Today, we bring you a SPECIAL REPORT, from what is being hailed as “Connecticut’s Largest Yardsale”! When I saw the sign, I just had to go. I had no idea we even had one of those!
…Yeah, it turns out we don’t—if anything it was more like “Connecticut’s Most Moderately-Sized Flea Market.” (Which, granted, probably wouldn’t have fit on the sign.) And if I’m not funny today, you can blame that, because if you’re expecting a ginormous yardsale and all you get is a bunch of people selling pieces of garbage they glued together, you’re basically gonna be Grumpy Cat for the rest of the day.
Why? Allow me to explain in like a million words.
There’s a biiiiiig, big big difference between yardsales and flea markets. At yardsales, people are just trying to get rid of things. Half the time they’ll even give them to you for free, if you look at them pitifully enough. (This works a lot better if you’re a small child, although I swear one time in high school someone gave me a free set of Ninja Turtle tapes because “I’d know what to do with them.”) This is because they’re trying to clear out space in their garage, or because they’re moving to a different state, or because they think for some reason their son won’t notice if they sell off all his WWF action figures and GUESS WHAT MOM, I NOTICED, AND NOW I’M NOT COMING TO EASTER ANYMORE. This is how it’s worked for thousands of years, ever since the Egyptians invented yardsales.
Flea markets, on the other hand—which is what this place definitely was, despite what the sign said—are all about making a profit. It’s all the same junk you see at yardsales, the same McDonald’s toys from shows that went off the air years ago, the same broken, rusted tools that should only be handled by people with advanced medical degrees; but at flea markets you’re expected to pay two or three or eighteen times extra, because all of the vendors are re-sellers.
Re-sellers. Ugh. I can’t even type the word without italicizing it in disgust. These are the assholes who come to yardsales an hour before it opens or even sometimes the night before, banging on your door while you’re in your PJs and demanding to know if you have any train sets for sale (and then getting huffy if you don’t, like it’s your fault they wasted their time). They pick through your boxes before you’ve even started unpacking them and then make lowball offers on goddamn everything, hoping to turn them around at the flea market for jacked-up prices. Re-sellers ruin it for everyone and not even their dogs love them.
Yeah, you would, Grumpy Cat.
The end result is that flea markets just aren’t as much fun as yardsales. They’re much less about treasure hunting and much more about smelly, grouchy old men shouting prices at you whenever you accidentally look at something for too long. (“YOU WANT THAT CASSETTE TAPE? I’LL GIVE YOU A DEAL, TEN DOLLARS.” “Yeah thanks, dude.”) That’s not to say you can’t find any cool stuff at flea markets, because you definitely can. You just won’t find any bargains.
You will, however, find PLENTY of weird sh*t. (“Yay, it’s time for the fun part!” — you, probably.) For example:
“Everyone’s Got One!” My mind raced through several possibilities when I was looking at this filmstrip:
1) Oh, is it about penises?
2) It’s for health class; it’s definitely about penises.
3) Is the bone a metaphor for penises?
4) Why is the dog biting the bone?
5) Wait, it’s about SKELETONS?! WHY IS THE DOG BITING THE BONE?!
6) “YOU WANT THAT SKELETON? I’LL GIVE YOU A DEAL, TEN DOLLARS.”
Speaking of unmentionables:
Okay, OKAY. YES, I know they’re stocking holders. Logic tells me this. The part of my brain that got me through college and still remembers the names of all the dinosaurs from my dinosaurs course tells me this. But if you can look at those two Santas and think anything other than “Ummm, hey, does Mrs. Clause know about this?”, then you’re probably way too mature to be reading this blog. I got this thing about skeletons you might be interested in…
Nearby the Santas:
“Handmade folk art!”, the sign on a cardboard cutout of Frankenstein says. No, I’m not kidding. Maybe they thought that fur coat he’s wearing was real? (Frankenstein was of course known for his fur coat. Remember that famous scene where he strangled Paris Hilton and threw her in a lake?)
Okay, this one’s going to take a little explaining.
…Unfortunately I won’t be able to do it, because I have no idea what’s going on here. (Financial advice from children? Hey America, we’ve done worse.) I was tempted to buy it just to figure out what it was, but the lady running the booth was already looking at me like she thought I might ask her kid to come join me in my van, so I figured I should step aside. (To her credit, in certain lights my beard does make me look like a creeper. I have a niece who cries whenever I look at her, and when I asked my nephew about it, he said, very sincerely, “it’s probably that thing on your face.”)
There was also an arts-and-crafts vendor tying what were basically pieces of garbage up with a string, and selling them as tree ornaments. I used to do that too. I was seven. And I didn’t try to sell them; I smacked them against trees until their arms fell off. You can still find some of them in my parents’ backyard. There was also the vendor who was selling “duct tape pens!”, which were literally just Bic pens with duct-tape wrapped around them. And did I mention the sock vendor who was telling everyone who’d listen that he “just got out of prison”?
…You know, maybe re-sellers aren’t the worst, after all.