I ran across this information and I wanted to share it with you because I think the gent who wrote it is right on target and I can certainly agree with the 12 rules. If you want to research this further, check out this splendid website:
12 Rules of Crate Digging and Record Collecting Etiquette
"A little while ago I was doing some thorough digging at a Chicagoland flea market when I ran across a dealer yelling at the top of his lungs that he had a box of 45’s for $5 to the first person that could find it in his pile of stuff. You better believe that your boy Semantik was the first person to find the stash and check out the goods. However, being the first to lay claim to the vinyl, I didn’t expect to have another record junkie hovering over me while I satisfied my digging fix. To make matters worse, the scrubby dude, probably in his late 40’s or early 50’s, started mumbling to himself about the titles in the box and was overcome with a crazed look in his eyes. I kept digging and after a while the guy left, but after I subdued the urge to practice the Karate Kid foot sweep, it occurred to me that not every record fiend is consciously aware that there’s a certain etiquette required of those who choose to partake this habit. This of course leads to… Crate Kings Digging and Record Collecting Etiquette 101."
1) Don’t hover over people already digging in a section, bin, or box that you would like to get into.
2) When using a portable turntable or record player, ask if it ok to sample the goods before using it. I’ve never been denied or questioned about its use and many times it sparks a pretty good conversation about music, which, more often than not, can lead to behind the counter items.
3) Learn to properly hold a record when checking the condition. I know this sounds a little rudimentary, but you’d be surprised how many beginners will pick up a pristine piece of vinyl and touch the flat surface with their fingers. The proper way to open a record is to gently pull out the inner sleeve, rotate the open side of the inner sleeve to the side, and allow gravity to let the record slide into the webbing of your hand in between the you thumb and index finger while balancing the record on the label opposite your vision using your middle and ring fingers. Using this technique will show that you know what you’re doing and respect the precious vinyl. Many dealers will clean or polish records to highlight the condition and support their asking price. Using the stance will also prevent you from getting funny looks from the already high strung cats behind the counter.
4) Do not scratch the records when listening to them. Another common sense rule that is ignored more often than you think. If the store provides a turntable for previewing items, please do not try to get a feel for the vinyl by giving it a quick backspin, scribble, or tear. It’s just not cool.
5) Do not dig outside of your bin or row if someone is digging next to you.
6) Move records that you’ve selected out of the way of those digging next to you.
7) If drinking a beverage, hold it away from the record bins and dig with one hand.
8) It’s ok to negotiate prices under certain conditions. Records shows and flea markets are always open game and aggressive price negotiation is not only welcomed, but expected.
9) Say hello when approaching dealer tables and lift your head up from the bins every now and then to show that you’re a sociable human being.
Unfortunately, many vinyl collectors and beat diggers have a well deserved reputation for being antisocial, isolated, and compulsive. Then again, dealers, also being collectors themselves, are often stranger than their clientele.
10) Put any items you are interested into a pile and keep it in your vicinity. If someone pulls something that you were interested in and you didn’t show reasonable effort to lay claim, then you’ve forfeited all claim to that record.
11) Place already items purchased from another store or dealer in a bag to avoid confusion about what record was gotten where.
12) Treat other people’s records like they are your own. What you pass over will ultimately end up in the collection of someone else and vice versa.