Monday, August 24, 2009
Don't Get Fleeced at the Flea Market...
Yesterday, we went to a weekend flea market hosted by the Rotary Club held in the grounds of the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children at North Rock.We prefer going to the smaller suburban "bring and buy market" or "car booth sales market", where inexpensive or secondhand goods are sold or bartered and the vendors are usually from a family that is renting a table or tent from the organiser for the first time to sell a few unwanted household items or selling homemade cakes and jams, plants and art and crafts. Of course, there are also some enterprising vendors who scout the region buying items for sale from garage sales and other flea markets, to sell them in the stalls.There are also food vendors who sell snacks and drinks, thus adding a carnival atmosphere to the market. It differs from the other bigger commercial operations like weekends markets in the city, which are similar to our pasar malam or street markets in Singapore. Like the pasar malam, these bigger weekends markets consist of rental stalls that usually sell goods such as fruit, vegetables, snacks, toys, clothes, movie discs and ornaments at cheap or at least reasonable prices compared with the shops. But, be warned! you may not get what you have paid ... Some have become infamous as outlets for pirated movies and musics and cheap imitations of brand-named clothing, accessories, or fragrances. Don't get fleeced!
Within five minutes of our arrival at the market, I had bought something that I didn't know I ever used again...I spotted this aluminium vessel for cooking steam boat aka Mongolian hot. It drew to me, past stalls and tables loaded with flea market treasures and trash, to itself like a magnet. It was love at first sight. Furthermore, it has never been used and the gentleman who sold it to me didn't know what is it for and was in his garage for years. I handed over $15 dollars without haggling and couldn't be more pleased. I have been looking for this traditional charcoal fired hot pot for a long while.This cooking vessel resembles a brass incense burner on a cone shaped base with a chimney at the centre.Today in many modern households, the traditional charcoal-heated steamboat or hot pot has been replaced by a gas or electrical hot pot, and uses a disposable gas cylinder or electricity as source of heat. All this bring to prove an often repeated axiom in my family : No matter what you want , if you wait , you'll eventually find it at a garage sale or flea market for a lot less money than would otherwise pay. (But my teen son won't buy into that. :) )