Friday, November 17

Only Fleas Ride for Free

Jaffa's flea market is located in the ancient meat and herbs market area. Some of its stalls are in fact fairly fancy stores, owned by people from Jaffa as well as from Tel Aviv and else where. Other stalls are not much more than a small table in the street or a car hood, or even a plastic tablecloth spread out on the floor.
You can find almost anything, from used tables, chairs, fake Victorian and Edwardian furniture, crockery, books, long out of print magazines, old family photo albums (i always wonder who has the heart to throw these out) , clothes from India and elsewhere, old videos, used phones, whatever. some of the stuff is dead cheap, a lot of it quite the opposite.
The part i like best is not the streets with the stores, but the place where people simple spread out their stuff for sale on the earth and wait for a hapless buyer. Whenever i need "something special" for a studio photograph, i go to this area first of all.

On one of the corners, there are a few elderly Russian migrants whose whole life seems to consist of selling each other the same things. I suspect they go home with their own things every night, and with the same amount of money they came with. They appear to be selling the same stuff to each other over and over again. I guess it's a habit. I wonder what they would do if i'd try an buy that pair of red patent leather shoes of them. It would surely upset their system, they might go into shock.

One needs a permit to sell on the flea-market, even they need such a permit. Just to spend the day there and put your stuff on the ground in the hope someone buys it, you need to pay a tax to the municipality.
I guess the money is used to cover the cleaning and maintenance of the area, but given the many stalls and people selling their wares, the municipality must be doing quite well.
An armed guard goes around ticketing those who haven't paid for their permit, no consideration at all.
Today i noticed an older man, suffering from a physical impairment. He had an official document showing he's he suffers from physical problems ("teudat nekhe"). He sells old, used videos and cheap or used DIY tools.
Last week he paid for the permit, but his place had been taken by someone else, so he left. He had paid for the permit but had not been able to do any business. So today he opened his stall informing a supervisor of last week's mishap, under the impressions that last week's payment would cover this week's permit.
Withing a few minutes the guard came and started to threaten the elderly man with fines as well as a trial at the municipal court.
The man tried to explain and called the supervisor, to explain about what happened last week, but nothing helped.
He got fined. Rahamim is a beautiful word in Hebrew. But words, i guess, come cheaply. The municipality makes more money from fines & permits.

Jaffa, Friday morning

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