Now that we’re about to enter into the long descent (oil is now officially declared to be in decline by 2012, with global demand shortfalls of 10 million barrels per day predicted by 2015), it’s probably a good idea to start developing some slightly more useful skills.
All you so-called ‘free market’ fans pay special attention, this is about dealing with real free markets, not those abominations of corporate oligarchies known as big box retailers, that receive the benefit of this term with virtually no critical thought at all.
Let it first and foremost be noted – I love free markets. I love local markets, I love the interaction, the process of getting to know the various proprietors, the products they have, the way they treat you, if you get ripped off, if you find a great deal, whatever. I love the whole thing. I also love farmer’s markets, for the same reasons, plus the added one that the food is simply better, and cheaper often, than supermarkets, but that’s a topic for another posting.
Obviously, not everywhere has a vibrant flea market locally, some only have the more antique type ones, which are useless if you’re actually looking for something useful or cheap, if that’s your case in your area, sorry, this posting won’t do you much good.
Shopping, Price, and Bartering
If you’re used to unfree markets, like for example Walmart, Target, Safeway, Lucky’s, Vons, and so on, entering into real free markets might come as something of a shock. First of all, the prices aren’t set in any predictable manner. They don’t have sales, although you can try to barter for items if you think the price is too high.