There is, I believe, an unspoken 'etiquette' amongst most dealers who go out early morning brocanting. Picture the scene.You have spotted something you want and realise that you can`t live without it and simply have to have it. But........ it is being held by another dealer while they ask the price; or even worse, they decide to hold it and have a full blown conversation about the weather, the high price of hay and even next door's dog before they ask the price. So, what do you do? You have to stand as close as possible but must not show any interest at all, but instead pretend you are interested in another item. Why? Because if you show that you want the item being held by someone else it is always a sure fire way to make them buy it! But if you wait for them to discard it the minute it leaves their fingers, then it is fair game - and can be yours!!!!
However, there are the odd dealers who do not respect this unwritten rule!!! On one occasion I had asked for and been told the price of a delicious lamp - and I kept it in my hands whilst I looked to see if there was anything else on the same stand that I wanted so I could negotiate a better price for the two or three items. Unbeknown to me whilst I was doing this, a Parisian lady dealer ( I use the term "lady" loosely for this 'madame'!) had overheard the price I was given and within a moment had handed over the money to the vendor and simply snatched the item out of my grasp and promptly walked away with it without so much as a "merci"!. HUH! Technically I hadn`t paid for it..... but madam.....etiquette please!!! How I wish my French was a little better to deal with such occasions - but I suppose what I would have wanted to say would not have been taught to me in school lessons in any event!
Sometimes, albeit on rare occasions, a dealer will even snatch something from your hands whilst you are still looking at it. Fortunately these dealers are few and far between and if they do it to a French colleague a huge fracas usually breaks out and brings the brocante to a stand still. Again I have always wished my French was up to it on such occasions. But I always think that if someone is THAT desperate to have an item that they behave in such a cut throat manner then, heavens,let them have it I say. I really enjoy brocanting - and if it came to me having to be that avaricious then that would be the time for me to retire!
There is sometimes a time when I am unsure exactly what the etiquette should be. Yesterday morning a man arrived at the brocante with a whole host of stunning things from his attic and, needless to say, he was swamped immediately by buyers crowding around his stand. I managed to lean over in the crush to look at some old linen feedsacks thrown out on the pavement - only to feel a head pop through my legs! I peered down to find a strange man on all fours behind me with his head between my knees looking at some old militaria! SO...what was I to do? Should I have said "Bonjour"? Should I have slapped him and shouted "How very dares you, Monsieur"? Or should I have simply grabbed his ears, sat down and ridden him like a racing pig up the street?
Who knows - but I bought the sacks anyway!!!!
And then, finally,my pet hate. The backpack brigade! Many dealers go out early morning carrying a huge backpack in which to place their finds. Okay, so I can see it leaves your hands free to pick up items; but, why oh why do they always seem to forget what they have one on their back when they turn around in front of you and smack you in the face with it? I have been back-packed at dawn so many times this weekend that I am going to carry a pair of scissors and cut the shoulder straps off the next person's backpack who bashes me!!! What if, as they hit me, I was to swing on it from behind to see whether they would end up floundering on their back like an upturned turtle? Tempting.....so tempting!
I could never say my weekends are boring!!!!
I have found some adorable treasures over the last two days and shall be listing them this week. I didn`t however buy these geese!!!! They would have been fun to pack and post!