No, I have not worked with the circus, although selling was my business for most of my adult life. I do believe that showmanship creates the desired results, even at a flea market. The atmosphere of an outdoor market is less formal than at an antique show and with warm weather and lots of spring in both the air and everyone’s step, the buying season is in full swing.
I dress in casual clothes befitting an outdoor market, with normal shirt and Green Bay Packers hat and my special tie for the day. I have lots to choose from, and they span the gamut from wide hand-painted ties to narrow 60s ties. From club ties, to psychedelic designer ties, Christmas to advertising ties emblazoned with a company logo. Whatever the occasion, I remain the “Guy With The Tie.”
I have a warm greeting for competitors, a joke for patrons, and a good story line for questioning customers. Sometimes the truth of where and how I have acquired an item is an interesting story to repeat to potential buyers. A recent purchase of a partial estate of a long time railroad collector connects the items to his passion for anything associated with the Milwaukee Road. And all of our pharmaceutical paraphernalia comes from one drugstore with its own unique story of closing in the 50s and keeping their items in storage ever since.
But the Carney in me just seems to come out, especially when I have no idea where I purchased an item. Then most copper vessels, funnels, odd bent tubing or stone jugs came from the Kentucky hills, while sleigh bells are from a farm in Northern Wisconsin, and any boating related piece would naturally and nautically be connected to elegant Lake Geneva.
When the original function is in question and I am still baffled by a metal part having such a wonderfully ornate design that the original owner saw the beauty and could not scrap the piece, I’ll give some wild guess. Often taken for pure truth, but sometimes rebuked as pure fabrication. And the discussion goes back and forth. Ah! The joy of the business.