Car Boot Sales

Stephanie asks:

“Do you or any of your readers know of any half-decent boot sales around the area? I’m looking to sell off some bits and bobs but am slightly wary of naively turning up in a semi-decent car and seen as rich-pickings. Any hints or tips would be gratefully received.”

The Phantom has only ever tried car-booting twice – both were spectacular disasters. The first was in the multi-storey car park in Lewisham about ten years ago. It was a big commercial one and I seemed to be the only person not selling knocked-off designer handbags, miracle-wonder-gadgets or dodgy tea towels. It was horrid. I don’t even know if it still exists, but if it does, avoid it.

The second time was even worse – in a scrap metal yard just off Brick Lane. It was unspeakably bad – I was a lamb to the slaughter.

My friends tell me the best ones to look out for are the much more genteel table-top sales that churches and schools often hold – far more ‘genuine’ sellers and less hassle all round. Also the money you pay for the pitch goes to charity. Look out for them in the local paper.

Other people may have more positive impressions, but I for one will never car-boot again. Ebay is ok, though you’ll pay for absolutely everything. You can list stuff on Gumtree for nothing, and it’s gaining popularity over Ebay which is rapidly becoming a dealers’ domain – more like an online mall – great if you’re looking for stuff, but not as quirky as it used to be.

And if you need to get rid of things but not actually sell them, charity shops are always happy to have good stuff (Bexley Cottage Hospice will collect furniture, though they can’t take electric stuff, I don’t think) and Freecycle, though occasionally frustrating when flaky people mis-use it, is a fantastic way of keeping stuff out of landfill.

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