For some, Love is their drug. For others, drugs are their drug.
For me, it’s flea markets. They’re addictive — once you’ve experienced one, you feel the need to visit regularly or else you might miss some junk you don’t need that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.
I love the discount deals on household items and the occasional rare score of a vintage geek collectible for a great price. But what I love most about flea markets is the amusement to be found in odd and unusual knock-off and/or bootleg products, particularly cheaply-made imports with their crudely designed artwork, garishly colored packaging, and “Engrish” product descriptions.
There are whole websites devoted to the showcasing and collecting of these products (hereafter referred to as “KOs”). But I just photograph them for others’ amusement.
First up is this knock-off toy based on Pixar’s Cars movie franchise, with its creepy, ventriloquist dummy-type bulging eyes. (Note the packaging says “Funny Car” and unintentionally so.)
You have to give the designer some credit for the creative effort in avoiding the trademarked “Rust-Eze” sponsor gag:
Below is the back of the packaging for a KO Cars mini vehicle set, with wonderfully (or woefully) descriptive Engrish — and of course you know any statement becoming more important!! when you are include additional exclamydiation point:
And this was a Cars KO racing track set, although the packaging would have you believe it’s a “Puzzle.” But it’s the note on “self-assembly” that cracks me up:
It’s also common with cheap import product to see random copyrighted anime characters slapped on various toys and accessories, like these tin pencil case things. (Also note that “W” and “D” in “4WD” are either upside-down or backwards, depending on the angle):
It’s nice to see these sports-car themed tins aren’t just for boys either!
And since Bakugan toys were all the rage with boys, these “Clash Tornado Metal Fusion” KOs were inevitable:
And the Engrish product description on the back defies description. You have to see it for yourself — from “deviation” to “deformation phenomena.” And the note of caution “to your fingers” is both laughable and no doubt frightening to any child who reads this. Also, anyone willing to translate what that last statement means about taking care of “adults with end”… be my guest.
With The Amazing Spider-Man releasing in U.S. theaters July 3rd, crappy knock-off import product has begun its flea market invasion. Naturally.
The packaging for this Spider-Man… whatever it is — decorative hanging wall-art/clock thingy… describes this as a “Fad Gift” for those who really, really, really love them some Spider-Man. And it features four different versions of Spidey, no less.
And of course I’ve saved the best item for last.
This is Spidey straddling a toy gun in a pose that… well, frankly, it’s a little risque. (Also, part of the gun appears to be built into Spider-Man’s butt.) But even more inappropriate is what this toy gun is called…
The next “Funny Flea Market Finds” episode will include KO Bratz/Barbie Dolls, Transformers, and Star Wars.
All of the above items were photographed in June 2012 by Craig Crumpton at two separate flea market venues between Ringgold, GA and Chattanooga, TN.