The Tri-Cities Flea Market

This week, I ventured into what I can only describe as the Mall of America, of flea markets.  At least for around here.  That’s right, I talk about it all the time, I tell you I get all of my old games from there, and now I’m back here talking about it… with some pictures.

I want people to understand this, I am going to make this article as funny as I can, but I am not being condescending at all.  I frequent this place, and I know a lot of people out there look down on flea markets, or think of them as “dirty” or, whatever else they think.  I could really care less about what they think.  I have a friend that has a collection of video games pretty similar to mine, except he spent about 5 times as much on his because he travels all over the place, he buys online, and he buys one game at a time.  And the flea market isn’t just about video games, there are tons of other thing you can get a little cheaper too.

For example:

Need some keys? No problem here. (Sorry for the blurry picture)

Lost your favorite wig? We got your back.

This next picture, I have to explain for those of you who aren’t yokels.  All Fired Up is a store where you can buy any kind of hot sauce that’s out there.  They have a huge selection and are even in some local malls.  I don’t know exactly how big the chain is, but a lot of local shops and things get started at the flea market, and save money up until they can expand.

But hot sauce and sunglasses in one place, at last?  Finally, you can put that Dave’s Insanity Sauce on your pringles, and no one will be able to tell you’re crying.

This sign is on every single door to all of the 10 or 11 indoor buildings (there are also about 6 “outdoor” buildings).  But that doesn’t stop vendors from renting a space and moving in a little business solely dedicated to catering to your pet.  There are shops in there that sell customized dog collars and ID tags, sweaters and leg-warmers (I’m guessing), another little stall even sells life preservers for your pets, both dogs AND cats.  I know, I found it a little odd that there’s a market for life preservers for cats, too.  And for the dogs out there that are spoiled rotten:

My dog: "Whaddaya got there?" Your dog: "Milkbones." My dog: "Pfffft, hahaha, loser!"

This place seriously is like a mall.  Look at the aisles down each building, they look pretty much like this…

Go on deadmalls.com and this is actually a step up.

Some of the stalls, you can really tell people put a lot of time and effort into making them really nice.

Mall or flea market? Who can tell?

Some stalls even offer a larger variety of products than malls do!

All in one place? For realz?!

And the amenities this place offers is awesome.  A lot of “flea markets” up North, or in different parts of the country don’t have indoor restrooms.  They might not even have indoor buildings.  Just a bunch of people standing outside at pic-nic tables, well…

...we got that too.

But there are also…

Indoor plumbin', y'all!

And seriously, what do you do when you’re at a flea market and have no cash?  You either go to one of the FOUR (that I counted) cash for gold places, or hit up one of these:

I counted 6 of these in the buildings I went into today, and I wasn’t even really paying attention to how many there were.  There could be more, just in case you need a little more cash to get what you had your eye on.  Check out just some of the things I came across.

Movie posters? Got'em.

Women's Fashion Boutiques? Got'em.

Check.

Golf clubs? We might have a few.

WHAAAAAAT?!

High quality, hand crafted cedar furniture? Done and done.

I heard washer/dryer combos are on sale this month.

Kids section? We're workin on it.

And this isn’t your grandma’s yard sale either.  This is a legitimate business that people from all over the Tri-Cities come to.  They bring their friends here when they come in town.  I know I do it.  There are a lot of things I didn’t take pictures of, as well.  One stall boasted “100% soy wax candles”.  I have no idea what the difference between soy wax and regular wax is.  My best guess is that regular candles taste like bacon, and soy candles are vegetarian friendly.

And what mall flea market would be complete without…

Tourists use this thing.... a LOT.

Another similarity between this flea market and an average mall is…

You bet your ass, we got one.

That’s right.  There is a food court.  And it’s a far sight better than the food court I was used to growing up in Northern Virginia.  There are ladies there that make homemade fudge, a lot of people are using their granny’s recipes, and honestly.. how many other places do you know of besides state/county fairs where you can find deep fried Oreos/Twinkies/pickles/cheesecake/butterfingers/snickers-ON-A-STICK!?  Better hit that ATM up again, and call the boss, it’s going to be one very long lunch hour.

Bread me up something and throw it in the oil!

A Mexican place, their stuffed potatoes will keep you going for a while.

Security is a big issue here.  A lot of the vendors have day-jobs and come here on the weekend to earn a little extra cash.  They don’t want you stealing their stuff, is what I’m saying.  They take their paycheck and invest in the inventory they sell.  They don’t have time to watch you and your stupid friends walk off with their things.  And I mean come on, it’s a flea market.  How much could the thing in your hand cost?  Haggle with them, or something, but don’t steal.  Not cool.  All this behavior warrants signs like these:

They are not joking.

