We continue our 7-part mini-series on selling your stress on flea markets. Today Part 5: True stories. In my previous posts, I wrote about (1) why I wanted to get rid of my stuff (2) how I had accumulated so much of it (3) how we enjoyed our day at the market and (4) some practical tips and tricks
One man’s trash…
What I enjoy most about flea markets is seeing the proverb “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” come to life. No matter how useless something seems to you, there’s always someone looking for exactly that!
Let me share a few true stories of our last trips to the flea market:
- A young couple bought our incomplete set of IKEA plates. They only really needed four plates so 5 euros was a bargain for them.
- There was this older man who was looking for a discman that ran on AA batteries. His previous one broke down and electronic stores didn’t sell those anymore. We happened to have one. He was happy, we were happy. We ran into him one year later, he was still using it.
- An African woman dressed in bright colors couldn’t stop smiling when she noticed we had an old Nokia charger. She reached in her handbag showed me a battered Nokia 3310. “Still better than my husbands smartphone,” she said. “It lasts a week on a full battery!” For only 1 euro she was able to get rid of her current charger, which they had fixed with tape.
- A witchy-looking lady bought our palmreading manual and the wicca book I bought for Sofie during her Buffy the Vampire Slayer phase.
- Two girls of about 12 years old held up my walkman and clearly didn’t know what to make of it. When I told them it was for playing cassette tapes, they still stared at me with blank faces. They shrugged, turned their attention back to their smartphones and they strolled uninterested to the next stand. I felt old again…
- An older couple was delighted with some cartoons on DVD. They said those were ideal for when their grandchildren stayed with them for a sleepover. They had installed one of those old tv/dvd sets in the kids room.
- Cookbooks, traveling books sold well to the most diverse people… it seems everyone likes to eat!
- A woman was smiling broadly when she bought our kitchen timer in the shape of a strawberry for 50 cent. Yes, a plastic kitchen timer made someone’s day! I couldn’t believe it.
- Several women tried the shoes but, like Cinderella’s stepsisters, cursed their big feet… However, when the shoes did fit, they were purchased.
- Backbacks, handbags and electronics are always popular with Moroccan men and prices are fiercely negotiated. But always with a smile. Incredible how they enjoy this kind of bargaining. Hassling over prices seems to be half the fun to them. Honestly, I wouldn’t know why one man wants to buy more than ten backpacks on one day. Perhaps they distribute or sell them again to people close to them. “If you need a backpack, go to person X, if you need a electronic device, go to person Y”. That sort of thing. That’s what I call an efficient community spirit.
As the day went by, we noticed nobody was interested in VHS tapes anymore. So we started giving them away for free. Not long after, a father came along with his wife and kids. He definitely knew his movie classics but clearly didn’t have a lot of money to spend. He asked me three times over if the movies were really for free. Then he became ecstatic and started going through them. He told his kids about all the classics he found in there: Exorcist, Jurassic Park, Cujo, Cape Fear, Shawshank Redemption. The kids got excited too. I can’t imagine they ever saw a movie in high-def and digital surround sound.
I couldn’t help but thinking about my grandparents and all the classic movies they used to rent for me. I’m talking about the late eighties and early nineties. They raised me with practically no money. At the time we lived in a tiny apartment with only one bedroom. The living room of about 12 square meters had a couch that you could turn into a bed. The tiny living room doubled as my grandparents bedroom. It was certainly not ideal for watching television. Only two persons could sit on the couch to see the television altogether and even then we had to move the dinner table out of the way.
Our tv was worthless compared to what we have nowadays: a square 60cm screen, 8 channels, one built-in mono speaker, no remote and a toothpick holding the power button in place. But it didn’t matter, the movies they shared with me transported me through time and space. From ancient Rome to a galaxy far far away. Never underestimate the power of movie magic. Seeing some of these old tapes end up in the hands of a similar family that would enjoy them together couldn’t make me any happier. New family memories would be created.
Who would have thought I would get the most satisfaction from stuff I actually gave away for free? And to think we almost threw them away!
Keep watching our Facebook page for the next chapter in our series: It’s all about community.
What about you? Do you have a lot of stuff just sitting there? Too many DVD’s, books, CD’s or even old toys that just take up living space? Is your wardrobe bursting at the seams and you still don’t find anything to wear? Why not sell some stuff on eBay, Kapaza or Tweedehands? Facebook also has groups where you can post stuff to trade or sell in your neighborhood. Look for groups called “For sale in (your city / village)”. Or if flea markets seem like your thing, take a peek at a local flea market calendar.