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Sunday, August 5, 2007

Shopping Report: Bussey's Flea Market

I think in the grand scheme of things, flea markets take us back to the roots of our ancestors, regardless from what continent we might originate. Certainly in Europe, Asia, The Middle East and Africa, you see people doing their shopping at markets, and not just for vegetables or fish, but for stuff too.

And there is a culture of sorts for people who make the flea market a weekend commitment, the people who have the same booth each week, selling crafts or things they make with their own hands, as well as for the people who visit every weekend, hoping to find the right thing to hang on the wall in the garage. You also have family who decides to load up the contents of their attic and see if they can make a little more than had they just opened the garage door and held a yard sale.

My wife and I don't go nearly as often as we did years ago, but we still like to make several trips a year to Bussey's Flea Market on IH-35 North in Schertz. We went Saturday, just for a quick stroll around the grounds and I took a few pictures that might motivate you to visit the next time you get a chance.

Probably the most important thing you should know, and quite frankly, the thumbs up versus thumbs down on any flea market attempt is the status of cold adult beverages and whether or not they are served. In the case of Bussey's, we do have a thumbs up, and it is therefore safe to proceed.

Now I have been to flea markets where the majority of vendors are people that want to open there own version of The Dollar Store, but don't want to have to pay the price of rent in a strip mall. It helps to take a crash course in Korean when visiting these flea markets. The one on Highway 16 South, between San Antonio and Poteet is a perfect example. You will often find vendors at these locations who also double as circus freaks for other sources of income. I say this with the utmost respect to full-time employed circus freaks, who are an important part of our nations economy.

At the Highway 16 flea market, there used to be an old guy that ran a merry go round. Probably 10 years ago or more, he made the mistake of yelling at my niece for probably a valid reason, but my brother-in-law, Junior, was none to pleased with this display of rude behavior and threatened no less than to physically assault the man for cause. Since that time, including the last time we went, over a year and a half ago, Junior would see the old man at the merry go round ride and stare him down. Because our visits had become so sporadic over the years, it is very likely that this poor man had long ago lost any recollection of the reason why my brother-in-law gives him the evil eye for a minute, then calmly moves on. Ah, the pitfalls of life as a carny.

But back to more pleasant things at Bussey's. If you are looking for the latest CD's of your favorite artist, you can get them here for a reasonable price. I'm sure these are all original copies and the artists receive due compensation.

At Bussey's you will find a full range of country folk, and friendly people like this one seemingly Native American fellow who sells incense and relics and knives and secret spiritual products and stuff.
I hope I'm not speaking out of turn, but the secret product that his incense has strangely seems to smell a bit like reefer, but I could be wrong. I'm sure the ladies visiting his booth have come for the ancient Native American cure for glaucoma.

Many of the best things to look through are what I like to call other people's junk. If you dare to brave the heat of South Central Texas, you will find tables out in the open air. This is where the good deals are found. I once bought a really nice antique chair from a lady who was selling all of her husbands stuff before the divorce papers could stop her.
I asked her how much she wanted for the chair. She said $50.00. I turned and started to walk away as such a substantial investment might cut into my funds needed for the aforementioned cold beverages. She then stopped me and asked how much I would give her for the chair. I didn't want to offend her because the chair was clearly worth way more than the $50.00 she was asking. Her helpful best freind advised me that it was a divorce sale and she suggested I offer up $15.00. I did and the two ladies high-fived one another, convinced the soon to be ex-husband would be boiling mad over my good deal.

You can't go wrong with used books or magazines from a flea market. I mean, aside from the worries of somebody else's germs and such, why buy new? And as soon as you finish reading those old copies of Life, you can sell them at your garage sale as "collectors editions" and nobody will know you got them at Bussey's for a dime.

Ready to get back to school, or you have a bunch of ankle biters that need some Shakespeare in their lives? For fifty cents, they'll be on the street corner reciting The Bard as if they had paid attention in Alternative School.

Okay, I'm no trophy hunter, but let's be honest - it would be cool to tell everyone that you went on a big safari to Hondo or some place exotic like Cotulla. Why not spring for a few stuffed Bambi's and make your family dining room look like dinner at the Water Buffalo Lodge?

Don't tell me you didn't have a Snoopy suitcase the first time you took a trip on the aeroplane. Oh sure, they poked fun at you all the way through Basic Training, but you know your Military Training Instructor was just jealous that he didn't have one. If he had shopped at Bussey's he'd have had his own too.

My wife and I once took visiting family to a night of dancing at the club. One of her cousins was pretty enthusiastic about the fact that for 50 cents, you could get shots of various men's cologne sprayed upon your body like one of those machines at the car wash dispensing NuCar smell on a beat-up Chevy backseat. And he spared no expense trying all the available brands.

My friends, why empty your pockets of lose change one spray at a time when you can get the entire bottle (less any that Grandpa may have used during WWII) for a buck?


Finally, I ask you, where can you get fine Mexican dinnerware and a handsome Seeing Eye Dog all in one location? Of course, Bussey's Flea Market.

Do you have a flea market that I should know about? Tell me about your favorite circus freak stories.












1 comment:

Alistair Xavier Booya said...

Thank you for your review. In San Antonio for business and spotted a Flea Market billboard. Wasn't sure if it was worth the half hour drive.

Lets hope so.

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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