I've been thinking about "flea markets" quite a bit these few weeks, sprung from a need for survival via the solution of selling off my toys and trinkets amassed throughout the years, or simply giving up (full time) blogging to go find a job that would pay me what I need to survive and thrive on. Money doesn't "grown on trees" and seems blogging about it is very close (or perhaps I am adamant to acknowledge it already has) to become a virtual fertilizer for a virtual "money tree".
Be that as it may, I've always enjoyed helming flea market stalls, as well visiting them (one of my kryptonites in "life"), as opposed to having a "permanent" brick-n-mortar shop, to operate 24/7- for which I have zero temperament for, admittedly. I am not a people-person, and neither am I a good salesman (much less a "businessman"), so something with the temporary "hit" of hawking stuff, is a downright appealing notion to me. Once a week. Once a month. A decent trade-off for temperament over liquid-cash.
I mentioned "liquid cash" now, because I might not be in it for the "profits" - don't get me wrong, a profit makes the world happy, but at some point, "instant cash" makes me happier, and I do not necessarily have the patience to wait out a "profit" … told you I was a bad businessman hahahahahaha fullfookinstop.
But the flea markets these days have become such a rampant notion, that it is either a "hip" up-market happenings at discotheques or quaint locales for the younger set, or the heartland gatherings in open air public space next to the neighborhood supermarket, barber or bakery - all of which is a by-default way to clear older stock and personal stuff, to earn money hahaha. There's even a listing for them.
Singaporeans have embraced this concept the past few years, when literally over decade or two ago, it was still seen as something as "foreign" and/or "bohemian" a concept … "Why BUY something OLD and USED, when you can buy something brand NEW?"
Spent Saturday evening helping mum set up her first flea market stall (Sis stayed with her to man the stall instead) at the local heartland enclave, and as expected, it was (mostly) literally a hodgepodge of 2nd-hand wares being hawked, compared to many other flea markets that are places to sell modern and new goods, without the expense of permanent long-time space rental attributing to a brick-n-mortar with electricity and rental bills. And there's nothing wrong or demeaning in that, I think, as that's what constitutes a "flea market" in the first place, isn't it?
Through the years, it has evolved into the Singaporean subconsciousness, and in entertainment strapped Singapore, "things-to-do" gets eventual attention, regardless "good" or "bad".
(Table at The Substation)
Memories of my flea market jaunts include my first tenure at The Substation, Sunday Market, early 1990's. Where, for $5 rental per day. we would set up our own foldable table, a beach umbrella, and two stools - all of which were provide for by the location (now housing theoutdoors of "Timbre"), all inclusive of the $5!
Back then it was a literal "bohemian" concept, with impromptu fashion shows with the entire market grounds as the catwalk, or where an aspirating poet would self-publish and sell her own book of poetry, AND have her own poetry readings on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Other stalls had handmade jewelry, knick knacks and collectibles, while mine was predominantly comicbooks and trading cards, while my friend Kelvin and Jon had their own stalls selling toys. Business was not great but the atmosphere was fun and refreshing (well, my ex(s) might not have agreed on this … ;p) and something "different" from the hustle and bustle of everyday Singapore!
I will always remember that one time when my sales for a Sunday yielded $2.50 (Can't remember what I sold tho), or that the highest ever was over $400, but only because I had advertised in a weekend newspaper classifieds for a comicbook sale!
(Table at Clarke Quay indoors)
Other flea markets had came and gone. Spent a formative few years at the Clarke Quay Flea Market in mid-late 90s (before everything was taken over and changed into the posh nightlife spot it is now known for) and even the outdoor corridors of Tanglin Mall (quite forgettable, really) post-New Millennium, to even the current Sunday Market at China Square Central (most folks there were from the CQ flea market itself), now predominantly known as THE spot to visit for TOYS.
Thinking back, most the time it had been a "leisurely" pursuit, a (somewhat "addictive") hobby to experience, and perhaps even the chance to earn some cash, to buy toys, comics and trading cards too (think "self-sustaining" hobby ;p), but circumstances had changed.
(Video walk-thru of CSC circa 2006 - not much has changed hahaha)
Since having my Stroke in 2010, my physicality has changed. My physical strength is no longer as robust - of course being "older" does no favors hahaa - and the notion of helming a flea market, is now more of a "challenge" than "adventure".
It is not about just sitting at your table making small talk and making sales, it is also about preparing and setting up your stall. It is about the transport of all the wonderful things people pawned haggle the price over, to and fro the venue. It is about hopefully not manning the table alone so that you could visit have a bathroom break (and a cigarette, back in the day anyways ;p). It is also the resistance of not spending your profits of the day at another booth (something which marked my days at CQ hahahaha).
(Table at CSC circa March 2010)
I think of CSC quite often, but the reality of transporting items quells that thought unfortunately. But the local flea market? It is accessible by trolley and a walk (good exercise for me, no doubt hahahaha), although I would not expect to be selling the toys I blog about, but then again, what avenues are open to me? An online shop is currently in the works, but in these lean days, "survival" takes priority, and "liquid cash"; is King. And I need to be it's humble servant.
But beyond the "real world" needs, I admittedly miss having flea market stall(s). I miss prepping things to sell, I missing making a sale. I miss meeting fellow toy-lovers in the flesh and face, and talking about toys … I don't miss the transporting of the stuff tho hahahaha