess what she says, “Ronil you won’t believe it, I just found an ultimately sexy frock at this shop”.  Well, here was the moment of truth. My money was about to be blown in the next half hour or so.

As I reached her, I looked at the shopkeeper who was delighted that his one sale was about to happen. He looked at me and understood that I was the only cashier here and he needed to push his merchandise to my girlfriend and not to me. She was already floored so she asked me to pay. “How much?” I asked the shopkeeper and he says, “500”. I was shocked as I thought that the skirt will not cost me more than 200, but as my dear lady had already shown her love for the piece, this guy decided to more than double the price. Then began the haggling, (no flea shopping is complete until you have haggled with the shopkeepers).  I offered 300 and after a push and pull that lasted almost 10 minutes, we settled at Rs. 350 and I was left with Rs. 950 (yes, the Auto wala was not even remotely related to me and hence charged me Rs. 50 for that short ride).

By this time, my brain was working hard to hatch a plan to make optimum use of whatever money I had left. My dear girl suggested that we walk through the market once and then decide what to pick from where. I nodded confusingly. We roamed for about an hour in which she scanned some 10-11 shops, visibly thrilled at what she saw. Then finally she landed at this one shop and picked a handbag, waved it to me and said “Ronil its awesome, I have been looking for this color for so many days. I want this!” I really liked the handbag myself. The same question to this shopkeeper, “How much?” and he says “Rs. 1100”. That was enough to throw me into a state of shock. I was not prepared for such high prices in a flea market. I said “500”, the shopkeeper gave me a dirty look and said “1000- Final Price – take it or leave it”. As I decided to leave the shop, my girl readily complied. After a few minutes she broke her silence and told me that bag was really worth 1000 bucks and we should buy it.

Now I didn’t have much to hide from her, I told her that the month was ending and I didn’t have much money and explained to her the whole idea behind bringing her to the flea market. As soon as I finished my poor story she laughed like a baby and put her arms around my shoulders and said sarcastically “my poor baby” and laughed again, now I was also laughing with her. She still wanted the bag and said we could use the savings in her account. One juice walla guided us to the ATM. We found 2 with a long queue of people who had probably been robbed of all their cash in flea shopping.

Finally after 20 odd minutes we collected some cash and decided to go to that handbag shop. It took us one whole hour to locate that shop again as Sarojini Nagar market is a labyrinth of gullies and all shops look the same. But we just HAD TO get that bag. Meanwhile we also bought a scarf for her in only Rs.100. Now I was beginning to actually enjoy the Sarojini Nagar market. We would have bought a few more things if only these shops had trial rooms. (Am I thankful that they don’t allow trials!!)

This market offers some great food as well. A plate of momos, ice cream and coffee gave us the boost we needed to scour the market for another hour. Also bought 2 pair of leggings in just Rs. 200 and slippers for a mere 150. My girl insisted me to buy a Superman t-shirt (as she knows that I am a big fan of super heroes who wants to save this world one day). I got a good one at 250. Now it was already dusk and the place was super crowded. Even then we could not resist the famous ‘Gol Gappas’ before heading home.
That’s how my first flea market trip came to an end, leaving me with memories and a happy girlfriend.

Some tips for first time shoppers:

1)    Bring a tape measure: No changing room.
2)    Don’t let a dealer rush you. Inspect every item thoroughly.
3)    Remain calm.  Buying at flea markets requires focus, and it can be difficult to concentrate in the whirlwind of people and stuff.
4)    Wear comfortable shoes: Sneakers are essential.
5)    Shop in day time: it will help you in analyzing the color more precisely.
6)    Be friendly.
7)    Remember the junk you buy throughout the course of the day needs a ride home. Easier said than done!
8)    Consider the cost of refinishing.
9)    Leave your expensive items at home. Don’t wear expensive clothes, jewelry, or watches. “If you are trying to negotiate, you’ll have a better chance if you’re dressed down.”
10)    Bring cash! Most dealers don’t take credit cards.  Carry cash in small denominations. It will help you in the bargaining.

PS: I really love my Neha (yes that’s  her name 🙂 )

Ever been to a flea market?   Help the uninitiated by sharing your experience and tips in comments.