As we approach 20 years since the start of Bargain Hunt, although it blatantly doesn’t mark the birth of the ‘bargain’, it does put into context the fact that we real do enjoy a good deal.
It’s a good feeling to get your money’s worth and, perhaps out of burning jealousy or because it is stereotypical easy watching daytime tv drivel, as viewers we just lap it up.
In 2016, it was highlighted that on one instance, a repeat of Bargain Hunt drew more viewers than critically acclaimed drama Peaky Blinders. This left people asking questions of the BBC for their uninspiring schedules, but it’s undeniable that there is something about the show that has a certain attraction.
In fact, it’s not just Bargain Hunt– there’s a whole host of other deal-doing series that we are liable to binge watching and they’re stepping up their game. Not only are there now shows that spur interest in getting good value for money but there are those in which the presenter finds other people’s rubbish or neglected antiques and goes about transforming or restoring.
Shows like The Repair Shop see another one mans trash become another’s treasure in a trend that has, perhaps emerged due to the austerity measures that have forced us to watch the pennies and squeeze money out of every possible avenue.
Until fairly recently it seemed that repurposing a couple of vintage armchairs into a coffee table was a bit of a farfetched prospect and, for the large majority of us, it still is.
There is, however, a whole network of bargains to be had, and not all of them require as much effort as your full-scale upcycling project.
In fact, most of them don’t require much effort at all, with people practically giving away items just because they bare no value to them in their given situation. Yes, it’s been the case that sites like eBay have long offered a forum for second hand trading but, in 2016, the game changed.
One of the issues with eBay was the lack of personability and the daunting nature of the auction set up. It’s fair to say that, with some research, you can get your money’s worth and then some – with minimal effort and the product delivered to your door. Pretty good!
However; for those who are more at home at a carboot sale than in an auction house and who perhaps relied on Classified adverts in their local newspaper for their spontaneous buys, the international, online marketplace may inspire more dread than excitement.
As internet use is starting to become more and more entwined with that of social media, the functionality of websites like Facebook is increasing and taking on the role of news platforms, community forums, website providers and, more recently the second-hand marketplace.
Facebook Marketplace is a convenient, localised treasure trove and if you don’t think you’re interested, take a look. It’s deceptively cheap and, if your local area is a city like Brighton, there is a constantly changing stock of things that you didn’t know you wanted.
You’re bank balance won’t look pretty if you are prone to sporadic shopping sprees but, if you hone in on something that you really need and wait out for it to pop up, chances are it will be the cheapest you will be able to find it.
If you really get into it, it’s possible to turn quite a significant profit, once you get to know what you are looking at. People often don’t know the value of what they are getting rid of and if you get to a stage when you can spot a good deal and you don’t have a problem with hording then sell it on for a profit and get a bit of extra cash to piss up the wall on a Tuesday night.
Some might say that too good a bargain is slightly immoral. Should you not give the seller an amount of money that closer resembles what their item is worth? Well you can but that defeats the point.
What goes around comes around and if they didn’t do the research then all they are doing is supporting the second-hand ecosystem by luring new customers with some rather tempting bait. If they aren’t looking for the extra money, chances are they aren’t needing it anyway.
The second hand buying and selling market is a wild west. A first come first serve free for all with bargains galore and plenty of disappointment to be had but if you play your cards right and master the tricks of the trade you might just save some much needed money.