Summer is right in our faces again, like an inebriated gentleman expressing inappropriate love for someone he doesn’t actually know, and that can only mean one thing. Actually, that’s a lie. It probably means all kinds of things, but this site isn’t a thesaurus or a physicist or whatever, so don’t worry about it. All you need to worry about is flea markets. Like fleas themselves, flea markets proliferate in the warm weather, offering up bargains galore and the plague. But all flea markets are not created equal. Some are built upon a solid foundation of straight up suck. How can you tell? Rumor has it the next paragraph may have some handy info.
Some flea markets are actually fairly decent places to find some good bargains and awesome Chinese toys that will weep lead like a KFC employee weeps salty grease sweat. Others are little more than abandoned warehouses that get filled with trash for a weekend and then are used to film snuff films the following Wednesday. A good way to determine if you’re at the latter is based on how many vendors are hawking bootleg movies.
The problem with bootleg movies isn’t that they’re illegal; if laws weren’t meant to be broken we wouldn’t have them to begin with. Think about it. The problem is that bootleggers are often the same sorts of people who will raid a dumpster for free two day old donuts and that the quality of the average flea market bootleg is on par with those same two day old dumpster donuts. Which is to say that if there’s pubes on it, you have no business acting surprised.
The more bootleg vendors a flea market has, the more likely it is that the entire thing sells nothing but garbage. That fresh fruit you’re buying? It was actually farmed by enslaved Guatemalans. Those sausages? Made with ground hobo meat. That new hat? Riddled with plutonium. Which poorly segues into…
Have you ever met a person who bought a decorative sword? These are the same people who enjoy cosplay as a hobby, can speak Elvish and not only play Warcraft, but have an attitude about how good they are about it. That’s like being cocky about how much you can masturbate.
If you’re at a flea market with a sword vendor, it means two things – management overestimated how many people wanted to rent floor space and there’s a high percentage of disillusioned fanboys living in your neck of the woods.
If you’re at a flea market with more than one sword vendor it means that there’s a supplier in the area who specializes in trash and that the snuff film being made here on Wednesday is probably buying some props here.
Designer Knock Offs
Listen, everyone wants to buy a Dolce and Gabbana banana hammock, but here’s the thing – you can’t get that at a flea market. You just can’t. In fact, if you recognize the brand name on the side of literally anything at a flea market, it’s a knock off. Whether it’s clothing, electronics, dairy products, doesn’t matter, it’s fake.
If you purchase any of these fakeries you’re opening a Pandora’s box of oh shit. For instance, if you’re lucky, you’re just going to get infested with moths and scabies and/or whatever it is will fall apart after a single use. Nothing is more disheartening than cheese that falls apart after one use.
Another potential downside is you just funded terrorism. How does that feel? Not so good, does it?
The final sticky wicket you may have to endure is spy gear. If you just bought a knock off Blu Ray player for $50, odds are the guy selling it installed a small camera inside, and now when you wank on your sofa, he’s going to watch and wank on his.
Never buy gold at a flea market. Not ever. Those diamonds are probably nicely polished kidney stones taken from the slave laborers who smelt the lead that they then painted gold in a factory somewhere in Malaysia before they shipped it to your flea market. Why would a reputable gold seller set up shop at a flea market anyway? It’s where dignity goes to die a slow, agonizing death.
The Mobile Dollar Store
This one is a bit deceptive because there probably isn’t a flea market on Earth where this doesn’t happen. Take that for what you will. You need to avoid the junk tables full of dangerously delicious looking small, plastic toys and assorted other pieces of nearly literal shit that are being sold for $2 when you know for a fact your local dollar store sells the same crap 2 for $1. It’s not that this flea market has better quality stuff or it’s different in any way, it’s the exact same stuff. This guy literally bought his entire inventory at the Dollar Store. Why are you shopping here?
No shady flea market is complete without at least one book vendor who has their stall stacked floor to ceiling with musty old paperbacks, half of which were written by John Grisham, Stephen King and VC Andrews. They’re piled in a sort of poor man’s maze, maximizng space and old book stench as much as possible while the disheveled, slightly confused looking seller spends all day crouching to look through boxes and stack more books after scrawling $2 inside each and every one with a number 2 pencil.
If you’re a book lover you may think this is the flea market’s one saving grace, that this treasure trove of bargain entertainment is a blessing amidst a sea of forgettable crap and, arguably, the only worthwhile vendor in the entire place. But know this; that book vendor almost assuredly has killed someone before and will do it again. He works at a flea market for a reason.
It should probably go without saying that you should never let anyone who works at a flea market permanently mark your flesh, but if that were true, there wouldn’t be these people working out of flea markets. And yet there are.
The most frightening aspect of this is that the artist could very well be competent or even brilliant. The samples they have may be breathtaking, but remember this – the vagina of a disease-riddled whore may be just as breathtaking. It doesn’t mean you should let it stick needles in your arm.