Brandon Hernández 9 a.m., Dec. 5
I pull up to the line where "occasional" vendors purchase a spot, and am greeted with a "got a sellers permit?" by a less than enthusiastic employee of the swap-meet.
After securing a space, I navigate my truck into my nursery-for-the-day...I'm here to sell some succulents and dragon fruit plants I grow in my backyard about a mile away.
Within hours, the black asphalt surrounding the Sports Arena--oops, Verizon Center, is transformed into a massive hodge-podge of new, used, expired date, knock-off goods and products of our "made in the USA" manufacturing might, or if you look at the labels, China's.
Today, I'm next to the young entrepreneur selling toys. He must of been here muy temprano (early), because his booth, with it's plethora of toys that soon enough will be broken and in the landfill, is nearly set-up. For display, he has turned on a little baby girl blondy-toysy-thingy that sings, over and over, to the melody of of "Twinkle, Twinkle, little star,"some lyric how much she loves you. So subliminal, and within a minute, so annoying. Said toy ends up being on all day, and I hum the jingle well into my third beer later that night.
Most of the vendors are Latino(clothes,food), or Asian(you name it), African-American(Marley stuff and sport's jerseys),except for the people selling used stuff, they're from all walks, but in general, not in the best financial or personal hygiene condition.
he people buying all this stuff? Multi-ethnic, mixed with an east-county "git-r-dun" vibe. And many people who need to eat way less food. Way less.
Sales are slow today, and hard to close. An Asian woman wants one of the five dollar dragon fruit plants.
"I give you two dolla." "There five, ma'am." "OK, I give you three." "I'll take four." "OK, two plants for six." Sold. Ouch. I did get some fine questions about the plants. "Do you need to water 'em?"("No, just pee on them every so often.") "Does the dragon fruit taste good?"("No, it tastes like shit, that's why I sell them.")
Time came to wrap-up for the day, and a quick stroll down my aisle, for anything I can't live without. Wouldn't you know, a guy is selling a five set of collector edition... John Wayne ceramic plates. A different image of him standing in his iconic posture from five different Wayne cinematic classics graces each plate.(My Wayne interest? My bio-mother says my bio-dad resembled the late-great actor.)
"How much?" "Whole set, fifteen bucks." "I just want one." "Uh, one for Five." "Deal." Price of swap-meet booth--Ten bucks. Sales for the day--118.00. John Wayne plate. Oh, I hate Visa cards, I'll spare the cliche, lets just say it's one bitchin' plate.