Local Heart, Global Soul

March 16, 2014

Nosing Through The Tat And The Treasures…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There is nothing more relaxing and satisfying than slowly browsing or  rummaging around the myriad of stalls that make up a bric-a-brac or flea market.

In the summer outdoor market along the canals of the inner central city of the Dutch city of Delft, there are many typically Dutch items to be found so visiting Singaporean friend “Velvetine” could get a few history and cultural lessons from me as we browsed the stalls.

This is Delft so naturally there are painted tiles and plates, most of these are of the transfer printed type but if you are very very lucky you might find a  hand painted example for sale too.

My experience is that because this market is well known and attracts many visiting tourists, the prices are often at the higher end of you you could expect to be paying: there are better bargains to be had at lesser known, smaller places, but these places take time to get to and usually have a smaller selection so it’s a case of being lucky and being in the right place at the right time. Sadly there is another aspect to these little out of the way places too, it’s an annoying fact that even though I was born Dutch, speak Dutch and am as good at driving a hard bargain as any of my fellow Dutch,  I was not born here and English is my first language so I of course speak Dutch with an accent.

If I go to bargain in a pokey little out-of-the way second hand shop, my accent will give me away as a foreigner and the price of the piece adjusted upwards during the bargaining process accordingly. As a result, when hunting down some old  antique wardrobes some years ago, I “scouted” the places that had the pieces we required and when I found the ones I wanted, got Himself, a born and bred Dutchman to come back later and do the bargaining.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Markets like the ones at Delft are aimed mostly at the tourist customer,  you will have to weigh up the fact that you are probably not getting a genuine bargain, but on the other hand it’s still cheaper than  internet shopping and paying postage. In the end if you love the piece you are buying then that also counts for a lot, if you walk away with a piece that will give you pleasure for years to come, or which is a rare addition to a collection you already have then maybe price becomes less relevant.

Most important to remember of all,  is that no matter what price the vendor gives you, some bargaining is acceptable so learn to pull a few faces of pain and a friendly grin when being given the first price and at least ask for a cheeky discount, and than offer a figure somewhere half way between the vendors original price and your cheeky offer. Often this “compromise” will be met with a shrug, a smile and an “OK then… just for you…”  so you can at least get some discount. The adage “the early bird gets the worm” is also true at markets like this:  the good stuff often disappears quickly so if you know that you want to look around this kind of market, get up early and be one of the first customers as the vendors are unpacking.

It’s a risk getting a bargain at the end of the day but I’ve managed it a few times, for example once for a large old wooden deed box for which I convinced a vendor that if he gave me a decent discount he would not have the hassle of trying to get back into his tiny van, storing and lugging around to the next market. If you use charm, are friendly and twist their arms you might get lucky, on that particular day I pitched a very cheeky low offer after at least five minutes of chat and to my surprise it was accepted.

You never know what might turn up at places like these, the looking  around, some friendly banter with the vendors is half the fun and that’s the whole point of enjoying a stroll whilst nosing through the tat and the treasures.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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