Thursday, 27 September 2012

VINTAGE: Differences Between the US & UK

Hunting for vintage goodies is a huge pastime on both sides of the Atlantic. But the methods and ways of finding them couldn't be any different - from car boots to estate sales lets have a closer look.

The car boot [pictured to the left] - the car boot sale appears to be very much a British pastime whereby individuals come to sell their items typically within a field or carpark through an organised selling. People park up, use their car boot [trunk to Americans] or tables and sell, sell, sell. Normally selling off former possessions they are similar to a flea market in seeing everything from antiques, collectibles to second hand clothing. But generally cheaper, a lot cheaper. This isn't to say they don't exist here in the US but they are much less heard of.

Yard/garage sales [also known as tag/porch/barn/basement/roof/carport sales] - you could say a yard sale is the somewhat American equivalent to the car boot although on a smaller scale and very much undertaken by the individual, multifamily or with the neighbours. Drive along any urban street once Spring hits and you'll see sign after sign directing you towards yard/garage sales - they are HUGE in the US. We've stopped at a couple but they tend to be more geared and ideal if you're after toys, baby items, clothes and things you'd traditionally find in a garage. The worlds longest yard sale in fact starts [or ends depending on which way you're driving] in Michigan - at 630 miles long it runs along Highway 27 whereby people just set our their tables along the road. 

Estate sales - these tend to dominate the American side of finding vintage stuff and are certainly a big hit in larger cities. Perhaps us British folk are  too passive and not wanting to be seen as nosey but it's a wonder they haven't made a mark on the UK scene. Estate sales tend to occur after the former owner has died or they are moving and need rid - some of the houses can be in bad states to other being in perfect condition - which often reflects on the prices you'll be paying. Sometimes they can be so busy, especially on the first morning that you have to wait to be allowed in.

Charity shops - while they certainly both exist both sides of the pond there are certainly differences. In the UK at least there are far more smaller, independent local charity shops for the local hospice then say in the US [or at least that is the case within metro Detroit]. As with many things the US goes to town and the stores tend to be a lot larger with more national brands like The Salvation Army and Goodwill. They also tend to be a lot more used too.

The similarities between the two nations certainly exist when it comes to antique and flea markets where you can either find yourself grabbing a great deal or being seriously over priced. Sometimes there's just no difference!

Where are your favorite places to go vintage picking?!

11 comments:

  1. I definitely need to get myself to an estate sale soon. I think I will add it to my Fall to-do list.

    Tracy @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights

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    1. It'll be a lot nicer to visit them in the fall - certainly cooler with many of these houses never having the AC on during the summer months!

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  2. I'm surprised you didn't mention one of the most un-British yet totally British cut-throat tussles . . . the jumble sale!! The only time Brits push, shove and haggle with total abandon! You can take your life in your hands in search of that thrifty fix! ;-)

    Jem xXx

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    1. Haha too true - I totally forgot about them. We never really had them in my neck of the woods but I hear some amazing stories about them!

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  3. What fab comparisons!
    We used to have Estate sales in the UK when I was little but I haven't seen one in years. I think it's easier for the bereaved to just get a house clearance person in than to deal with each and every item and rake up old memories.
    My favourite place to get a bargain is the good old jumble sale. I'm sure they exist in the States and go by the term, rummage sale! x

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  4. LOVE estate sales! But then again I'm really nosy, lol.

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  5. i wish there were better shops in England for vintage! the 'vintage' shops here are more expensive than normal shops! i do need to do a car boot sale soon though!

    http://lorihearts.blogspot.co.uk/

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  6. i love this! and something i'd never considered. i love the differences betwixt the two countries

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  7. How interesting. I love your posts like these. It is always interesting to see how different and similar the other side of the pond is :] I love hitting up thrift shops, but I really want to start going to more estate sales.

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  8. I have always dreamed of going to a garage sale, ever since watching Ghost World for the first time. I think the Brits are way more cautious when it comes to parting with stuff, especially now as people are wanting to get higher prices for something that would only usually be worth a couple of pounds xxx

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