My Friday class of Greek Dance students performing!
The lost week and weekend is finally over! We flea market workers are exhausted and our bodies are aching. Mind you, my co-chair and I are younger than our much older helpers and we're feeling it so I can just imagine how the others are doing. Making a huge Greek Festival happen is hard work. Our flea market is like ten big garage sales all together. From the planning to the set-up, the selling, the yelling, the organizing, the crazy people, to the clean-up, it's no joke. Except for the fun, that's the good part.
Let me say right now that the flea market is ridiculously hard. Other volunteers like to complain that their stations are the hardest, but they haven't helped run the flea market. Unless they've worked it they can't talk about it! Besides, we start setting up the room on Monday of Memorial Day weekend and keep going until today, Monday after it's all over. I'm writing this early because when I'm done I have to head over there to oversee the pick-up I arranged with the Big Brothers organization. Yup, I can't see good items get thrown in a dumpster so I called them to make a donation. They'll take most of the items so I make it a point to tell them to come with an empty truck! Why throw things out when Big Brothers can use it? Recycle, repurpose or reuse, I say. Another friend owns a book store and donates to needy people so he's coming this morning to take the tons of books we couldn't sell.
This year we had double the donations from last year and most of everything sold, even big ticket items like a large, ornately framed mirror and antique silver plated items. We have a supermarket bag sale where the shoppers can fill a bag for $5.00 the last two hours of operation and it's very popular.
During the shopping I overheard someone saying to their companion, "I'm having such a good time in here!" Hearing that made me smile. Last night another shopper told me she was so happy she found out about our festival and overjoyed to stumble upon such a big flea market. She was so excited and said she was having a blast. I was thrilled!
Like I said, this flea market is huge. It's a regulation basketball court big. People donate their cast off items and we get everything you can think of from all over their homes, in and out. You name it, we have it. My co-chair and I try to think how to set up the items to be very visible and look best for the best price. It takes plenty of planning. Take a look at my photos from Friday and you'll get an idea.
The shoppers line up early and are like race horses chomping at the bit to get in. Once we open the doors they rush in thinking they're getting the best items before anyone else. Some try to sneak in by saying it's hot outside and they want to sit in the air conditioning-we don't buy it! Some people try to buy a $10 item for 50 cents. Others want an item and say they don't have enough money to buy the $1 item and then pull out a $50 for change. There are those who have fun bargaining with us and those who throw the item on the table when they find out it's 50 cents and walk away angry! The shoppers I get a kick out of are the ones who start telling us their sob story, "I just want this for my sister" "I spent too much money this week" "I just like this for my kid" "My husband is tired and wants to go home" "I don't speak English" --you know, stupid stuff. We roll our eyeballs and sigh! Some of these people are well to do! They want to get away cheap! It's already cheap! Come on! We're talking 50 cents for brand new boxed crystal vases or a platter! And you know, Macy's doesn't care if you spent alot of money, you're tired, or you don't speak English. Give me a break.
Okay, now for the laugh of the week! This place is pandemonium! Stuff is all over, piled here and there, especially the kid's section with stuffed animals, games, baby stuff, you name it. Strollers, carriages, play pens, cribs, jumping things, legos, action characters, all strewn across the area by kids and shoppers. Our last night was a mess with the stuff. One shopper bargained with me on a stroller. among the many we had left, and a folded up playpen thing. We agreed on a price, she paid and took her items. She was also a volunteer working in the souvlaki pit. About twenty minutes later, another shopper starts screaming someone stole her stroller. We're in shock! I start looking around at the strollers. My co-chair said she sold a stroller and I said I did too. The woman is flipping out saying how could someone in the church steal her stroller. She brings security. We can't believe it and are trying to think what happened. Another shopper overheard the action and tells the souvlaki person. She finds me and said maybe she bought the woman's stroller? Well, it ended up she did, but by that time the upset woman had left screaming. We get the stroller, give her a refund, found the now calm woman and returned her stroller. She was thrilled.
Later, the security guard came to ask what happened. So I told him we sold the stroller! He started laughing so hard he was crying! We laughed too. He told me whatever business I'm in to forget it and sell stuff because he couldn't believe I sold someone's personal item! Well, look, if you leave your things unattended in this flea market, you run the risk of losing it to a sale! Then I told him how I sold a guy's personal tools that he left behind a few years ago. Hey, listen, you have to hold on to your stuff in that flea market! This poor security guard left laughing hysterically and shaking his head.
We laughed too! Thank goodness it's over.