WARD’S WORLAD: By John ward
Like or loathe them, the car boot sale is now a part of our culture. My mother defined them as ‘alternative jumble sales’ and she could well be right in that this is basically what they are, as even a table is used to display the assorted baubles and items that will hopefully be sold. I look upon this in a certain light as another form of recycling.
Not so long ago I witnessed two organisers reading their riot act to a person setting up his table to sell freshly-laid eggs without a lion stamped on them
I like having a look round a sale that will hopefully yield a nugget of a bargain and, the second reason, to observe the delightful, at best: the people who buy and sell at these sales, as they can be rather entertaining.
I still savour the attempted selling of a single walkie-talkie, or two-way radio if you prefer, which was quoted as being a ‘top of the range, pukka pro bit of kit, mate’ by the seller – which, when you think about it, offered a vast universe to make friends with another person thus blessed with, perhaps, the other radio, or on the same wavelength – pun intended.
Some organisers offer quite mind-blowing interpretations of how their rules apply to assorted goods being sold.
Not so long ago I witnessed two organisers reading their riot act to a person setting up his table to sell freshly-laid eggs without a lion stamped on them. The seller pointed out that the eggs were all but hours old, freshly laid, and his chickens were not equipped with a rubber stamp at the eggs’ exit into this world.
But this was all to no good, he was forced to pile his stock into his car and made to leave the site.
About 20 yards away on another stall, among other bits and bobs on sale, there were three very sharp Japanese Samurai-type swords with razor sharp blades, in full view, posing the question: Which would you, as Mrs and Mrs Public, like to be attacked with should the case arise – a non-lion-stamped egg or a Samurai sword?
Another moment of intellectual exchange was when a man selling a set of golf clubs, complete with bag and trolley, was approached by a prospective buyer pointing out they were a left handed set. After a lot of examining and suchlike, the seller inquired if the said potential buyer was left-handed, to which he replied no, but as the price was right, he could stand and hold the clubs the ‘other way round’ when playing. To say the seller’s face was a classic would be an understatement.
One thing that really insults is the supposed sales clincher of the seller pointing out that the object in question is a bargain by suggesting that ‘one similar went for £100’ on a well known online auction site, so here today at £25 is a bargain. But common sense says that if such an item or items can go for such sums, why are you trying to sell it cheaply when it could be sold for the supposed higher sum online?
The very essence of these sales is genuine but it’s the laughter that comes as a bonus to my mind.