Saturday, June 11, 2011

It's Anniversary Week! Like Shark Week, only with cake! (note: there's no cake)

On June 18th, 2011, this very blog that you hold in your hands right now will reach it's 5th Anniversary. That's right, for some unknown reason I posted this on June 18th, 2006 and away we went! To celebrate, In honor of this momentous milestone, I will be spotlighting some ol' favorites (don't worry, I'm taking the week off; new stuff is going up too) , and since it's the 5th anniversary, let's do seven of the most popular posts ever! Doesn't that sound even more self-indulgent and pompous than this whole thing usually is like fun? You bet it does! After all, what's the point of getting older if you can't act like it's a bigger deal than it is to anybody but you?
Let's start the celebration by going all the way back to the early days, back when I honestly had absolutely no idea what I was doing, not unlike, well, right now. Anyway, this is the first non-expository post (well, first two; I don't know why I broke it into two parts. I told you I didn't know what the hell I was doing) I ever published. Enjoy!

Today at the flea market (part 1) June 18, 2006

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.
Today at the flea market (part 2)

These two transactions pretty much cleaned me out, with the exception of about 15 books. They’re all good books, but with the tables now looking so sparse and there being about 50 or 80 other stalls selling books, they weren’t moving. Even at .25 each. Maybe I was spoiled by my early success or the non-stop bleating of a woman’s voice over the PA speaker right behind my stall (“Come visit The Lingerie Hut in building J…don’t forget to stop by Fragrance City in building F…Father’s Day Special on all VHS tapes at Ammo Junction in the B building…”) was wearing on my nerves, but the gates had only been open for a half hour, I wasn’t selling anything and I was bored. Once I calculated that I had less than $4 worth of merchandise and that it may take several hours to sell it, it was clear that I had reached the point of almost completely diminished returns. So I decided I would invest everything into 20 minutes of hardcore, in-your-face sales pitch and then I would leave and donate whatever was left to the VA hospital. I started engaging people in conversation, making comments about what they were wearing or had already bought as a means of drawing them in. This was fairly successful and even kind of entertaining. I met some very nice people, some of whom bought books, some didn’t but all very nice. When this guy with greasy yellow-gray ponytail in a tie-dye tee shirt, carrying a WMNF pledge drive bag, with a massive stick obviously up his butt (unseen, but you should trust me when I tell you it was there) came by, I only had about six books left, all about baseball. He sneered and made some really snotty comment about me not having any real books. I decided to invest the last bit of energy I had into selling my last $1.50 worth of books about baseball to THIS guy.

ME: Come on, they’re only .25 each. You could give them as gifts to friends of yours who are baseball fans!
HIM (fake, sneering smile): I don’t think so.
ME: Well, anything I don’t sell is going to the burning.
HIM: What do you mean? What burning?
ME: These guys I know. They’re barbecuing some burgers, having some beers and burning some books later. I told them if I had anything left over, I’d bring them by.
HIM: These are books about sports. Why would you even want to burn these?
ME: It’s not my thing. It’s these guys. They just like burning them. They don’t really care what they’re about.
HIM: So you’re just going to burn books? That’s symbolic of fascism.
ME: I know! But what am I supposed to do?
HIM: What are you supposed to do? Give them away! Something! But you don’t burn books!
ME: Give them away?!? Ha ha! Do you see anybody else here giving anything away? I don’t think you get the concepts of commerce and free enterprise.
HIM: I think you’re disgusting.
ME: Whatever. So are you going to save these books or are you going to let an idiot like me just burn ‘em up?
HIM: Idiots like you shouldn’t be allowed to own books!
ME: Wow, now who’s a fascist?

He didn’t buy them and I was spent (it was hot out there). So I dropped off the last of the books at the VA hospital and went home.


Dave said...

I'll throw a book on the fire in your honor tonight. Happy blogoversary!

Jessie said...

Fantastic! As Dave said, Happy Blogoversary!!!

Jessie said...

Fantastic! As Dave said, Happy Blogoversary!!!

RottenMom said...

Happy Blogoversary my Flo-rida boyfriend!