Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Flea-ing the Eastern Shore

A couple of weeks ago, I had one of those rare weekends where I was off from work, and the wife and I didn't have any plans. She was going to be working all day, and I really didn't want to spend the whole weekend in the house, so I decided to go on a little field trip. I decided to to go to the Shore Flea Market.

There have been at least a dozen flea markets on the Eastern Shore over the years. They ranged from the long, rectangular dirt floor buildings, to tiny little stores in the middle of town. Over the years, most have disappeared, their buildings either torn down or repurposed. Some are still empty, waiting for the next tenant. The one constant over the years, has been the Shore Flea Market. Located in Temperanceville, Va, it's about a 30 minute drive from my house. It's changed a bit over the years, owing to the fact that it's burnt down at least twice. 

I pulled into the parking lot, and I realized that I might have gotten there a bit too early, both in the day, and the season. There's a ring of wooden tables set up around the building, and they're usually teeming with junk. This particular day, I only saw a couple of tables being used. Off to the right side of the building, there's a side entrance with more tables set up for sellers. There were only a couple of people using them, with one selling old, worn out tools. The other guy was selling bootleg DVD's, bootleg CD's of Mexican music, and video games. Unfortunately, I think his game supply is drying up, because it seemed like the majority of his stock was sports games.

The other problem with this guy, is that almost everything was way overpriced. See that $26.99 price tag on Army of Two? Sure, it's a Gamestop price tag, but that's what he wanted for it. There's no way I'd pay that much for that game new, so I'm definitely not coughing up that much dough for the guy that can't seem to figure out how to connect his Genesis to a TV. Since the outside vendors were a bust, I made my way inside.

I neglected to mention it before, but the Shore Flea Market is made up of two different buildings, the one in the first picture, and another one that just has a sign that says "TOOLS" hanging above the door. There are stalls lining both sides, but most of them were closed, or they were selling some bootleg health and beauty products. The main area was dominated by wooden bins full of knockoff stationary. Oh, and balaclavas. If you were planning a bank caper, this would be the place to stock up for you and your crew. 

The market wasn't exactly dead, but there were enough people milling around that I didn't want to stand around trying to snap pictures of everything. Besides, some of the characters running the place looked like the type that wouldn't allow photos. Sadly, the market is nothing like I remembered it. Many of the stalls looked like they were being used as storage units. I've stopped by this place off and on over the years, and I swear there are some booths that have never been open for business. They just sit there, accumulating more clutter.

There were a bunch of other booths open, but since I don't have a need for wigs, weaves, clothes that are way too small, or knives made to hang on the wall, I ended up leaving empty handed.

Oh, I almost forgot. Right smack dab in the middle of the flea market, there's a small lunch counter. According to the signs outside, they cook the best chicken on the ES of VA. I have to admit, if I have one regret, it's that I didn't give the chicken a shot. There were certainly some good smells coming from the fryer. But, since it was still before lunch, I wasn't sure my stomach could handle fried chicken and fries that early in the day. Maybe next time.

Since I had the whole day ahead of me, and it wasn't that far away, I drove the 15 minutes or so to the Flea Market 13 and Antiques in Pocomoke, MD. Besides having one of the most awkward names ever, the only interesting thing about this place was the sign on the front offering helicopter rides for $35. Sadly, the helicopter was nowhere to be seen. Knowing how everyone around here does everything half-assed, I'm not sure if I'm ready to trust my life in the hands of Edgar the part-time helo pilot. I walked around Flea Market 13 for a bit, but it wasn't much different than a lot of the other junk shops around here. I blame the popularity of shows like Storage Wars, Antiques Roadshow, and American Pickers for giving people the idea that all their random crap is actually worth something. I found one booth selling 90's VHS for $5 each, and it's not like they were hard to find titles. We're talking The Mask, Titanic, Mystery Men, and basically every other title that ended up in the bargain bin at K-Mart. And the people wonder why they can't sell anything. I did a couple circuits on the building, and left, having wasted quite a bit of time and gas only to leave frustrated.

So, that was that for my flea marketing days. I hate to be pissy, but I'm not sure I see a need to ever head back to these places.

Except for the chicken. I've got to try some of that chicken. 
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