There's a certain sentiment about flea markets that leads people to believe that there's treasure buried in those booths – you just have to be willing to look. But for last-minute shoppers who have just spent the better part of the month not looking, nobody expects you to have the patience to pick through the bedraggled booths at Sanford's FleaWorld (which, rejoice!, is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve). So, I combed through the flea market for you to locate gifts good for almost anyone you're buying for.
You're welcome; that shit got kinda hairy.
1. Hot sauces from Kitchen Gadgets & Gifts, Booth D-21 ($4.25-$20) Listen, I love sriracha as much as the next person, but there are hot sauces out there that rival the mighty rooster. Not only does this housewares shop display a range of childishly named hot sauces for an easy laugh upon gift opening, such as Queen of Farts ($6.99) or Scorned Woman ($4.25), they also have a secret arsenal of sauces for serious heat-seekers only. Just ask to see the XXX hot sauce display. I might recommend the Garlic-o-holic gift box, though, which at $20 gives your intended recipient four fiery options in an easily wrapped configuration.
2. Batman switchblade from Zahoor Akhtar, Booth C-56 ($10) If Santa isn't real, then Batman probably isn't either (sorry), but luckily, your loved one can create his or her own safety in the superhero's image with this Batman-inspired switchblade. It comes in five colors, so don't feel obligated to be true to the character and pick black. The blade is made of stainless steel, and – just a reminder – this is a weapon, not a toy, so it would probably be best to consider the age of your gift-giving target before asking Peaches, the dealer's cockatoo, to open the knife case for you.
3. Bacon Wave from Momo's Market, Booth F-92 ($12.99) We've all seen those horrible-yet-memorable commercials for items like the Shake Weight, and
occasionally an advertised product catches our attention because it's just so convenient and, thus, somehow desirable. To go this route, you have to really know who you're shopping for to deduce whether they are likely to delight in certain as-seen-on-TV gifts that would ease their daily living. I know too many bacon lovers to count, so the Bacon Wave, a clean-and-quick route to fried bacon, is pretty much a no-brainer. Perhaps it's the perfect gift for someone on your
4. Soaps from Tropical Elements, Booths E-48, C-1 (various prices) Sure, inherently, soap isn't all that exciting, but soaps that are pretty, well-scented and plant-based can get costly, so for those you know who tend to smell good, it's likely because they make that extra investment in awesome soaps (which, I assure you, they aren't finding at Publix, Walgreens or even the Body Shop). The range of scents found here goes beyond patchouli or lavender, and includes inventive options like spearmint-and-bran or the oddly specific French pear.
5. Conch shell from Bargain Main, Booth X-86 ($5-22) It was the biker culture collection of coins, leather, skulls and pins that first drew me in to shop around this one-off shop in a sea of dollar stores. But what I stayed for was the conch shells. The conch shell, which is typically seen more frequently in houses than on seashores, can be used as: an instrument, a bookend, a shot glass, a mantelpiece object, a personal therapist and, in Buddhism, it's also a symbol that you are in control of your life. Surprisingly powerful present, right?
6. Salt and pepper shakers from Chen's Dollar Store, Q row ($9.99) There is no contest, really. The best dollar-store option at FleaWorld is Chen's, which features a wider range of screwy home goods than the others, including a line of salt-and-pepper shaker holders for just about any person's dining room table. Some favorite holder themes included a mule who carries the shakers in baskets on his back ("At Your Service") and baskets tossed down in a chicken coop ("Farm Flavor"), but the one that really stood out had shakers that dropped into the eye sockets of a skull and was called "Deadly Devourings."
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