Official - boot sales have no class

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Indy Politics

Car boot sales are an unmissable weekly ritual for bargain hunters and amateur traders. Now a leading think-tank has found that these often unkempt weekend rituals have become the only truly classless place in Britain.

Car boot sales are an unmissable weekly ritual for bargain hunters and amateur traders. Now a leading think-tank has found that these often unkempt weekend rituals have become the only truly classless place in Britain.

Preliminary findings from a study by Demos, the independent research body which tracks social trends, has identified three distinct types of people who frequent these open-air markets who would not mix in any other setting.

First are the low-income bargain hunters - asylum-seekers and single mothers, for example, who do not necessarily have a car but go along to take advantage of cheap household goods. These will find themselves mingling with the "fashionista bohos" - art-school types looking for stylish nick-nacks to decorate their lofts, or vintage records and clothes. And third are the "middle Englanders", affluent men and women looking for "treasures" among the junk.

Published later this year, the Demos study, called The Space Hunters, will argue that people are drawn to places like car boot sales because they feel excluded from the high street.

There are now more than 100,000 regular car boot sales and markets across the country. But they have been blamed for the demise of traditional markets, and some are used by unscrupulous gangs selling counterfeit designer labels and DVDs.

Melissa Mean of Demos said that car boot sale amateurs are being supplanted by professionals looking to take advantage of the ignorance of stallholders about the value of their goods.

Additional reporting by Simon Jessop

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