Sunday, May 25, 2014

Swap Meet and Flea Market Shopping in Southern California.

Once a month, I get up super early and go Flea Market and  swap-meet shopping. The swap-meet / Flea market is a place where I can find unique items at great prices. They carry many different things depending on the location.
ca swapmeets
The best part is that they are run by small business owners selling their goods or services in an open air market atmosphere, which means lots of great deals for me.  I go there with specific things in mind. My shopping categories include plants, clothing and gently used items. (A list of local flea markets and Swapmeet's can be found at the end of this post.)
fleamarket
I went last weekend and I was pleasantly surprised at some new finds. I found these super fun leggings. I bought them to wear with a dress, it turns out they work better for exercising. I have been using them to exercise to ease the pain on my joints. The leggings keep your legs warm long after a workout and easy the pain of exercise. They come in many designs and colors. They are very easy to wash and dry. They can be worn as leggings under a dress, exercise attire with a pair of shorts over them or under a pair of jeans to keep warm. The price was great at only 3 pairs of leggings for $10.00. In a large commercial store they may run $29.00 each or so depending on the season. I bought three to add to my winter wardrobe.
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Then, there were the succulent plants and Tulip bulbs for my small garden. I purchased 3 small succulent plants for $5.00 and the Tulip bulbs were 3 for $10.00. These same plants are prices much higher at the local nursery, if they even have the same selection in stock. The person selling them owns a nursery based out of San Marcos in San Diego County.  San Diego County is well known for great nurseries.  I did not have to drive 50 miles to get the quality and selection that is being sold at my local swap meet.  The plants were a great buy and the person who sold them to me took the time to explain how to care for them. The bonus in Swap meet shopping is you deal directly with the owner of the business. This allows you more buying power to receive deals or discounts when buy in large quantities. 
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As I was leaving with my purchases, I noticed a large crowd and was drawn to it immediately. Once I got up close, I saw that there were gently used books, CD’s and DVD’s for sale.  I was a little shy about asking for the price because there were no prices posted. (Look for posted prices.) When there is no price on the product it makes me feel as though they might be overpricing it; otherwise why would they hide it?  The sales person said, “Most books $1.00”.  Okay, I turned around and started looking for the $1.00 books to see if they would interest me. Not one book for me, but for my kids I found several. Books like Geronimo Stilton and Pok√©mon. Then I saw the gently used DVD’s and found 2 great ones for my kids from School House Rock and Because of Winn-Dixie. I think my total at that booth was $10.00 for two movies and 8 books.  Although I didn't find anything this time for myself, there are thousands of book titles on the tables in boxes.  I am sure a true book enthusiast would find a couple to add to their collection.
used books
Going to the Swap-meet has its ups and downs. One of the downs is that there are no refunds or guarantees of any kind. You buy items with the “AS-IS” disclaimer.  This means you get what you get and do not complain.  Vendors do not give any kind of guarantee like in a traditional store.  Another thing to consider is that it’s like a treasure hunt.  One weekend you might find lots of great stuff only to find out the following weekend your vendor decided to go elsewhere.  Most of the vendors deal in cash.  Like 75 percent of them deal in cash only because it costs too much money to operate with a fancy Debit card/MasterCard machine.  Bring cash and small bills are preferred to make the transactions easier and faster. There are ATM machines on site.  You will find no parking if you arrive after 8am because swap meet people are early risers. 
 swapmeet

The best part in swap-meet shopping is that you get to enjoy the outdoors of Southern California, while finding great deals on food, fashion and plants. If you do not find anything to buy for your home then do not forget to try out the fresh fruit sold in the food section. Sometimes they have the Coco and corn vendors selling fresh healthy treats to eat. My favorite is the Coconut drink and eats station at Orange Coast College Swap meet.
swapmeet food
Southern California has many Swap Meet / Flea Markets that are open on the weekends. Some of them are opened every weekend and others once a month. Please call before you plan on visiting to check dates and times. Here is a list of a few that I find fun and interesting.

Golden West College -Located at 15744 Golden West St. in Huntington Beach, CA  92647
Orange Coast College - Located at 2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Orange County Market Place - Located at 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 

Rose Bowl Swap Meet  Once a month -  Located 1001 Rose Bowl Drive Pasadena, CA 91103

San Bernardino Outdoor Market - Located 689 S E St, San Bernardino, CA 92408

Want to find a swap meet near you than here is a few links that will help locate them.