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Wednesday, July 9, 2014


By Sharon Wolff
(Photo Viette)
Ugh! It's that time of year. Bees are buzzing, flowers are blooming, birds are singing and Japanese Beetles are returning! The ones in my yard love the Rose of Sharon shrubs. Leaves, buds, flowers; these pests love every part of the plant.

Today I found the first uninvited guests and it was time to take immediate action.

First Japanese Beetle of the season
(Photo Sharon Wolff)

  1. Stick (I need a particularly long one so as to remain as far away from the buggers as possible)
  2. Plastic cup
  3. Any liquid soap mixed with water

Soapy water and a stick
(Photo Sharon Wolff)
Early summer leaf damage to Rose of Sharon
(Photo Sharon Wolff)
  1. Position cup under the leaf/branch that contains the bug(s).
  2. Swiftly knock the leaf/branch with your stick (or hand if you aren't petrified of touching the beetle). See video below.
  3. Bug will fall into soapy water and die almost immediately.
  4. If you whack too slowly, the beetle will tightly hook itself onto the leaf and attempt to intimidate you with its ugly tentacles. If you aren't scared, pick it off and drop into soapy water. Otherwise, you will need  to wait for it to relax and try again. You will eventually get your rhythm and efficiency established.
  5. Check bushes several times every day to get the newcomers. 
Getting in position to whack the beetle
(Photo Jordan Wolff)

  1. Keep bushes short so you can reach the top branches.
  2. Although pesky, these bugs are not so bright and it's easy to catch them off guard.
  3. Once your Rose of Sharon blooms, many beetles will congregate inside the tasty flowers, so you can catch several at once.
  4. Scared of bugs? No one is a freaked out as I am. This no touch method works with only very rare accidental physical contact with the beetles. This happens if I miss the timing of the whack and beetles scatter and bump into my head while escaping. If this happens to you, do what I do:  Scream, go into the house, wash your hands, and enjoy a glass of wine. Until you work up enough nerve to do it again.

Intimidating Japanese Beetle on a bloom
(Photo Sharon Wolff)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


This article will be updated as our research continues
In order to understand our stance on parody clothing, you first need to understand our stance on counterfeit products. It is illegal to sell new or used counterfeit merchandise. All around the country and world, FBI, Homeland Security, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and local authorities seize illegal counterfeit merchandise at ports of entry, flea markets, wholesalers, websites, independently owned stores, mall kiosks, people's homes, street corners... Hefty fines, lawsuits and prison time ensue.

Counterfeits are strictly prohibited at our market. We are not lawyers or trademark experts, but conduct ongoing research. What may have been acceptable last week, may be banned this week.

While we wish our vendors the best of sales and success, every seller is vulnerable to making a few mistakes when seeking acceptable merchandise to offer at our flea markets. Savvy sellers regularly read our Merchandise Rules to check for updates as our cross-categorical research is ongoing.

When we analyze a product according to our parameters, it usually becomes clear as to if it is authentic or counterfeit. As more popular or sophisticated versions of counterfeit products enter the country we need to keep up with news and busts and continue to compare real and fake items.

Occasionally, we may not know on the spot and will place a product in our Research Zone for further analysis outside of the flea market. Sometimes we will borrow this item for the week and compare it to authentic products online and/or at a retail stores. Savvy vendors appreciate the care we take to assist them in being safe sellers and to keep our market a legitimate venue for good merchandise. We appreciate your cooperation as we home-school ourselves. Additionally, we have several community sources to assist us in this process.

As mentioned, outright counterfeits usually have quantitative, clear-cut qualities that allow us to assess their legitimacy and decide if we will allow them at our markets. However, a few brands are banned.
  1. Coach, Louis Vuitton, Gucci are not allowed because authentication is too complicated. We can usually tell if it is fake, but will not take the responsibility of assessing if it is real. So sorry, your own or grandma's old real purses are not allowed.
  2. Again, why? Flea markets have been sued by Coach and Louis Vuitton for allowing the sales of counterfeit products.
  3. Unrealistic availability: a quantity of authentic versions of certain high-end brands-not gonna happen (Chanel perfume, MAC cosmetics, Otterboxes, Lifeproof Cases, Beats by Dr. Dre...)
  4. Yup, the bad guys ruin it for the good guys. That's how society works.
If you are still reading this article, then you must be wondering about the parody thing we were beginning to talk about?

