Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Collecting Tips to Boot


It’s that time of year again where people from all over the country go through their lofts and garages and find various junk they don’t want any more. They then throw it in their car drive to a field somewhere and sell it members of the public. Yes people, car boot season (or flea market if your American) is here. I have been heading to car boots with my lady friend for the last couple of years looking for good deals on video games. As a collector of old video games the car boot is a great chance to possibly find a game for a reasonable price that would otherwise go for some ungodly amount on eBay. In this article I’m going to give my personal tips on how to make the most out of the car boot.

Tip Number 1: Always Ask

You won’t necessarily have a lot of time at a car boot and sometimes you really don’t want to be routing through boxes and boxes of someone’s junk only to find a pair of used panties or something. Don’t be afraid to ask vendors if they have any video games. Be aware the person your asking is possibly not a gamer so you may need to actually give them examples of what your looking for. For example asking if they have any computer games? Sega games? Electronic games? Nintendo? Atari? ETC. Additionally if you do see a vendor that does have any games, ask them if they have any more. Sometimes they will pull out another box of goodies that weren’t on display. Sometimes they may even say they have some stuff back home that they would be whiling to sell you, in these cases you will have first dibs over other sellers. You never know. This tip applies to practically everything car boot related whether your making a offer, asking to look at a item or of course just asking the price. The worst you’ll hear is no so don’t be afraid get stuck in and just ask.

Tip Number 2: Going Early or Late

This is a fifty fifty thing. Do you head early to get first dibs on stuff that is on sale. This would be your best opportunity to find some pretty uncommon games or consoles before other game collectors or resellers catch up to you. The only problem with this is your more likely to pay a higher price. Vendors usually have to pay a fee to pitch up at at a site and will be keen to make that money back as soon as possible, Of course sometimes you will still find some amazing deals. The benefit of going late and as the sale is winding down, is most vendors are usually keen to get rid of the stuff they have left for a cheap price as they don’t want to be carting it home. If your really lucky you can get a really good deal if you take what they have left. It may mean having to also take a lotta shovel ware and some games you don’t want, but if it helps you get hold of that gaming gem then it’s worth it. You can always sell on or duplicates or give them away.

pds_boxTip Number 3: Making a Offer

Part of the experience is haggling. When you ask a vendor how much something is they will either give you a price or ask the magical question, “Make me an offer?” This can be a tough one as it can really make or break whether the vendor is going to give you a good deal. Remember your not going to get absolutely everything for nothing. Not every vendor is going to allow you to have something for a quid. My best advice here is to offer what you think the item is worth. If it is a Mega Drive game that is cart only and the label is half hanging off then offering a very small price is understandable. If you however come across a complete and boxed Sega Saturn with a copy of Panzer Dragoon Saga it might be a bit unreasonable to offer them a quid (but of course that is up to you). You also have to remember their is the possibility the vendor knows that it is worth. unfortunately with eBay being a thing that exists more and more vendors are expecting that people will pay eBay prices. This is of course a pain in the back side but its something that your just going to have to rise above and move on at times. I have heard many vendors say to me, “oh that game goes for a lot more on ebay.”  I don’t understand why they would sell stuff at a car boot if they are expecting eBay prices when they could just sell it themselves online but that’s the world we live in.

Tip Number 4: What’s your best price?

Building on tip 3 these four words are very likely to help you score a deal with almost every vendor. Again repeating tip 1 “Always Ask,” the worst you will ever hear is no. Asking a vendor if the price is there best comes across as a lot softer, the risk of course is most vendors will only go slightly less than the price advertised. For example if a console is being sold for 25 quid and you ask for the best price the vendor will probably drop 5 quid at most. This particular line works especially well if your trying to get a console with some games.

Tip Number 5: Bundle Up

If your going to buy multiple items from a vendor it makes sense to do the good old bundle routine and get a little more discount. For example if a vendor is selling various games for 2 quid a piece and you buy three why not offer 4 quid. This also works well if everything is priced differently maybe your getting a console that’s 10 quid, two games that are 3 quid each and a book that’s 1 quid, you could try offer 13 quid for the lot. Of course they might shoot an alternate offer back at you and then you play the game of deal table tennis until you settle on a price that you are both happy with. Most vendors will usually offer you a deal if you take every item off their hands. As mentioned above this could mean ending up with shovel ware or just some games you don’t want. At this point you really need to ask yourself is the price worth it for the stuff you don’t want. When I approach this situation the best way to think about it is pay what you would for the games or items you want and if the other stuff is thrown in too then why not go for it. Try to avoid spending more money on stuff you don’t want, its very easy to get carried away at car boots and end up with games and general junk you don’t actually want.

Tip Number 6: Be polite

You will of course come across a lot of colourful characters on your car booting quest. Some will be really nice and will want to tell you all sorts of tales. Some will be rude buggers who are really not worth your time. Every body’s different but it’s likely on your travels you may come across a vendor who probably has something you want but just won’t play ball. The most common example is the vendor has a game that really isn’t worth a whole lot of money like a common PSOne title and they will change you a crazy price for it. Now you can try and explain to them that the game is uncommon and not worth the price advertised, but more often than not this will usually upset the vendor and make them even more fictitious. As mentioned about “Always Ask” so ask if that’s the best price. Sometimes though even this won’t take and the best thing to do is just shut up and move on. At the end of the day its not the end of the world and who’s to say you won’t bump into that item again for a reasonable price in the future. You will often find vendors that are cheery and positive and more whiling to negotiate prices, additional don’t be afraid to talk to people and listen to their long story on how they used to play Atari. Occasionally you might come across a fellow game collector and contact as well.

Car-boot-2Tip Number 7: Expectations

Now it can sound quite exciting to route through stalls looking for those golden gaming deals but you really must temper those expectations and briefly think about why your going. More often than not you will find that you walk away with nothing or just a few common games. Every now and then though you will come across that console you really wanted or a stash of games with that one title you wanted to own. But it is all about persistence and the thrill of the hunt. With the popularity of the internet and more and more people getting into retro gaming it can be quite competitive out there to. A lot of people will head to these events as early as possible to scoop up the deals to then re sell in a shop or online. Don’t feel disheartened and don’t give up you will eventually come across that awesome find. If you have a day when its a complete bust just think a least you got a good walk out of it and could enjoy the outdoors.

So there’s a couple of tips to get you started before you go out on the hunt for retro goodness. I’m quite lucky that I get to enjoy the experience with my lady friend so we get quite a good laugh out of going round these places. If you do find something great be sure to share it with the community, there is nothing like finding an old console and letting other people know about it. With that all that’s left to say is good hunting my friends and enjoy the nice weather.

Written by jamalais

April 18, 2015 at 11:58 am

Posted in Blog

Tagged with , ,

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