Why "Flea" Market?

I spent Friday with my parents since I had the day off work.  I accompanied them to the Memorial Day Flea Market at the Fairgrounds.  I haven’t been to the flea market in something like five years.  After five minutes in the place, I remembered why.

I also feel like I know why it’s referred to as a “flea” market.

My parents love the flea market.  They run into old friends and spend time catching up.  DAd hovers around the books and tools and farmer markets.  Mom has favorite vendors she checks out and always looks at the toys – she’s a good grandma.  But it ain’t my scene.  I tried.  I failed.

I don’t care for crowds mostly because people aren’t considerate; they mill around, stop in the middle of aisles, run their little carts over the back of your ankles, there’s no hope of a steady pace… it’s miserable.  It’s beyond me why people plop their dogs in those little buggies – dogs like to walk and don’t belong in indoor crowds.  This place could have been mistaken for a motorized chair convention (I dislike those things too).  But I agreed to tag along because I thought I might find something fun: a bracelet, a book, something else that’s equally as fun.  No luck.

What I find surprising are the number of “booths” that just toss cardboard boxes on the ground filled with tube socks, expired pantry food and old makeup.  And people actually dig through them.  I had to pass at the chance to sort through expired goods mostly because it reminded me of auctions – and the dirty crap that sellers hide at the bottom of boxes.  Blech.

I don’t mean to sound cheeky but some of these booths are skeezmarts.  Don’t people know that cockroaches love cardboard and nest their eggs on them?  No?  You didn’t know that?  You do now.  Think twice before diving into that discount box of shampoo.  And after a little research, we see that the name “flea market” came about “because there are so many second-hand articles sold of all kinds that they are believed to gather fleas.”  Ew.  Most booths are clean, set up tables and are respectable sales people trying to make an honest living.  But it only takes one bad apple cardboard box to ruin a bunch.  I’ll stick with Target.

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June 7, 2010 - 10:15 am

AmoebaMike - My wife was just commenting she wanted to visit a flea market. How do I find one? Google I suppose, but if you know of a particularly good flea market locater site please pass it along. Besides if I just Googled it you wouldn’t have gotten a friendly comment. :-)

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