Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Car boot sale

[Note to American readers who may have strayed here by accident: you'd call it a car trunk sale. Which probably doesn't make much more sense either.]

This weekend my wife and I piled up our car with several years' worth of accumulated junk, and attended our first car boot sale. We're moving to Australia soon, so we're trying to get rid of all our household detritus, rather than pay lots of money to have it shipped halfway around the world.

For those that don't know what a car boot sale is, and have clearly never watched a single daytime television programme in the UK, let me explain. To hold a car boot sale you will require the following: one field/car park (parking lot), several cars, lots of tat. The people with the junk and the cars pay the owner of the field some money for the priviledge of having lots of people stare at their belongings with disdain. Some of these people may then decide to give you some money for these items. It's like ebay, you display your wares and await the inevitable bidding war that sends your price sky high, and end up selling it for 99p after one bid. But without the delivery charges.

We'd barely pulled up in our car when we were surrounded by rather scary looking men asking if we had any jewellery, or ornaments for sale. I'd managed to get the boot of the car open, so that I could get the table out upon which to display our wares, but couldn't do much else because these people just started pawing through our things. There must have been about ten people crowded around our car, and I was quite worried to start with. I was convinced they were all filling their pockets with our beatiful belongings, eager to fleece the newbies.

Then they started offering money for things, and I started to calm down. I don't think anyone took anything, although I can't be sure, but most people seemed quite honest. Within about 10 minutes, we'd made a hell of a lot of money, half the junk had been sold, and the crowds started to disperse. I eventually managed to get the table out and set up, our bits and bobs spread out on top, and on the ground next to it.

We did well for the next five minutes or so, a near-constant stream (can you have a constant stream?) of people wandered past, most buying a few things. Then it started to rain, the crowds tailed off, and we got bored.

We went home with more money and less stuff than we took with us, so we can't complain. My wife keeps hinting that we've got enough stuff for another car boot sale, but I'm not too keen. For a start, a lot of the stuff we've got left is the stuff that wouldn't sell last time.