Wolff’s Flea Market Palatine | Palatine, 1775 N Rand Rd, Palatine, IL 60074
Open Saturdays and Sundays 8am to 4pm
Admission: Adults, $1; Seniors and kids 6-12, 50 cents; kids under 6 free.
Check the Daily Herald, Wolff’s email list, facebook and Twitter for occasional free admission coupons.
Scene: Housed in an old Menard’s, Wollf’s Flea Market of Palatine initially felt dark and warehouse-like. The air-conditioning is a respite from sweltering summer heat. The day we attended, a performer sang streams of loud, reggae-style kids’ music, almost raucous, but with a booty-shaking groove. Some customers and vendors lightly boogied in the aisles and booths, moved by the beat.
Personality: Wolff’s is campy and knows it, waving its tube socks high and proud.
People: Bargain shoppers, Hispanic families, searchers of the quirky and odd. Vendors were low-key, allowing shoppers to pursue in peace.
Goods: A smattering of everything from garage sale items, new merchandise, cheap import goods, collectibles, antiques, new toiletries/sundries, and authentic Mexican candy.
Three-fourths of the booths carried garage sale items or cheap China imports like men and women’s underwear, tube socks, tools, kitchenware, t-shirts, garish and frilly girls’ dresses, and kids’ toys with a questionable lead-paint content.
Antiques and collectibles spotted included comic books, Christmas Barbie, vintage ceramics, kitchenware, linens, framed art, Depression glass, retro-kitsch art, and 1920-60s magazine ads, appealingly displayed on the wall instead of in bins.
Of note were a certified seller of used computers and computer parts, a CD vendor, booths with bargain-priced new sundries and snacks. Another vendor sold vintage
Prices:Prices were mainly cheap, below retail. Newer goods are priced higher than used. Some antiques seem priced too high but the Depression glass was priced reasonably and on sale for 30% off. We spotted men’s ankle socks 3 for $10 and trendy-style boxer briefs 4 for $16.
Bargaining: Haggling is welcome, but be polite, ask first. Sellers of used/antique goods are willing to bargain unless the item is priced “Firm”. Sellers of new goods usually stick to the posted price.
Good to know: Wolff’s Palatine has an ATM and outlets for testing electronics. Be prepared to arrange for delivery of large items. No food is sold except American and Mexican snacks, and candy but consider the nearby Culver’s, Tore & Luke’ or Mexican restaurants for lunch.
- Bring cash. Most vendors prefer it; Cash gives you more bargaining leverage.
- Be aware of retail prices to know if you’re getting a good deal or not.
- Browse! Look over, underneath and around the booths; you may stumble across a surprise find. Arrive early for best selection.
- If you love it, buy it.
The Final Deal: This Examiner left Wolff’s Palatine empty-handed except for a few pocketfuls of cajeta caramels and spicy tamarind lollipops but she did see many potential bargains. It lacks the noisy, sprawling appeal of Wolff’s Rosemont, but is indoors and has air-conditioning. For the thrifty shopper, it’s a fun, cheap way to spend a Saturday morning and worth the crap-shoot.
Rating: 3 tube socks
Bargain-shoppers should take note of Jill Cataldo’s super-couponing workshop, offered at Wolff’s Palatine on Saturday, August 27 at 11am.