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We talk about shopping at flea markets and the thrill of the hunt. It never gets old--anticipating, arriving, shopping, shopping, and all of the comaderie with vendors and shoppers with like interests. When we go to Alameda, we take the truck and concentrate on furniture and home accessories because, for one, there are unlimited options, and two, the loading of the truck is pretty convenient for two gals. This is where the hard work begins!


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When we get to this not-so-fun part, there are a lot of things to remember to take the stress out of this step.


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1. Notes! It is so important to take good notes. For us, we like to shop row by row. We make purchases and also ask certain vendors if they will hold the large items until the end of the day (which they are always happy to do as this could make or break a sale). We then write a brief list--row, space number, and how much we paid.


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2. Water, water, water...and the Feel Good Bakery! Before we go, Stacy will freeze water bottles so that we have cold water all day to keep hydrated. And the bakery? It does just what it claims, it makes us 'feel good'!!


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3. The collapseable carts are perfect to carry the essentials and to pack all the smalls and breakables in. The more you can fit in these carts, the better. When they are filled, we take the booty to the car to unload, then enter again by showing our stamped hand. We are then ready for more!


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4. When it is time to pick up the BIG items, we head to the loading area and pick up a cart. There are all different sizes and it is important to pick the proper size (it is so frustrating to wait for a cart only to see that someone is rolling away with one that only has a few items on it). On this particular trip, we had our list and loaded row by row.


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5. Once all our purchases are picked up, we head back to the loading zone. One of us will then pick up our vehicle and head back to "the zone". One of the nice "loader men" will usually flag us in, or have you wait until a space is available. Once we get a spot, we bring our load to the car and start loading. And now for the awesome part...if you need, these nice men will actually help you load! We make sure to tip them accordingly. On this trip, because there was a lot, we tipped ten bucks. He was so grateful and made an extra effort to see that everything was secure and tied down. The way I see it, ten dollars is worth it--so that my husband will not be irritated at me that I bought that last piece!


Basically, regardless of what everyone else is doing, use your manners, ask for help, and the whole experience can be totally fun! Happy Flea Marketing!


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