I believe it was an ancient Chinese Proverb that stated, “The early bird catches the worm, well, usually, but only if he can wake his ass up in time.”
Since I’m on a schedule where I wake up ungodly early for work each day, my body’s own alarm clock buzzed me out of a dead sleep around 7am on Saturday. The incessant chirping of birds near my window didn’t help either. The flea market trip wasn’t for a few hours, so I did my best to waste time. Ate some cereal, watched Big Hero 6 for the 11th time, inventoried my entire Monster High collection…HA! Just kidding, that would take me 3 1/2 weeks. Then, before I knew it, it was time to embark on another journey to the Englishtown Auction with Matt from Dinosaur Dracula.
To say that I was soured on my experiences is an understatement. Do you remember when Luke’s X-Wing fighter sunk into the murky swamp on Dagobah? Well, that’s basically what happened to my car, just at a Flea Market in New Jersey. If you missed that little debacle, you can read about it here!
Matt reported that his last trip to Englishtown was a major success, and I chalked that propaganda up to the natural high of finding the absolute most beautiful ceramic E.T bank that was actually manufactured in 1982 by a Hallmark-like stationary store on Brodo Asogi. Come to think of it, maybe getting my ass back there was an intergalactic imperative.
It seriously couldn’t have been a more perfect day for 3-hour walk around an outdoor flea market. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the temperature was in the low ’70s. Even the insane traffic couldn’t agitate me, well, that’s a baldfaced lie. Traffic always agitates me, but when I’m with friends, it agitates me considerably less. Maybe it’s because I can’t let them see my usual stuck in a car with no air conditioning type meltdowns.
Frequently, every weekend even, you tend to see people posting their big finds from the various yard sales (I always called them Garage Sales) and Flea Markets on Instagram and Twitter. What’s irksome to me is that everyone elsewhere across the country seems to find some utterly amazing shit, while often, all I come home with is a Taylor Dane LP not realizing that I already owned 2 copies. I can never get enough of “Tell it To My Heart,” so all is well. Though, records weren’t the only crap I came home with from the Flea Market this weekend.
Their trash is my treasure as they say, and this trip defined that old saying in spades. The dirty bags of junk I hauled into my apartment last night were filled with things that seriously almost no one would’ve purchased. Except maybe our friend, Trash Culture.
Literally, the first table I stopped at gave me an early indication that we’d have a wondrous experience on this day. This guy’s table was filled with the most random junk EVER. The friendly vendor was willing to work with me on prices too.
1. GENE SIMMONS PLAQUE
Out of all the amazing stuff at the table, my eyes zeroed in on an old Gene Simmons plaque that looked like it was hanging in a den covered in wood paneling in 1978. What that translates to is me having to own this without question. FIVE BUCKS. Boom. Take my money.
2. FLABBER DOLL – BIG BAD BEETLEBORGS
Oh wait up vendor man, you have a Flabber doll from the Big Bad Beetleborgs? WTF, are you seriously kidding me right now? I will give you $160 dollars for it. 2 days prior, I just got done telling Matt how creepy I thought that dude Flabber was. I think the spirit animal thing has been done to death by this point, but whatever the modern equivalent is, good ol’ Flabs is mine. He was Jay Leno mixed with the ghost of Liberace. NEED.
3. PROMOTIONAL SOPRANOS WATER SNOW GLOBE TV THINGY
Oh no, wait, don’t ring me up yet, you also have this promotional Sopranos TV that doubles as a snow globe, but instead of snow it’s dollar signs? How much for f*cking Flabber AND the Sopranos promotional TV water globe thing? 4 bucks! How could I go wrong? I could’ve stopped right there and went home with the same level of happiness of a little kid in 1986 leaving TRU with an action figure. Just realizing now that this thing goes for some decent cash on eBay. Some Buy It Now listings for it range from $24 to $66 dollars!
As if these finds weren’t preposterous enough, this was all from the freaking same table! If I hadn’t already overused caps in this post I would’ve typed that entire previous sentence in caps and maybe even bold. A big thanks to that vendor too, because after I was done looting his table, Matt noticed his insane collection of old fridge magnets and he cut him a great deal for the entire collection.
4. RECORDS! MORE RECORDS!
Leaving a flea market without a vinyl LP is a virtual impossibility for me. This time, I actually had one in mind that I’m trying to track down, but couldn’t find it. Looking at my haul, there was about 10 records, most were a buck, 2 were free, and then with a couple of Tiffany 45s thrown in the mix (Matt found them! One of these I already had, but whatevs, that’s a bad habit of mine.) I won’t detail all of the records I picked up, but I’ll show you some of the best ones.
First, the most random “get” was My Stepmother is an Alien Soundtrack. The fact that this even exists in 2015 is a miracle. The inspiration for owning this soundtrack was clearly not the music etched into the vinyl. Look at that cover! Was that photo one of the rejects from an ad for the Playboy Channel in the late ’80s? So awesome. From there, a Hall and Oates single, one of my favorite tunes by them: “Adult Education,” with the lyrics on the back cover! Also, Wendy and Lisa’s Fruit at the Bottom, former tag-team backup for Prince. And of course, those Tiffany 45s. The design of these covers were so simple, yet so effective. They didn’t overthink it at all. Slap a glamour shot on the cover, a typical font of the era, and some minimal effect, and nowadays you have artists trying with all of their ingenuity to recreate this style on their own releases.
5. HERCULES THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS FIGURES, 1996
My condo is packed with about 685 million action figures, so clearly I needed more. I don’t even know a damn thing about the Hercules TV show or Xena for that matter, but one thing I will say in my defense is that I won’t needlessly buy figures unless I’m drawn to them in a specific way. Now, when reading the name of this next figure, how could I not be drawn to her?
I’m attracted to She-Demons, what can I say?
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys from Toy Biz figures were 2 for $5 bucks. I wasn’t an avid viewer of the show, but I’ve definitely seen it on TV, I believe it aired on our local WWOR-9 at the time. It was that shlocky Saturday mid-day programming that always came through for me when I was eating lunch in the kitchen and needed a temporary diversion. I don’t know too much about the show, but I can now tell you that the figure line was amazing. There are monsters, there are heroes, there are Mesomorphs. I went with that stone cold fox She-Demon and Xena II with her red warrior disguise.
6. WONDER GIRL CUP 7-11, 1973
Something tells me that a roving therapist or psychiatrist would benefit some of the people at the Englishtown Auction. Whether people want to admit it or not, there are some nutsos running a few of the tables. Some of them are just wacky, while others are seriously delusional.
This one lady had about 5 or 6 of these vintage 7-11 cups on her garbage filled table. Keep in mind, people go to these flea markets to get good deals, not to overpay with eBay pricing. I asked “How much are these cups?” as if I didn’t know anything about them. With that, this woman starts asking me all kinds of questions like “Which one are you interested in, I can sell you all five for $100 dollars, you know they are all so expensive.”
I explained that I didn’t want all of them. She then offered me the price of $15 each and reminded me again how expensive they were, which technically, by eBay standards was actually pretty fair, but we were standing on a pile of dirt that was clouding up every time people walked by, we were in the middle of a big open space with picnic tables that have been there since the ’60s, and there was no freaking way I was prepared to shell out $15 bucks for this damn cup, no matter how bad I wanted it. She asked me how I felt about that price and stone faced I said, “That is too steep for me,” and began to walk away. “3 DOLLARS!” she yelled to me.
And there you have it folks, one of the most successful and entertaining flea market trips I’ve ever taken part in. There were a few other items too, so I’m sure they’ll surface here in the near future. Thanks for reading!