Caesar Creek Flea Market

Posted on May 3, 2009

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As you hear the doom and gloom economic news of these days, one persistent story is that Americans are changing their purchasing habits. There are stories about clipping coupons, growing food in backyard “victory” gardens, and a return to cooking at home. While there is no doubt that Americans are cutting back on large expenditures like cars and houses, I am dubious that this is the first step in a permanent move towards thriftiness. Many of the hallmarks of thriftiness I believe would be too great a jump for the average employed middle-class American.

I look at a couple (unscientific) trends to support my skepticism. When I drive past restaurant parking lots, they are still full every night of the week. The savings rate is still very low; going from 0 to 4% is not much of an improvement as far as I am concerned. I do not see a surge in carpooling, renting out rooms in homes, closing of expensive private schools, or reuse.

This weekend I took the eighty mile journey south to visit one of the premier Ohio flea markets – Caesar Creek Flea Market in Wilmington, Ohio. There are hundreds of vendors spread out over a sprawling facility that extends indoors and outdoors. The products being offered run from books to tools to jewelry. One stall offered tarot card readings and another advertised a great variety of Dale Earnhardt merchandise. They even had an adult store out back in a little red barn!
While nearly everything was a good deal, I noticed that most of the stuff was new. I think Americans have gotten so into the throw-away culture that even the poor are no longer willing to buy someone else’s old stuff. It all heads straight to the landfill. The flea market was very well attended, though I did not see any sign of the wealthier people who are cutting back I hear about in the news.
I found one vendor who was selling tomato plants at a great price – $2 for six plants. In comparison, last night I saw slightly bigger plants at Wal-Mart at $3 each! I scooped up a six pack of Yellow Jelly Beans, which are a small, yellow tomato that is sweet and goes well on salads. Combined with the Big Boys plants I already have, it is looking to be a good tomato year in the Kaizar household.
Elly managed to find a food stall which offered a “healthy” vegetarian food option – fried green beans! These were string beans which were breaded and deep fried. The end product looked like breaded worms. They tasted pretty good though and made for a unique experience you can only find at the flea market.

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