Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Chapter 6, Part 3 - Shopping
Swap shops are similar to flea markets in that the merchandise is displayed on stands by various vendors. The goods sold at swap shops also consist of items quite like those sold at flea markets. In fact, I’m not really sure what the difference is between swap shops and flea markets except that all the swap shops I know of are located outdoors, and they are usually in a bad section of town (not a part of town that would require a ‘Lock All Doors!’ scream if you got lost there, but not a section you would wish to buy a condo in). Most of the swap shops seem to be situated in abandoned warehouse parking lots that are massive in scale. And often they have sideshow events in addition to the shopping opportunities they offer. The swap shop my parents go to has various magicians performing every weekday morning from 9:00 to 12:00 (9:00 to 1:00 on weekends). I guess the idea is that potential shoppers go to the swap shop in the morning to catch the free show and then they stay to shop. The first year I went there, I wasn’t convinced that the swap shop’s marketing scheme with the magicians would work. I thought it was kind of hokey. But every season when I visit the swap shop, it is always packed with shoppers. So, I guess the owners knew that if they offered something free in Florida they would continually attract a crowd of old folks to shop there.