Written by Brian Dawson.
Photos by Brian Dawson
[singlepic id=688 w=300 h=233 float=right]It was allegedly the largest Swap Meet EVER held in South Africa! 67 tables were set out in the Northmead Mall on Saturday 25th March 2017! ALL the major traders were there, as well as many new smaller traders and individuals…
A large group of committed club members were there at 6:30am on Saturday morning to start setting up. ColinTT and Jimmy had to make a special arrangement with the Mall Management for us to get in earlier than the normal 7:00am opening time, because of all the extra work that would be involved in getting ready for this biggest ever Swap Meet.
[singlepic id=687 w=300 h=233 float=left]Traditionally, the hired tables have been delivered to the Mall on the Friday, and placed in stacks outside the club premises, and then carried by hand from there to where they are required. This time, mindful of all the extra tables to be moved, ColinTT had the foresight to have the tables placed by the supplier onto the club’s HO exhibition layout trolley at the club-room door. So when we arrived, we started by offloading those tables required closest to the club room (to lighten the load a bit), and then wheeled the trolley-load to the far end of the Swap Meet area (right up near Maxi’s), and then offloaded and set up tables, moving back along the mall towards the club room entrance. Good thinking, Colin! And also due to Colin’s meticulous measurement and planning beforehand, we again had print-outs of exactly how the tables were to be set out in order to fit them all in to the available space. It worked out perfectly!
[singlepic id=686 w=300 h=233 float=right]Next came the black tablecloths. Fortunately the committee had had the foresight to have ten extra tablecloths made up before the Swap Meet (thank you, Dianne Mattushek, for buying the material, and doing all the sewing!). Even with 60 tablecloths there still weren’t enough, and we had to “stretch” them a bit to get all the tables covered.
And while the tables were being covered, the first traders started arriving. Which meant the off-loading started!…. Our club has the wonderful reputation of being the friendliest and most helpful club as far as assisting the Swap Meet traders is concerned. This time was no exception, and all hands were on deck to carry boxes and boxes, and push trolleys, and help in every imaginable way, assisting the traders to get their tables set up and Page 24 of 27 their stocks set out. And covered!! (Yes, many of the traders heeded Colin’s instruction to cover their wares as soon as they were set up, so that trading would ONLY start at 9:00am, as advertised (it has been agreed that this is a crucial rule for the Swap Meet, to put a stop to unscrupulous “pretrading” and reservation of items before trading is supposed to begin!).
While we were setting up tables, the Sausage Saloon set up their mobile wagon at the entrance, and appeared to do a roaring trade throughout the morning. As did Maxi’s and the other food suppliers in the mall!… And the club’s kettle and small “kitchenette” also worked overtime providing coffee and tea for the traders and club members… Meanwhile, inside the club room, all the layouts were readied for operation, so that there would be trains running on all the tracks to show off our activities to the interested public. And there were trains running on all the layouts during the course of the morning (and well into the afternoon as well)! We even had a visitor running a triple-headed 40 wagon container consist on the N gauge layout (under supervision, of course!).
The Swap Meet was well attended by the public (a little slow to get going initially, but picking up nicely later by all accounts), and the traders reported that they were happy with the trade on the day. The club made a bit of money by hosting the Swap Meet, and all the buying public scored from the many bargains that were to be found on the tables!
There is an EXCELLENT video of this latest Swap Meet on the club’s Facebook Page (the video is hosted on YouTube), as well as a number of other photos taken during the Swap Meet.
And afterwards, the same willing hands packed away the tables and cloths, and helped traders to carry left-over stock back to their vehicles.
And now we look forward to hosting the next Swap Meet on 24th June! And we’re still looking for a Swap Meet Organiser (committee position), to take over from Colin TT, who organised this one as a last “special arrangement”, seeing that he has retired from doing this in addition to everything else he used to do! So – who is man enough to take on the job?