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Americans seek flea market deals amid historic inflation

(CHICAGO) — It’s no surprise Americans are feeling the impact of the country’s worst inflation in 40 years. In fact, the Federal Reserve is already considering raising interest rates again, according to Chairman Jerome Powell. They raised rates by a quarter-point just last week.
 
Americans feeling the financial strain are now finding creative ways to save. Enter The Swap-O-Rama in Alsip, Illinois, on the south side of Chicago.
 
The self-declared oldest flea market in Chicago is advertised to be home to hundreds of vendors, selling thousands of different products at affordable prices. 
 
“You get a lot of stuff in bulk and it’s a lot cheaper.”
 
That’s Marquita of Gary, Indiana. She told ABC News’ Perspective podcast that she’s seen her dollar getting stretched further and further as she shops for her family of six.
 
“If I go to the store and I get a meal, I want to say it’s been like $100 for a whole meal. And that’s just like if I get like 10 things […] I try to go to the store, even the cheaper stores, it’s now become $100 for a full meal.”
 
Sherman is a local vendor and sells all the things you’d normally find at CVS or Walgreens, but for a fraction of the price. He understands why people come to the flea market looking to save.
 
“They figure I’m at the flea market, I should be able to get it cheaper than store.”
 
But consumers aren’t the only ones feeling the sting of inflation.
 
Clay is a bracelet vendor at Swap-O-Rama. He says he’s struggling to turn a profit. What cost him $40 in supplies a year-and-a-half-ago is costing him closer to $100 today. Now, he has to charge shoppers more, which some aren’t willing to pay.
 
“The last month, people are actually looking to negotiate more. You know, I guess because they’re paying more for everything else. So everyone’s pretty much looking for more of a deal now.”

Listen to the rest of this past week’s highlights in the Perspective podcast.

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