As a keen car booter and founder of www.onlinecarbooty.com I thought it would be of interest to point out some of the differences between an actual real world car boot sale and our online car boot sale. I will also discuss the pros and cons of each. I personally don't think you can beat the real thing.. The atmosphere, the excitement and anticipation of finding a bargain is second to none. This was my primary reason for creating a website which try's its very best to mimic this, attempting to retain a similar environment. Online Car Booty is the closest you'll find to the real thing.. It has a weekly start time of Sunday 3pm so that everyone gets in at the same time. It is also visually based around a car boot sale unlike other attempts out there.. We have paste tables!
I think the main 'pro' of an Online Car Boot Sale, is that if you pay a Seller through PayPal then you have more protection and rights to return an item if it is faulty. This however, doesn't mean returning faulty goods is not possible in the real world. However, returning items at real car boot sales can prove difficult for a few reasons.. Firstly, there is usually no proof of purchase and you will normally be dealing with the Seller without the help of a third party such as PayPal. A lot of faulty goods however, are not returned due to the plain and simple fact that the Buyer doesn't check them out until they arrive home. It then becomes a chore to have to return to the Car Boot Sale, maybe having to pay for re-entry and then trying to find the stall.
Speaking of getting lost at a car boot sale, another aspect we attempt to recreate at Online Car Booty is the randomness of finding an item or stall. We could easily add a SEARCH function to the sale but what's the point ? Doing this would eliminate the 'Hunt' which is where the fun is! It's worth noting that our virtual stalls are also set out in 'Aisles', again replicating a booty as best we can.
When I set up Online Car Booty I wasn't even aware of the next advantage of the site until I started receiving 'Thank you' emails.. Online Car Booty is absolutely ideal and easier to visit for the elderly and disabled. Many people struggle to get out to the real thing or indeed may struggle to find a car boot sale in their local area. Couple this with the fact that it NEVER rains at Online Car Booty and you will start to see why we are fast becoming the UK's No.1 choice.
As with many Buying/Selling sites, there is one big disadvantage over the 'Online' version and that is simply that you don't have the 'hands-on' experience. At a real car boot you can examine an item thoroughly from every angle. Bear in mind though and for reasons mentioned above.. At a real booty you NEED to thoroughly examine items for your safety. The one mistake I used to make a lot at real car boot sales was that I was that excited when I spotted something I was looking for, that I would rush to buy it and only give it a quick examination. Try not to do this! There are a lot of dishonest sellers out there and it's easy to miss the price label covering a crack in a vase or a spray painted LCD TV screen to hide the fact that the screen has cracked/leaked!
Finally, although we have a virtual burger van at Online Car Booty.. You simply can't beat a nice greasy overpriced quarter pounder with onions at 6 o'clock in the morning :-) Our burger van again adds a little authenticity to the car boot feel of things.
I would love to hear any other comparisons you can think of or indeed suggestions for the site. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you at www.onlinecarbooty.com
I agree that while there area lot of advantages of an online market over a real-life market, you just can't beat that atmosphere. One of the things I always look for at real markets is the meat trader. I know that won't be everyone's thing these days, but I easily spend most money, most frequently at the butcher's van.
I've already mentioned a few things that I'd like to see on the site and you've implemented at least one of those, so thanks for that. Something I would like, if possible (and it sort of ties in with the part of this blog where you mention examine things closely) is for the photo's to expand to a larger size when they are opened. I find the photo's are overall a bit on the small side and particularly when the trader hasn't been very clear with some photo's.
All the best