Monday, February 20, 2017

SOMT: Flea Markets

Blogger’s Note: SOMT stands for Sign Of My Times, an occasional blog sharing my thoughts how time changes life from when I was young to today.

I remember shopping at the flea market with my family when I was young. The oldest I shopped was my sophomore year in high school. Almost all the time my family and my uncle's family shopped together. The flea market was busy. Parking lots filled to capacity. The high demand for parking spaces allowed the flea market to charge a parking fee. Police officers were on duty to control traffic and watch pedestrians cross the street.

There were activities for the family besides shopping. There were carnival rides, arcades, restaurants, live bands, midway games, and other shows I can't remember. The most common sellers were antiques, clothes, produce, toys, and music cassettes. There were many one-time sellers selling their junk. There were three wheel drink carts powered by electricity driving along the selling aisles. A person drove the cart in the front. The back of the cart was a cube which stored the drinks. The person stopped the cart, turned the swivel chair, grabbed a cup, and dispensed soda or beer. The flea market earned lots of money on hot days.

The following are some of my flea market memories:

*One visit my mom didn't purchase soda from a cart vendor because he used his hands to put ice in the cup.
*My parents purchased four love birds. They were our family pets.
*I collected baseball cards for four years. I purchased baseball cards from a regular seller.
*My family stopped watching Super Bowl XXIV at halftime to shop at the flea market. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Denver Broncos 55-10.
*I played the arcade game Smash TV.

Times have changed. The flea market still exists with lower turnout. Parking is free; however, the flea market charges an entrance fee which makes no sense because the flea market wants to attract more shoppers. Further, the parking lot area shrank. Single family high-density homes are built on the former parking lots. There are no need for police officers to monitor automobile traffic and pedestrian traffic. I haven't seen any flea market advertising in the local media for decades. Finally, the internet changes the way we shop for bargains which includes Amazon and eBay.


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