|Sadly, this weird 1940's Disney-like fellow wasn't in attendance .|
Ahhh...the flea market. The great American past time in where strangers rifle through your garbage and act like what they're buying won't end up on eBay. I've been a fan of the flea market since I was a kid. There's just some sort of unidentifiable charm when you go. The thrill of the hunt is probably the best feeling if you're a collector and when you go to a huge flea market, the endless possibilities can be somewhat overwhelming. Much like a thrift store trip, you just don't know whether you'll walk out with crap or gold.
Ok, ok. Not really a flea market as it is a junk store. But the local junk joint refer to themselves as an indoor flea market, so let's go with it shall we? My optimism and confidence were both at an all time high and semantics would only get in the way. I had no time to determine whether this indoor junkyard was a flea market or not. I just had to go with it, mang.
The second I walked in, I knew it would be a real adventure. The smell of cigarettes and old newspaper greeted me like an old friend. On the other hand, the shopkeepers hardly noticed me and decided to just keep talking to her friend about agriculture. I'm guessing they only get local regulars in this place, because I'd assume seeing a rube like me would send these yokels into a tizzy trying to sell me packs of old Dessert Storm cards or a bunch of old Time Magazine with coffee stains. Maybe I'm just being cocky. Either way, it was game time. I took big breath and walked passed the hillbilly owners. I examine the store rather quickly and assess that finding items for a decent blog post would be easy. But not this easy.
First item of interest I run into was a bunch of old posters. But, the item that caught my eye the most, and most likely catching your eye, is the Madonna poster. I was too far way to see the actual date, but it would be safe to say late 80s or early 90s. I feel safe in saying this was before started getting porked by Vanilla Ice and getting bounced from Pepsi for making steamy music videos but more importantly, when she was still hot. Make no doubt about it, she was hotter than anything else. Both in the physical sense and hyperbolic sense. I actually had a crush on Madonna at the time and I feel I would've wanted this poster at age 8 or so. It's not awful and not overtly disgusting(what she turned out to be) so it seems logical this would end up in your room and not offend your mom. It's a pretty good find, I get the sense not too many of these old Madonna posters are out and about. But if they were, they'd end up at these indoor flea/junkyards. I'd probably buy this if I had 2 bucks and I was 8 years old. But the owners of the store were asking 40 for it and I am not 8 years old, so I'm gonna have to pass. Still, not a bad way to begin.
Old boxer shorts. Look, I'm into nostalgia and all but this is freaky. Old boxer shorts? Wait a moment...it gets worse...
Judging by the way that fading, USED BOXER SHORTS. I swear if I wasn't trying to get a good entry done and try to find some good stuff for my apartment, I'd have run out of there quicker than a customer at Taco Bell heading for the toilet. I know that the clientele at this establishment isn't the highest of quality, but this is the lowest of the low.
Still feeling uncomfortable and scarred from the ancient pair of shorts, I contemplating running to the nearest gas station to buy some Aquafina to clean my eyes out. But, duty calls. And I'm glad I stayed. Because I found these:
Hot dog! Now we're talking!!! Munsters figurines/bobble heads. I'm a huge Munsters fan, so seeing all five of the friendliest neighbors this side of Mockingbird Lane, made the entire trip worth it. I've got a pair of Munsters bobbleheads, but not of this quality. These look to be made of wood or some high quality material of that kind. The sculpts aren't too cartoony or silly, in fact they're downright loyal to the actors likenesses. I fear what the price tag was and sadly, these were in a locked display case so my chances of examining them were out of the question. These seem to be the perfect collectible and a great item to show on your shelf to show your love of the classic show. And as a bonus, that weird skeleton/cowboy bust seems to be a perfect companion. It kinda has a Skeletor feel. And if Cowboy Skeletor can't sell you nothing can.
Further navigation throughout the indoor flea market was a rather Herculean task. The tables were all pushed together and just placed in random spots. And I'm a big guy. So it's not like I can just suck in my gut and just squeeze through. Plus the stuff here is so old, I was afraid to move anything in fear of breaking a 30 year old computer and being shamed in having to purchase it. nothing is more laughable than watching a human walk out with a cracked IBM from 1983 covered in more dust than a hillbilly's old pick up truck in the front yard. I was getting a feeling that the fun was over. Until I saw small room filled with toys. Business was about to pick up.
