Flea market violations

Our penny-wise po-po patrolled the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market to bust felonious thrifters.

CRIMINAL CLUTTER George hawks his tchotckes.

CRIMINAL CLUTTER George hawks his tchotckes. Photograph: Jeff Gurwin

CRIME Pawning off junk as antiques
Just because something’s old doesn’t mean it’s valuable. (Look at Chuck Woolery—old and merely a shill in real-estate infomercials.)
VIOLATOR George, Upstate NY
Thriftmonger George had a booth filled to the brim with old knickknacks of all shapes and sizes, everything from legitimate antiques to—what’s that, a box of crappy toy figurines from 2007? Indeed it is! “Some of the toys could be collectibles,” explained George, who’s selling them for a buck a pop. Could is the operative word here, since I doubt that yesterday’s Happy Meal toy is tomorrow’s Faberg egg.

CRIME Going cashless
Going to a flea market with credit cards is like going to pool party in a tuxedo.
VIOLATOR Anastasia, Brooklyn
Since Anastasia is a frequent thrifter (“I come every weekend!”), you’d think she’d have a wad of bills in her vintage handbag to shell out for ’80s prom dresses and the like. Alas, no. “It’s my strategy,” she admits. “I don’t carry cash, because I don’t want to spend it needlessly.” Yet when she discovered a $30 vintage suit—worth, she claims, two grand—she had to run to the ATM to get moola and return before someone else snatched it up...like, perhaps, a poor writer-cop from TONY who’s looking to make a few extra bucks on eBay? Score!

CRIME Impulse buys on big-ticket items
This ain’t Bloomingdale’s, toots. If you regret purchasing that antique walrus dong, you can’t return it.
VIOLATOR Patricia, New Jersey
Oh, Patricia. Dear, sweet, adorable Patricia. What in heaven’s name could get you to purchase a floor-length, green-dyed raccoon fur coat with green leather patches and dangling raccoon tails—in May, no less? “It’s unique,” she says. That it is! Not to mention she was able to haggle the price down from $499 to $249. What a steal for a colored ’coon fur! Does she know that PETA would paint it for free?

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