Parody is simply defined as the use of trademarked/copyrighted material in a humorous, irreverent, spoof, lampoon application. Images of logos and team characters are often altered to varying degrees and additional images or props are included. Parody is considered fair use and the creators of parodied products are often successful with their sales. You may have seen parody and humorous versions of Chicago sports team clothing for sale around stadiums, corner stores and at flea markets (Wolff's included). Unfortunately, unlike counterfeit merchandise parameters, there is not always a clear-cut answer as to where parody ends and trademark infringement begins. A problem occurs when the original licensee calls foul and sues or seizes parody products as counterfeit. The licensee claims that the parody item too closely resembles the real thing and a seller is accused of merely trying to capitalize on the original licensed imagery.

How close is too close? How far is far enough? We continue to research and come to our own decisions. Remember that we are not lawyers. Even if a vendor is allowed to sell certain products at other venues, it does not necessarily mean that we will allow it at our market. And we are so obsessed with figuring this out, that we will change our opinion and ban another parody version in a heartbeat as we gain more information.

A few current parody versions that we do NOT allow:
  • Any item that claims to be a parody, but uses portions of an actual trademarked logo. Examples: Bandana scarf over a team logo, mixed logo design, Chicago Blackhawks tomahawk/C
  • Any items using team or player names
Articles that have helped us figure this stuff out:

  1. "...the Board noted that the defense of fair use of a trademark by parody is weaker when there is potential for confusion as to the source of goods or services with a known mark, especially when used on similar goods or services."
  2. "...a federal court ruled in favor of Chewy Vuiton, whose products are decorated with a pattern reminiscent of the luxury-goods maker’s famed logo. Wrote Judge James Cacheris: The fact that the real Vuitton name, marks and dress are strong and recognizable makes it unlikely that a parody particularly one involving a pet chew toy and bed will be confused with the real product”

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


By Sharon Wolff

Where does the good stuff go when nobody wants it anymore?

For approximately 20 years, I have been searching for the perfect coffee table.

David was a long-time critic of the coffee table concept. But not because he doesn't drink coffee. He felt that a coffee table would infringe upon our activities of daily living. He first tried to appeal to my devotion to our dog, Gracie, who when running around would bump into it. That was pretty lame because everyone knows that dogs and coffee tables have coexisted for decades, if not centuries.

David's real reason for not wanting a coffee table was that it interfered with Jordan's ball playing. You see, a portion of our family room is devoted to The Ball Wall. This ordinary wall has been the recipient of the many, many loud and sudden thuds, bounces, catches, crashes, dashes and dives that led to the refined development of Jordan's "soft hands" for baseball. Remarkably (to my knowledge), only one little stoneware crock became a cracked casualty of said wall.

The ongoing presence of The Ball Wall has remained completely out of my control. Every one of my attempts to hang a nice picture or patch drywall became only a temporary fix in anticipation of entertaining guests. The crashing and dashing resumed and the chips and dents soon reappeared.

For 16 years or so, The Ball Wall flourished. It ultimately became the subject of Jordan's college essay, which got him accepted to the school of his choice. But I digress...

I love my child and my dog and wish them only the best. However, neither of these anti-coffee table deterrents had anything to do with my notion of Home Decor. So, being the lady of the house I eventually won out.

It wasn't easy. There were several attempts on my part to introduce a coffee table to a skeptical family.  I just couldn't find the right one with the right feel. Included were a rickety antique child's desk, a garage sale tiled bench and a round actual coffee table that David disparagingly referred to as "The Disk".

