Bazaar advice: If you love it, buy it
STUTTGART, Germany — Carissa Schnell didn’t have to shop around because she already had.
“I knew my style and what I liked, so I didn’t bother with the other vendors,” said Schnell, a teacher at Böblingen Elementary School.
On Friday, Schnell was shopping and buying at the annual Stuttgart Community Spouses Club Spring Bazaar, which continues through Sunday. She is hooked on Pauline Everitt’s antique oak furniture, and Friday she paid $850 for a mirrored hall tree and $650 for a court cupboard.
And she had her eye on more stuff. Each year she pays Everitt a visit.
When she and her husband, an Army captain, are transferred back to the States or wherever, they’ll have a load of matching antiques to take with them.
“This might be our last year here,” she said. “So I want to go out with a bang.”
Bazaars are an overseas military tradition, where international vendors bring their wares to bases, and Americans plunk down their cold cash. Or plastic. Or a check.
The vendors at Stuttgart’s bazaar are like the ones at Ramstein, Heidelberg, Würzburg or anywhere else. Often it’s the same dealers — from England, Poland, Italy, Germany — selling authentic goodies.
Seventy-nine vendors have brought goods to the Stuttgart event. There are plates, silverware, carpets, and goods made of wrought iron, crystal and porcelain.
Some Stuttgart shoppers attend only this once-a-year event, while others also drive to Kaiserslautern or Mannheim for the bazaars there. The veterans say the one-stop shopping is easier than traipsing the continent.
Seasoned shoppers had advice for the neophytes.
“Have an open mind and don’t let the price tag scare you,” Schnell said. “I have not regretted any of the purchases I’ve made.”
They also say it pays to pay. Some feel that he who hesitates is lost.
“Look, and if it’s something you really love, and it’s probably not something you’re going to see in the States, then buy it,” said Edna Nolan, wife of a retired sailor, who’s been going to bazaars for more than nine years in Italy and Germany.
“For someone who is here for only one tour, it’s perfect. You have everything from all the countries in one place at one time.”
Others prefer a more cautious approach. Andrea Abernathy, a systems administrator for the U.S. European Command, suggested a three-day plan.
“Take your time,” she said. “On the first day, peruse, maybe taste a little wine. On the second day, come back in mind with what you want to purchase.
“On the third day, come back for what you forgot.”
If you’re going ...What: Stuttgart Community Spouses Club Spring Bazaar
When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
Where: Patch Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany
Proceeds: Vendors pay a percentage of their sales to the club, which donates the proceeds to local charities. At last year’s bazaar, the club raised more than $108,000 for scholarship, sports teams, scouts and other organizations.