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Went to a flea market today


MontanaLon
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Was driving home after a week in Lansing, Michigan opening a new store. Saw the sign on the side of I-94 somewhere west I think of Kalamazoo, honestly, I was fighting falling asleep and needed to stop and the sign said it was the biggest flea market in the midwest or at least Michigan. So I stopped and found that flea markets have changed over the last 20 years since I attended them on a regular basis. 

 

I am used to old junk and that was honestly what I wanted to find, some old tools made in the USA and meant to last a lifetime and having outlived their first and maybe second owners. What I found was crap, very few tools, almost all made in China, lots of cheap clothing, sunglasses, cell phone cases and a lot of Mexican food. Mind you, I have nothing against Mexican food, I just don't think of a flea market as a place to purchase anything taken internally. Fully half of the vendors and an equal number of patrons were hispanic. 

 

I did find a booth selling baseball caps of all sorts for $5 each. I looked at many of them and saw a few that were cool but didn't see the one I really wanted. I asked the proprietor if this was all the hats she had and she pulled out another box from under the table, I looked through it and still nothing. She spoke broken english and asked me what I was looking for exactly. I said I need a "Make America Great Again", "Build the Wall" or "Trump 2020" hat for my collection. Suddenly, she was all, "No hable English" and she started talking loudly in Spanish to the other vendors. I figured it was best to leave as suddenly no one wanted to do business with me. 

 

On the way out, I stopped at one last booth. The guy running it was middle eastern but spoke very good English. He had some Arabic artwork that reminded me of living in Morocco as a kid and some woodworking tools. I stopped and talked to him and he said he does the flea market on the weekends for extra cash. Said he came over 10 years ago after working with the Army in Iraq. He reminded me of what I knew as a Muslim 45 years ago. Friendly, hardworking, thrifty and family oriented. He had his daughter there with him and she spoke spotless English. He also liked to haggle, and he worked me over on a couple of old chisels that needed to be cleaned up and sharpened. Sealed the deal with a handshake.In a few years he will be a Citizen and an American and it will be a better America because of it. The "Mexicans" not so much. If anyone has a contact at ICE, I can give them a hot tip on a bunch of illegals.

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Those flea markets popped up in the town I used to live in. Disgusting to say the least. Just crap and very few good items. I have nothing against Hispanics and have two as close friends but those flea markets are third world crap in my book even my friends won't shop at them.

 

The wife was looking at buying a cast iron tractor sprinkler off of farshbook and the guy said it was old. The old one's have cast iron wheels. Most newer models have plastic wheels. I looked at the picture and told her is was newer as it had the plastic wheels. The price was good so we went and got it. The older gentleman said it was old when we arrived. I bit my tongue and we bought it and left. 

 

By today's standards old is anything a year old. This sprinkler was brand new and still had the store stickers on it.  

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Flea markets can be fun.  I like those old tractor sprinkelers... the ones where the from wheel rides/follows where you lay the hose.  Then hits a bumper at the end that turns off the water.  My uncle always had on... with the cast iron wheels.  After seeing it I always wanted one too.  Pretty expensive new.  Good find!

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We don't get many flea markets, but what we do enjoy are the "antique malls". Sometimes they're not so heavy on the "antique" part, as they are more like traditional flea markets/used junk stores. I had some pretty decent scores at some while on vacation. I'm of the opinion that old doesn't mean useless, and there are many times that the old ways are better than the new. And then there's some times that I just like having stuff around from my childhood. Like a can of 3 in 1 oil. I know it's just light machine oil, and probably not all that great of one at that. But my dad always had a can of it on his workbenches, and we used it on everything from fishing reels, to mom's sewing machine, to guns. I found a full can, and paid the absolutely silly price of $10 for it, just to have the red/white/black can sitting on the corner of my workbench. It's probably only from the early 80's, but it's still cool to me. 

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I think I know that fleamarket.  West of Pawpaw, North off 94 until the Tee, take a left and go about 5 miles. Flea market is on the right at the big curve in the road.

 

I remember going to that flea market with my grandma, grandpa, and uncle.  Must be 30 years ago now when they were all still alive.  Wandering around with them and picking up old stuff that would clean up or work on the farm.

