Ok, you may ask, have they lost it now? Has the heat simply gone to their heads? Why would Wolff's Flea Market post an article with this title? Read on!
For 14 years, my youngest child has dealt with food allergies to peanuts, nuts, soy, sesame, peas and garbanzo beans. Our family motto is "read every food label, every time". Just because an item is acceptable one time, doesn't mean that the manufacturer won't change the ingredients the next time, or that all of the identical food packages on the shelves will bear the same ingredients. Case in point. I bought 10 bags of chocolate chips because I needed to bake a large quantity of cookies. I was ahead of the game; baking, wrapping and freezing the batches. Not even snacking on the cookies when they came out of the oven (well, just a little). While preparing for another round of baking, I glanced at the ingredients on the chocolate chip cookie bag, and horror! A new warning said "Contains Peanuts". How had this happened? When did it happen? I looked in my cupboard at the remaining bags and they were a mixture of two lots-with and without the peanut warning. Thank god, my son hadn't eaten any of the cookies, because there was no way to tell which ones were which. So, we decided to be good friends and neighbors and gave them all away. The teachers at the grade school were very happy! Just because the ingredients are acceptable in one package in one instance, it doesn't mean that it will be ok the next time, since manufactureres update and change their practices and ingredients.
This lesson taught me to read the ingredients of every single package every time.
For the last 4 summers I have been battling the destructiveness of Japanese Beetles on my namesake Rose of Sharon bushes. We have paid a lawn service for grub control, sprinkled milky spore around the garden, but the disgusting pretty bugs return year after year, day after day to eat the blooms right when they are at their peak of beauty. So for the better part of June, July & August I can be seen beating around the bushes with my stick and a large cup of soapy water. To those who don't know me-I am freakishly afraid of bugs, but my 2 foot stick affords just the right distance to abate the fear. I have honed this method and can sneak up on an unsuspecting pair of beetles and flick them straight into the soapy water-to die within seconds. Occasionally a passerby might hear a scream or two, as I miss my mark and the alarmed buggers ping into me. I keep at it until the psychosomatic itchies overwelm me and I need to take a break. By my 5th trip out, they seem to be gone, only to appear the next day.
To save these beautiful flowers, every day, every bush, every bloom needs to be targeted.
So on to the flea market and our counterfeit patrol. For those of you who have been subject to our booth by booth inspection, realize that my skills in capturing and destroying Japanese Beetles and in diligently reading ingredients for food allergens have prepared me to do the job of inspecting certain categories and types of merchandise every week, every time you sell. See, the sad thing is that unsuspecting vendors can unfortunately acquire counterfeit items from salvage auctions, garage sales, resale shops, storage sheds, online wholesalers, guys they know, even brick and mortar wholesale stores. Since sellers encounter many different types of bulk purchasing opportunities over a period of time, their merchandise varies, and unfortunately it is not all appropriate for sale at our market. That is why we need to inspect merchandise, educate vendors in order to eradicate counterfeit merchandise.
It happens and we need to find this and educate you so that it is removed and never sold at our market. Remember, deals that are too good to be true are just that. One time, a vendor brought receipts for an item he believed to be legitimate. One look at the vague receipts given to him by his wholesaler showed that what he bought was not real. Luckily, he was able to return everything after I explained to him why the items were not acceptable. Not everyone is so lucky. Vendors are arrested at markets across the US and flea market held liable for the sale of counterfeit goods.
That is why we need to inspect merchandise, educate vendors in order to eradicate counterfeit merchandise.
That is why we need to inspect Rose of Sharon bushes, carry a long stick and soapy water in order to eradicate Japanese Beetles
That is why we need to read all food labels, every single time in order to eliminate the risk of food allergies.