Sunday, June 18, 2006

Today at the flea market (part 1)

I am a packrat. I collect stuff (and of course, that means it has to be complete sets of stuff) and can’t throw anything away. I’m pretty pathological about it and should actually seek some professional help for it. Seriously. Anyway, this means I have a lot of accumulated stuff. With the big move less than a week away, I simply had to get rid of some of it. Complicating things is the fact that it’s all too good to simply toss in the trash (Honestly! It is!). That would just be wasteful and that is just not going to happen. Ah, but selling it is an option I can live with. So I came up with the bright idea of packing up six boxes of my least essential old toys, baseball cards and books and hauling them off to the Oldsmar Flea Market (“The Mightiest In The South” if the sign is to be believed). For $15, I would get a stall, two tables and access to a crowd of Father’s Day bargain hunters. So I was there at 7:30AM to set up for the 9:00AM opening when I suddenly realized that I had not put a lot of thought into preparation for this. I don’t know if there’s a “Flea Markets For Dummies” (there probably is) but if so, I’m sure it advises the prospective flea merchant to have signage, bags and money to make change. I had none of these things. The change situation was going to be especially problematic since I had decided that all items would be .25 each or $5 a box. I had exactly two dollar bills, three quarters, a dime and two pennies, my change from breakfast, on me and was wondering what to do about it when a guy from one of the nearby stalls wandered over to check out what I had. I told him, “Everything is either .25 each or $5 a box”. He glanced over everything and gave me $20 for four boxes of action figures and Matchbox cars I had brought with me. While he was settling up with me, a friend of his from another stall came by and bought another $15 worth of assorted stuff. Here I had worried about being able to recoup my $15 startup costs and I had moved 75% of my inventory and was in the black an hour and a half before the doors opened! I was reveling in my status as the biggest boy wonder entrepreneurial genius in the history of the Oldsmar Flea Market, The Mightiest Of The Mightiest In The South, when my inner capitalist woke up and introduced some new doubts. Had I undervalued my merchandise? Could I have gotten more? Much more? Had I just given way a fortune? Had I been ripped off by savvy flea market chickenhawks waiting around in the early morning hours for rubes like me to wander in off the street? Obviously, I was the biggest boob, know-nothing knucklehead in the history of the Oldsmar Flea Market.
But then I realized that I had gotten rid of six boxes of junk I wouldn’t have to haul to the apartment and had put $35 in my pocket in the process and I got over it pretty quickly.

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