 

I just closed my eyes and I can almost smell that old dodge conversion van grandma and grandpa had...

 

Serious nostaliga memory trip.  It was a better time then, and a better flea market too.

 

Thanks for the memories Lon. 

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2 hours ago, andy2205 said:

 

A bit of the old stuff, walking sprinkler restoration:  https://www.liveleak.com/view?t=MCXO_1567208524

That is my idea of an old one. Up until they put plastic rear wheels on they would be called old in my book.   The patents date back to the 20's-30's and the patent for the one's that follow the hose start in the late 50's. I would love to find one as old as you posted. 

 

There are two more listed my wife found and one has plastic and the other cast iron wheels. 85 bucks for both. Not a bad price at all. They are fairly common around here because the properties are bigger. My wife grew up in the bay area and worked flea markets for 20+ years with her dad and she had never seen one. Our current neighbors have two they run weekly. 

 

Her dad put four kids through college working flea markets. He was a master and had his specialties. Vacuum cleaners, bikes and lawn mowers were his thing. He would clean them all up and repair them to better than new and sell them at good prices. When he died we had to toss hundred of pounds of parts for old vacuums. He threw nothing away and saved all the parts to rebuild the next one. Same for bikes. He would buy them at garage sales and strip them for parts, cut the frames up and throw the frames away.  I think he made the most on lawn mowers. People would throw them out on trash day and he would pick them up and repair them and sell them for like new prices as they were in great shape and only needed a spark plug or something stupid. 

 

He was doing so well with his flea market business he opened a second hand store in Oakland. The store did well until the locals burned him out. He went back to the flea markets again. I helped a few times and it amazed me what people would pay for stuff. He never had his prices marked and he left me in charge of his booth once. I was selling stuff right and left and when he came back he asked where all his stuff was. I told him people were buying. I handed him a wad of cash and then it took a while and he said "where did that broken clock go"  I told him I sold it. he said it was broken and was not worth ten bucks. I got $20 for it and the buyer  knew it was broke. I think that weekend is when he decided I was okay for his daughter :laugh:

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1 hour ago, BushXM15 said:

Are You certain they were Hispanic a little far North aren't they ?.  Surprises ME demographic wise they weren't Arabic !!.

In that neighborhood there have traditionally been a lot of migrant labors.

 

In my town (a wide spot in the road) we have quite a Hispanic population that stemmed from migrant workers that went through the process to become citizens. And you won't see any burkas in my town either.

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7 minutes ago, Longhair said:

In that neighborhood there have traditionally been a lot of migrant labors.

 

In my town (a wide spot in the road) we have quite a Hispanic population that stemmed from migrant workers that went through the process to become citizens. And you won't see any burkas in my town either.

 

Isn't Detroit in MI ?.  I know Omar is from MN but according too Gov. statistics there's a Cargo ships load of Muslim Immigrants in MI. ??. Is MY Gov. lying too ME AGAIN :tap:

 

There's also Michigan, particularly the city of Dearborn, which has the highest percentage of Muslims in any major city in the US. Henry Ford kick-started the first wave of Arab immigration to the US by hiring loads of Lebanese and Jordanians (mostly Christians, though) to work in his auto factories, and the descendants of these workers stayed and built a large and thriving community in Dearborn, even after the auto industry declined.

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1 minute ago, BushXM15 said:

 

Isn't Detroit in MI ?.  I know Omar is from MN but according too Gov. statistics there's a Cargo ships load of Muslim Immigrants in MI. ??. Is MY Gov. lying too ME AGAIN :tap:

 

There's also Michigan, particularly the city of Dearborn, which has the highest percentage of Muslims in any major city in the US. Henry Ford kick-started the first wave of Arab immigration to the US by hiring loads of Lebanese and Jordanians (mostly Christians, though) to work in his auto factories, and the descendants of these workers stayed and built a large and thriving community in Dearborn, even after the auto industry declined.

Dearborn and college towns are the only places that you see any.

Much of the state is rural, and they aren't around here, but even in most of the larger non-college bergs you won't find any either.

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