Now, I’m not telling you how to suck eggs, but from what I understand, ‘car boot sales’ or ‘boot fairs’ (if you’re posh) are mainly a British phenomenon. The most similar thing you would find in the U.S. would be a flea market, I guess. In my country, people usually converge on some large field or unused spacious concrete space early on a Sunday morning to buy used goods from another person. They don’t actually sell second-hand goods from the boot of their car, as such, but usually on a trestle table in front of it – or from a scabby suitcase. Anyway, that established, I’m here today to advise you how much I despise the car boot sale. Or as I like to call them, ‘tables ‘o’ crap!’. They could easily have made it onto my ‘Things that make me go boom’ list, but they’re so despicable, I felt they required a blog post of their very own (I’m just surprised I haven’t written it before [I think I haven’t written it before…]).
I suppose boot sales wouldn’t irritate me so much if I wasn’t forced to attend them quite so often. I could just ignore their very existence on a Sunday morning, but my husband loves them. So much so, he sometimes visits two or three in one morning. I almost dread the Spring/Summer seasons when the ‘booties’ all start up again. It’s my own fault, really. When my husband pipes-up that he’s off to the local bootie, and would I and the kids like to join him, the children almost always readily agree. I sort of um and ah for a bit, and I search the recesses of my mind as to why I don’t enjoy them, and I can never quite remember. I tell myself, ‘oh, they’re alright on a hot and sunny day – you might even see something you like’. And so I reluctantly accept. Every bloody year I fall for it. But then I arrive at that field swarming with other punters on that not-so-warm-and-sunny morning, because it now resembles the windswept tundra, and I’m stuck there in the middle of nowhere for the next two hours. It’s only then that I remember the horror; the absolute horror.
Like a wind-up toy, off my husband goes in systematic lines: First up the left-hand side of the first row, then back down the right-hand side of the first row. Next row. First up the left-hand side of the second row, then back down the right-hand side of the second row. Next row. Ad infinitum. And the kids and I trundle after him as he clack-clack-clacks through any box of vinyl albums he comes across. Clack-clack-clack. Next box. Clack-clack-clack. Next box. Clack-clack-clack. Initially, I stand behind him awaiting him to finish rummaging through record boxes, until I decide that this is intolerable. Then I wander off at breakneck speed right down the CENTRE of each row (unthinkable!), only briefly glancing left and right – until I have blitzed the entire boot fair in less than seven minutes. And it’s only then that I realise I have again made that hideous mistake that I make at the start of every boot sale season – whilst I am slowly driven out of my bloody skull due to the mind-numbing boredom!!
I’ll tell you the problem with booth sales; you’re rifling through tables and boxes and suitcases of other people’s sh*te, when you already have a houseful of sh*te at home! That’s the very reason these sellers are there! When what we really should be doing is selling a car-boot-full of our own crap to claw back a bit of household space – not filling it up with more sh*te!
I’m sorry, that was an unnecessarily angry paragraph. But you get the gist. Last week I point-blank refused to go along with my husband and family (I’d had an intensely dull experience the Sunday before). They said nothing, though did try to give me the ‘guilt-trip eyes’, but I stood firm and said, ‘I’m not falling for that again!’. So in my absence, my husband and children had a competition to each buy me an item which cost less than a pound – an item I was likely to have picked up myself and purchased – hence proving to me that boot sales are indeed a wonderful thing. The family would bring the items home for my perusal (not letting on who bought what) and I would choose the winning item. My husband purchased me two boxes of sachet-medication that I occasionally have to take (out of date, no less, and lest we forget, from a car boot sale [slightly suspect to buy second-hand medication, perhaps?]) and he spent a princely sum of £1. My eldest daughter brought back a drinking glass with Velma from Scooby-Doo emblazoned over it (it turns out she really bought it for herself) for a bargain 20p. My youngest daughter bought me a 2-DVD workout box-set from my current favourite celebrity instructor, Davina McCall – at only 50p. Needless to say, my youngest daughter won. At 50p, I probably would have bought that DVD box-set. The Velma glass is now proudly displayed in my eldest daughter’s room holding pens (because it never really was intended for me, and frankly, I don’t want it), and the medication sachets are now in the bin. But thanks for trying, everyone, you’re all winners to me, but don’t feel the need to repeat the exercise. And I must just state for the record, I regret nothing; I spent a thoroughly lovely morning pottering about the house by myself and not up and down boot sale isles.
Am I being unfair about car boot sales? Possibly (no, but I’m prepared to consider it). Still, it would be remiss of me to say that I have never bought a fairly useful item from a bootie (I’ve been to enough of them, so even I couldn’t go home empty-handed every time). I recently bought a brand new table-top compost bin. And once I bought a cat carrier a few days before my cat was due at the vets. Oh, and one time, I bought a Reebok Step (one of those aerobic jobbies from when ‘step classes’ were a thing and before I realised I had very little coordination). I remember the lady-seller telling me she’d only just got it down from her loft that morning. And I actually said to her, ‘yes, and I’m just going to take it home to put it up in mine‘ (how true that turned out to be). So you see, I think the only point in going to a boot sale is when you actually need something. And you want to get that something for a very reduced price (even lower than Amazon). Otherwise, if you go with absolutely nothing in mind, you’re just scouring over tables full of tat for nothing. And even if there was something amazing hidden in that scabby box or suitcase, you just can’t see for looking. Some might say, ‘one man’s junk is another man’s treasure‘. But I just say, no; first it was your old crap, and now (sadly), it’s my old crap.
PS: Whilst surreptitiously shooting the above photos during a recent bootie, my husband sighed under his breath, ‘I bet you’re going to write an angry blog about car boot sales, aren’t you?’. Ha-ha-ha, how well he knows me… *muses*
PPS: I needn’t worry about how to get out of tomorrow’s boot sale, my name will be mud in my house after writing this blog…