My car boot sale purchases

When I go to a car boot sale, I am always on the lookout for old consoles to add to my collection. In the past couple of years however there has been fierce competition in the local car boot sales. Traders go from one car boot sale to another in the same day looking for items like consoles to buy and sell and make a quick profit.

I have no problem with this except for the tactics they use. Its almost like a hunt. They sometimes work in packs and can be rude and unscrupulous. The start by approaching cars before they even get parked up and then ask the drivers if they have any of the items they are looking for.  They also rummage through peoples car boots as they are trying to set up their stalls. I know what I would do if they tried to go in my boot!

They then use various intimidation and ‘wont take no for answer’ tactics until they purchase the item. They will push other people out of the way and even try to take stuff out of another potential buyers hands. I am often walking around the car boot sale listening to one trader bragging to another but how he just got his latest acquisition at a steal and I can see the box of an old console I recognise sticking out of their oversized bags. They are ruining the car boot sales. Arguments amongst each other and sellers occur every week and security often have to move overzealous buyers and traders away from someone’s car when they see a crowd gathering. Thefts from people’s stalls are also common.

I don’t have the cheek to approach a car before it even stops and certainly wouldn’t fight me way into someone’s boot just to get something I wanted but I still get my hands on a bargain every now and then. Sometimes it’s just luck and I see a console appear in someone’s stall just as I’m passing. Some car booters will deliberately not sell to the traders now as they know they will never get a fair price. Again this is where I can benefit. I buy to collect for myself, not make a profit, although I still like to know I got a good price for whatever it is I’m buying.

Last Sunday, I came across one of the large vans that are selling items from house clearances. Sometimes these guys have interesting items. There are two problems with these types of sellers.:

  1. They don’t know anything about the item, whether its working or how to use it.
  2. They treat the items badly often damaging them.

On Sunday, I saw two items of interest on this sellers stall. One was a retro 1980’s Atomic Pinball game. The other was an Atari 520ST computer in a box. I didn’t even bother asking the seller whether they were working but he told me he wanted £30 for the two. They are worth more than this if they are working. Normally I would walk away without some confidence in the seller but I decided to take a gamble and ended up paying £25 for the two (technically, Debbie bought them for me).

When I got them home, I noticed the Atari’s box was a little damp and when I opened the box the bottom of the computer was slightly wet. I hoped it had just been stored poorly and left it to dry out for a couple of hours.

Whist I waited I popped some D cells into the Atomic Pinball and it worked fine.

After tuning my old TV into the Atari, I was surprised to see it fire into life and display its GUI desktop. It had some disks with it but these were just blank ones. Will need to order some software from Ebay me thinks.

The good news, they work. The bad news is that I have to find somewhere for them to live.


The Atari 520ST in action: