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Bargaining the Brimfield Way

Behind The Scenes at Brimfield, The Largest Outdoor Antiques and Collectibles Market in the United States
Melissa Milgrom
From the Print Edition:
Claudia Schiffer, Jul/Aug 97

A convoy of trucks lines Massachusetts' Route 20. The vehicles overflow with belongings that once knew homes. Having traveled for miles, the drivers must now construct makeshift shelters in the evening rain. The hammering of spikes resounds in the dark valley as hundreds of tents and tarps transform a staid rural community into a city.

A man dressed in hooded rain gear methodically shines his flashlight, scoping tent after tent. Without hesitation he signals his base on a walkie-talkie, "No. Nothing here." He moves on. His actions are repeated by other scavengers; the most well-prepared have strapped coal miner flashlights to their foreheads, freeing their hands to forage.

At 5:45 a.m. the rain lets up long enough to allow a prowler to peek into the back of a paneled truck and make a secret purchase. Soon, the field is overrun with flocks of people in yellow raincoats who briskly rummage through piles of dusty goods.

"Nothing?"

"Let's go."

"C'mon. Make up your mind. The road's down here."

Frantically, a man runs from person to person demanding, "Anything military?"

"No."

"Anything military?"

"No."


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