Yup.

This guy sells stereos and wasn't there that day. He locks up tighter than a drum.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the people there have their own specialty shops where they just sell Mary Kay, or just sell Avon, or just sell “knives” (that’s how they advertise them, with the quotation marks and all), or just video games (more on that in a minute).  But there are some stalls there where the people that rent them out just bring… stuff.  Not anything in particular, just stuff.

Pictured: Stuff.

Pictured: More stuff.

Look up there, stuff on a shelf! You can buy it, take it home, and put it on your shelf!

It’s crazy, and sometimes if you don’t feel all high and mighty, or like it’s beneath you or anything, you actually can have a pretty good time rooting around through all of that stuff.  The people that own it don’t even know what they have.  And I’ll tell you what, I’ve known people that have found some good (not super expensive, but not costume) jewelry out of the bottom of a “stuff” box.  I’ve found old original game boy games in their original boxes in “stuff” boxes, and they asked a quarter each for them.  One time, I was at a place like this flea market and I found a sterling silver ring that was a dolphin, and it was circular, as most rings tend to be, and the nose touched the tail of it which made it a loop.  My mom was so pissed when I didn’t give that ring to her, and instead gave it to my cousin.  What the hell did I know about rings, I was 8.

I PROMISE you this picture was taken at the same flea market on the same day. Yes, you can get calves, goats, and roosters there too. We ARE in the south.

***

Okay, I definitely saved the best (or at least my favorite part) for last.

 

It's go time, baby!

Fellow nerds, and nerdettes, the guy behind the counter is Ben.  He is one of the nicest guys you’ll meet.  He is my “hidden source” for all of my video game needs.  Most of the reviews I do about older video games.. are all thanks to him.  On average I probably buy from him twice a month.  At the very least, once a month, and a few months have gone by where I’ve bought games from him every weekend.  His inventory is massive, his prices are very reasonable, and I could have fun in his little corner of the market for hours.  He sells comic books, action figures, and other things that are strong pheromones to nerds.  While I was there the day this article was written, I flipped through the pages of a “Howard the Duck” comic book.  Remember that movie?  Yeah, he’s got a ton of stuff, and I’m sure he’s got a ton more to bring in if he were to flip all of his inventory tomorrow.  Let’s take a look…

 

There's a "Vader" 2600 up top I didn't notice until I loaded this pic up at home. Oh, and some games.

...A few more.

And just a couple more for the avid NES/SNES fans out there.

...And for the XBox fans.

Then a few GameCube games for the kiddies.

PS2, anyone?

Yet more NES games, and the case on top is full of DC, Saturn, Sega CD, and other disc only games.

N64, for sure.

He keeps a few of the better games behind the counter.

And I know what you’re saying.  “But Jester, I love all of those old games, but I don’t have the system for it!”

 

Ben's got you, dude.

He's totally got you.

His collection just keeps on going!

I didn’t take pictures of nearly everything he has.  And keep in mind this is just one section of one building of the entire flea market.  Fun to go to, fun to look around, and fun to haggle.  Fun all around.  If you run into Ben, tell him “that guy who writes the blog” sent you.  He’ll know what it means.

Okay, I showed you the stuff, the food, the luxuries, the everything else.  Except the sign.

 

There.

I showed you everything now.  Hit it up, or don’t, more stuff for me.  It is fun though.

See you there!

The Jester.

*All images are property of me, The Jester.  I didn’t copyright them, and give everyone permission to use them.  Just give me a credit for it, please.*

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6 Responses to “The Tri-Cities Flea Market”

  1. […] The Tri-Cities Flea Market […]

  2. I love this blog site layout . How do you make it? It’s so sweet!

  3. Nice blog. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Very helpful info specially the first part. I care for such information much. I was seeking this particular information for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  4. Amazing post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am quite impressed! Extremely useful info specifically the first part. I care for such information much. I was seeking this certain info for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  5. Oh so much fun, this is the best flea market I have ever been to and I do miss it so.
    Thanks for the memories.

  6. […] The Do's and Don'ts of Flea Market Shopping ~ Creative Savings10 Tips for Frugal Flea Market Shopping | Extreme Money SavingExtreme Money SavingFlea Market Business Success: Organize Operations | Via Trading | BlogIt’s Outdoor Festival & Flea Market Season! | Making LemonadeThe Sussex Flea Market is this weekend! – blogblogblogThe Tri-Cities Flea Market | Cracked a jester's Blog […]

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