Aw crap...My high expectations were shot down immediately. The toy room looked more like an rich 10 year old's bedroom. There was no chance I was going to find anything good in this hoarders paradise. in fact, I was more worried I'd be stuck in an avalanche of cheap, smelly stuffed animals. And then I saw it...the one toy that was worth coming in for...
Wembley Fraggle. Right there in front of me. I can feel the beacon of light from Heaven shining down upon it. It was as if it was meant to be. No one can say no to Fraggles, plain and simple. It's not really a phrase, it's a fact. I can honestly say it was one of the best finds I've ever found in all my years of flea marketing, only because it was so surprising. And when items like this hit you out of nowhere, you feel like you struck gold. Wembley, much like his character in the show, seemed very satisfied with his life and just hanging out with his fellow plush brethren. So as much as I didn't want to leave him, I had too. I have a feeling he'll find an adventure in that toy room. I'm sure he'll find a way to scheme or start a Luau with Buzz Lightyear.
I was on my out of the flea market when I saw a giant display case of soft drink cans. I like older soda cans, so this caught my attention. Quite frankly, I'm trying to wonder why cans only a few years old are being sold as antiques. A coke can from the 90s, makes sense, but a Pepsi can from the last few years? Come on. Put some effort into it. If you're going sell me a relatively new Pepsi can, make sure it's spectacular and farts diamonds or something.
But upon further inspection, I noticed something more nonsensical...something that set me off more than the used boxer shorts...
A jar of Skippy?!?!?! Really? The can of Pepsi is one thing, the boxer shorts were another, but this is just pure laziness. I'm starting to think the owners just end up shopping at Wegmans to fill their shelves. I don't really understand the point of selling peanut butter that has no collector value, but I'm not the one that runs an indoor flea market. And after this adventure, I'm probably better off. Otherwise I'd be hoarding cases of food and trying to pass them off as the Holy Grail.
I jetted. Quite frankly, the negatives outweighed any positives in this trip. It was becoming too much to handle and quite frankly the B.O. floating around was terribly thick enough to slice with a katana blade. Where was Leonardo from the Ninja Turtles when you needed him? His twin swords would've come in handy in this. Maybe breathing and not leaving with a headache is a little too much to ask, but c'est la vie. Thankfully, there was another junk store next door and I stopped in. Not as large as the mess I had just spent an hour in, but it was still junk. I thought my thrill of adventure had died, but after a good 15 minutes I found something so Earth-shattering, it must be seen to be believed...
YES. Rock Express Gum!!! 23 year old gum tins with Paul Abdul and Nelson. Top stars in their day, sure, but a trivia question now. Even Paula Abdul, American Idol or not, is about as cool as leprosy. And Nelson...well, after that video where they saved some redneck kid from his abusive father, no one is going to call them for their state fair. I saw these tins and initially thought what a weird band-aid promotion these were. Then I pulled them down and examined them...
The gum is still intact. All gum sticks too. I'm assuming this is all the original and someone got these for their birthday, threw them in a box and forgot all about them. I can't I blame them. Even by early 90s standards, they're pretty downright ridiculous. But we loved our gum back then and we didn't care what kind of packaging they came in. They were literally packed to the gils with ancient gum. The gum is still a little bendy and a little flexible, but I highly doubt it's safe enough to eat. I wouldn't even imagine trying them. I'd imagine spider-eggs hatching and something out of the last segment of Creepshow would happen. I don't want to see a billion spiders to crawl out of my body just because I was curious to know what Nelson's gum tastes like. There's no lawsuit in the world that could rectify that situation. I'd be the laughing stock of the gum collecting world. And that's not a reputation I wish to carry with me.
In the end, it was a worthwhile trip. I can't see going back to this flea market unless I'm completely bored and I've lost my copy of Phantom of The Mall. Even then, it may be a long time. I just hope they ventilate it before I do. Otherwise, the collective B.O., cigarette smell, rancid newspaper, and rancid jars of peanut butter may kill anyone brave enough to enter.