Alas, I finally found the best coffee table ever.
At the flea market.
In one of its former lives it was a big heavy trunk. Perhaps stored in a dusty attic, or filled with a bride-to-be's sentimental notions. This trunk coffee table now accents the family room and its repurposed function is to hold blankets for chilly nights and host mid afternoon snacks (the second purpose is a complete mock-up because we don't do that, but should).

It's done more for us than it knows. Whenever a child was home sick, Kleenex, chicken soup and hot chocolate were close at hand for the resting blanketed child. The soft blankets stored inside kept us cozy as we watched our favorite TV shows together. We played board games on this table. Snacks for Ben's friends were put out on this table. It provided extra seating when Joe's group of 10 high school boys sat around and loudly played a video game. It's a great thing!

Now you know where the good stuff goes when nobody wants it anymore.
It goes to the flea market and waits for a new purpose in a new home.

Although we may have different ideas about the validity of coffee tables, David eventually came around...and can regularly be seen resting his feet and remote on the trunk.

And now, as the last of three boys heads off to college in a few months, The Ball Wall will be silenced. It will definitely be time for David and me to take a mid afternoon coffee break and reminisce about tables and trunks and wonder: Where did all the time go?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Wolff’s Flea Market Cinco De Mayo event!

Wolff’s Flea Market 
Cinco De Mayo event!
Saturday May 3, 2014
1775 N. Rand Rd.
Palatine, IL 60074

PALATINE, IL Join us for a day of family fun and festivities at Wolff’s Flea Market Palatine as we celebrate our first Annual Cinco De Mayo Event!  Raffles, Mariachi, Folkloric dancing, Face Painting, Balloons, Singers, Games, Piñatas, Mexican Food by Original Tacos, plus over 300 individual sellers offering deals on furniture, clothing, home décor, quincanara gowns, baptism and communion supplies, discount merchandise, books, religious items, art, antiques, jewelry and much more. This event is sponsored by Wolff’s Flea Market and planned by the Wolff’s Vendor Council. Prizes donated by Wolff’s owners, vendors and local businesses. Part of the proceeds from the day will be donated to the Palatine Opportunity Center, a volunteer-driven organization that provides resources, programs and services to residents of Palatine. For more information and schedule of events, please visit or call 847-524-9590.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Potential flea market vendors always ask, "What is the best time to arrive at Rosemont to get a 'good' space?"

Well, we are there for you as early as 2am. That's right, the Wolff family and many early shift employees don't sleep much on Saturday nights. And many of our diligent vendors don't sleep either!

While the earliest recorded vendor in line was at 10pm on Saturday night, we stress that this is NOT a requirement, merely a preference based on vendor experience, superstitions, desires and....

Here is the timeline:
2am: Permanent reserved and daily vendors allowed in. Known open spaces on the east side of the market are assigned to daily vendors on a first come-first served basis. Some vendors prefer to wait for a space in the "6:30 line" (more about that below)
4:30ish: Spaces are assigned in the "Double Letter Rows" on the west side on a first come-first served basis
5am: Sharon's recommendation for non reserved vendors to arrive. You will then have time to be assigned your space and set up before 6am
5:30am: David's recommendation for arrival (if you are speedy!)
6am: Market opens for business
6:30am: Reserved "no-show" spaces are assigned to vendors waiting in the 6:30 line (first come-first served) and then to others who arrive.
We continue to assign spaces throughout the morning as vendors arrive. We rarely run out of spaces. Sometimes we run out of table rentals, so if you need a table, arrive on the earlier side.

At the vendor entrance on the west side of the building:
1. Pay your daily fee $40. Receive your permit.
2. If you need to rent a table, do so at this time for $7. You will receive a table ticket and the table will be delivered to your space.
3. A sticky note will be placed on your car, and a staff person will escort you to your space
4. You will be directed to park across the back of your 25'x18' selling space
5. Have a great day!

      For complete schedule, more information and Merchandise rules, Palatine flea market, please go to
As always, please follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter for more flea market joy!
                   SEE YOU AT THE FLEA!