White Elephants

Flea Market

White elephant sales, garage sales, flea markets,  yard sales, bazaars, swap meets or whatever you want to call them, are a collection of people trying to unload their junk.  People come from all over to set up their booth, table or stall and sell things that you have thrown away.  Some are amateurs, just trying to clean out their basement or garage.   Some, calling themselves dealers (They were called  “junk men” when I was a kid.), come to sell the leftovers and hand-me-downs they  bought from an amateur at a previous garage sale.  Both the amateur and dealer are there to sell to the masses of crazy people who show up searching for bargains.  The Australians call them “trash and treasure markets”;  aptly named if you believe that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

These events can be fun if you lower your expectations to something south of zero; its a great place for street photography — that’s people-watching with a camera.  I’m always amazed at the crazy things people have to sell, and so many of the same thing.  For example, a good cold chisel will last a lifetime.  I’m still using the one my father and grandfather used.  So, what was the guy thinking when he “acquired” a second cold chisel, one that was chipped and rusted.  Better yet, what was he thinking when he found his 8th, 17th or 23rd cold chisel?   “Geez, I just have to  have that, its a good investment, you can always use a good cold chisel.”  Seriously?

Given the crowds I’ve seen at the flea markets lately, I wonder if the tight economy is forcing more people to “shop”, I mean seriously shop for things they really need.  Personally, I don’t really see the need for a couple bushel baskets of marbles though.  Or, maybe its the other side of the deal, people selling everything they’ve accumulated throughout their life to makes ends meet.  How many marbles at 5 cents apiece do you have to sell to pay the light bill?   Whoa, times must me harder than I thought.

Thought for the DayThe budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt.  People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.  Cicero 55 BC

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