I went back to the flea market this past Sunday. Sadly, I arrived too late in the afternoon for it to be a super effective visit. Most of the vendors had already closed up shop by the time I was parking, I guess because it was a thousand degrees, and making five bucks off of used DVDs really wasn’t worth sitting in that shit.
I got enough for a post, obviously, but it wasn’t a great trip. There are times when a late flea market visit works in your favor, since the dealers are by then more likely to reduce their prices. On the other hand, you’re just as likely to run into very cranky people who haven’t sold anything all weekend, and are just waiting to pounce on the next would-be customer who walks away empty-handed.
Example: I came across one vendor selling a bunch of old keychains. It was a much smaller collection than the one I picked up a few months ago, but still similar in scope. I asked how much she wanted “for the whole pile,” and immediately regretted it as she began counting the keychains one by one. (A telltale sign of impending bullshit.)
She said that she couldn’t possibly sell them for less than $25 — an outrageous price that wasn’t even worth haggling on.
I politely declined and tried to walk away, but she practically demanded that I make her an offer. After some uncomfortable backing-and-forthing, I say “ten bucks,” mostly out of pity. She became indignant. Rather than replying to the offer that she literally forced out of me, the dealer huffed and muttered to herself while putting all of the keychains back into their “table spots.” So I guess that was a no?
Oh boy, lady. I’m crushed! How will I ever live without that rusted Busch Gardens keychain?
Other vendors were just as ornery, but dammit, I had a job to do. My scores certainly don’t rate as 2015’s best, but I think I found just enough to make the hot, humid trip to dusty hell worth it. See below, and decide for yourselves!
TMNT Technodrome Eye!
This seems worthless, but it’s far from it. This “eye” is arguably the most critical component of the old TMNT Technodrome playset, and it routinely sells for $15 or more. After all, a Technodrome owner may be willing to live with some missing guns or stickers, but a Technodrome without the eye is hardly a Technodrome at all.
Besides, even finding one single part of the Technodrome delighted me. See, that playset is the #1 thing I’m always searching for at flea markets, because it’s basically the most valuable and cool old toy that one could reasonably expect to find at one. It’s likely that if I ever do, it’ll be missing that eye. So buying this was the prologue to my eventual epic.
Power Rangers Video!
Oooh, score. The five-part Green with Evil mini-series — the one that introduced Tommy as the Green Ranger, initially as a villain — has gotta be my favorite Power Rangers thing ever.
Of course, those episodes are already all over YouTube, so I can’t say that I have much use for a video that only contains the first part. I guess I just liked the box, which if taken at face value promotes the story of a spiteful dirt biker who tries to shoo everyone away from a happy rainbow.
Mattel Guts Figure!
Price: 25 cents!
I recently wrote a tribute to the various “little figure” lines of the ‘80s and ‘90s, which unfortunately missed one of the top dogs. Mattel’s Guts collection absolutely should’ve been on that list.
Guts (properly styled as GUTS!, which is great as a logo but not so much in sentences) was an immense line of plastic warriors, with teams of soldiers, ninjas, scuba dudes and even guys in weird “laser” suits. In effect, Mattel took the idea of “green army men” and turned it into a legit action figure line.
I found this figure in a quarter bin otherwise filled with nothing but busted Hot Wheels cars. Part of the “Green Berets” team, he’s far from my favorite in the set, but he does have a kickass name: “Hot Launch.” (Presumably a “hot lunch” pun, targeted at the only age group that would appreciate such a joke.)
G.I. Joe Coloring Book!
I almost didn’t buy this, since the seller looked like one of those guys who’d demand ten bucks for an old coloring book. Glad I checked! One dollar for an unused G.I. Joe coloring book was a steal. I can’t wait for my next flu!
Dr. Mario “Get Well” Cards!
The same woman who sold me those TMNT greeting cards back in May had these on Sunday, which I assume to be much rarer.
And yes, that is Dr. Mario. I know the outfit is a little off, but I think that’s just because the card company wanted some form of Mario branding on the front, even if it was just the “M.” Many heated memos led to this compromise.
Gotta admit, I’m tempted to throw them on eBay. Nintendo collectors are a passionate lot, and I wouldn’t be shocked to make a nice profit off of these. If the stars align, these cards will pay for everything else featured here!
Musical Glo Worm!
The flea market always has a number of vendors with old, ratty dolls. Most commonly, they’ll be spread on dingy blankets over the literal earth, adding an afternoon’s worth of blown dirt to their already grimy bodies.
I try to avoid these vendors, because even I have my limits, and plastic heads swathed in slime and saliva push the fuck out of them. Still, I had to make an exception for Glo Worm, because I am human and any human would.
From 1984, this Musical Glo Worm is missing his pajama top, but is otherwise in incredible shape. I had to Clorox wipe the heck out of his face, but other than that, there are no major stains, nor even the expected ration of battery acid up his ass.
He’s since been tested, and I’m happy to report that Musical Glo Worm still works! He lights up, he plays music and he makes everything right. This was a win.
All in all, I’m glad I went. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have a Technodrome eye nor a bunch of coloring pages starring Cobra Commander. I left feeling like I had a “bad” day at the flea market, but the loot suggests otherwise. There’s no such thing as a bad day with Musical Glo Worm around.
PS: Want more to read? My latest Star Wars piece is now live. Go check out a bunch of bizarre Return of the Jedi candy heads from 1983! And then follow me on Twitter, so I can stop chasing “5000” and get on with my life.