by Julia Evelsizer, Features Editor
Ever since I was little, my mom has been dragging me to antique stores, thrift stores and flea markets. I was always bored out of my mind and huffed and puffed until my mom was done looking. I was also told to only “touch with my eyes” which always sounded hilarious to my brother and me.
I flew through the isles of dusty Victorian furniture, yellowed paintings and rusted cookie tins, hardly looking at anything and begging my mom to hurry. Then one day she said, “Go ahead and touch, but be very gentle. If you break it, you buy it.”
That was the golden moment. From then on, I spent a little longer browsing through items, since I was now allowed to touch them. I discovered that if I pushed some pieces aside, I could really find unique things.
It was then that the shopping became a personal challenge and treasure hunt to me.
Now, at the age of 21, I really enjoy going to antique stores and flea markets with my mom. I love finding deals on vintage, one-of-a-kind things to decorate my apartment and I appreciate the history behind them.
I feel that flea markets have become more popular within the past few years for people of all ages. Popular shows such as “Flea Market Flip” and “Trash-to-Treasure” prove that junky items at flea markets can easily be turned into something new with a little paint and elbow grease.
A quick search on Pinterest can also provide some DIY project ideas for outdated items.
Every third Sunday of the month, the Interstate Center in Bloomington hosts the Third Sunday Market, a huge flea market and craft show with vendors from all across the country. The large machinery buildings as well as the outdoor barns are stuffed with craft booths and handmade items as well as vintage collectibles and antiques. Admission is $6 and it’s easy to spend the entire day hunting for treasure. Food vendors are also available, and stopping by the kettle corn stand is a must.
I attended the market this month and was not disappointed.
Every square inch of the fair
grounds was packed full of unique items and people of all ages. It’s a common misconception that antiques and vintage items are only for those who are “vintage.”
While there was a more mature
gathering at the market, there were an equal amount of college-aged shoppers, hunting for eclectic items. I spied girls clutching large metal letters, probably to hang on their walls and young guys eye-balling old record players.
Buying flea-market-sold furniture, home decor and collectables excites me not just because the items are unique, but also because they are cheap.
When buying a footstool from Target, it’s not acceptable to ask the cashier for a discount. But when buying a footstool at a flea market or antique store, it’s perfectly okay to ask for a little wiggle room on the price.
While at the Third Sunday Market this past weekend, I tried bartering for the first time.
I spied an old metal serving cart on wheels. It was a rusty army green color, it was missing a wheel, and it was only $10. I had seen serving carts in better condition at other booths going for at least $40 and Ikea sells them brand new for $50. I had to have it.
I timidly asked the seller at the booth if he would take eight bucks for the cart. Without batting an eye he agreed, and I had my first addicting taste of bartering. For the rest of the day I was able to confidently talk down sellers a few bucks here and there.
I think it’s important for college students to look past their horrific antique shopping experiences as children, and think of the possible treasures they could find at local flea markets and antique stores.