Actually, its rather the lack of flea Markets in Dubai !!
I know, some of you may have totally different opinions about friends and making “real” friends in the blogosphere, but I have been fortunate enough to have bumped into some very thoughtful and creative friends thru the blog world. Its always a joy when you “meet” someone who is practical, creative, has the same hobby as yourself, and is a mom ! One such friend and I, have been enjoying exchanging a bunch of links. What links ? you ask ?
Well, one of the most fullfilling feeling I get, is when I see an old piece of furniture get a new lease of life with a fresh coat of paint or a new fabric to cover up old spoils. Things like how you can reuse, recycle or refurbish a room are abosolute joys to me. I used to virtually spend hours dug in, links into links into links ~ lost in a beautiful world where common people like myself are making a difference, one object at a time. One such fantastic site is :http://betterafter.blogspot.com/ Amazing transformations here.
(This transformation is an absolute joy from “three boys“. Kindly follow the link to view the other amazing projects too. )
And another one of those “viewing” passions, is the Flea Markets in America. Its amazing to visit just a few of them on the web and feel so enchanted by the vast variety of different period furniture, clothes, suitcases, antiques and what not. It is a such an eye candy just visiting those booths with a cocktail of items from jewellry to boots to a swing !
In Dubai however, things are different. Being a melting pot of cultures, nationalities, languages and traditions, people of different mentalities feel certain inhibitions towards using second hand stuff. There is a large population of labourers and maids from India, Pakistan, Srilanka, Bangladesh, Philipines, indonesia, Ethopia and a few other countries too. Then there are the clerical workers, mostly Asians again but not very handsomely paid for their 6 days a week, 10 hour a day job ! If anything, such sales would benefit them the most.
One of the most generous groups of people in Dubai are the super affluent locals (Emarati’s), who would generally handover their clothes and accessories to their drivers and maids, while the furniture is traditionally changed every year and the old ones are simply “dumped”. Thats right, you read it right, dumped by the dumpster ! They would generally consider it below their dignity to sell it in the second hand market.
There is a large second hand market in Dubai which caters to mainly furniture goods. Some of the shops in Karama are the favorite haunts for new lower income asians to pick their furniture from. One of the things I love about Dubai ~ theres a place for everyone to find what they’re looking for, be it food, accomodation, grocery or clothes.
Ofcourse the advent of “Foreigners” ~ aka Americans, Europeans, Australians, and New Zealanders did bring about the concept of garage sale or yard sales in Dubai. What with ads for garage sales in the Jumeirah and Mirdiff areas in the 1990s and ofcourse with the boom of the property era, areas like the Greens, Marina, Lakes, Arabian Ranches, falcon city ~ have all followed the traditional annual spring cleaning followed by garage sales. These sales are generally community based run by word of mouth or a flyer on the community market notice board or an advert in the local classified section of Gulf News. They are so popular especially coz nearly everyone is benefiting from them.
Our Arabian Ranches Market Day is a huge hit, and you’d find everyone selling and buying toys, clothes, shoes, stuff, that kids have outgrown, or lost interest in, grown up, and sometimes, even unwanted “gifts” !! People from all walks of life, are seen buzily buying and enjoying the family time together becoz the management sets the school ground as a family day park for the residents, putting up food stalls and bouncing castles for the children.
For a long period of time, The Feline Friends garage sale was hugely popular. You had people lining up from early hours of a friday morning in the sultry heat, hours before the gates opened at the factory outlet in Al Quoz where they would temporarily pile up heaps and heaps of clothes, toys, shoes, furniture, house decor and so much much more into a dozens of mini mountains. Word spread amongst the labour community and these became very popular. With designer trousers going for dhs 1 !!!!! why wouldnt it !
Now these sales are a rare event in some villa courtyard in Al Barsha, maybe once every couple of months but definetly nowhere close to the amount of stuff and crowd as it used to attract before.
I have been an ardent visitor to the FF Garage sales. It gives me tremendous satisfaction knowing that I have not blown away 3 workers salary on a single branded handbag or an entire years salary of one labour on a pair of branded sandals !! Its truly a joy, knowing your putting in your bit by trying to recylcle and reuse. For whatever reason, those sales are not held anymore, unfortunetly.
Generally folks living in villa’s, leaving the country for good, would initially give away most of the things to their maids and helpers and sometimes put up a “Leaving Country” sale. If your lucky, you could hit jackpot. Years back, I remember, I heard of one such sale from a friend of a friend of one Mary who was then running the scrapbookers network in Dubai and when she was leaving her house she put up a sale, although I was late in attending it, I remember, feeling like I was in a crafters paradise !!!!
For someone who was looking for clothes, purses and cooking utensils, her crafters scrapbooks or rubberstamps would’ve meant zilch, but to someone who saves for every copic marker, it was BIG !!
You’d be amazed at what is seen lying in the bylanes of Umm Sequeim or Jumeirah or Nad Al Sheeba !! To the westerner who cannot even come close to imagining, to what extent the Rich are Rich here, a close up of their garbage bins, is a good place to begin from 🙂
I remember, in the 2008 economic melt down, we remember, seeing a group of maids rumaging thru a heap of garbage bags in one of the communities of Ranches. On a closer look, I saw one of the maids toss a handbag behind which I recognized was a PRADA. No not the fake ones. Having been gifted the original thing, I knew how to differentiate them. There were 11 such designer bags in that garbage bag !!!!!!!! There were several such garbage bags scattered everywhere… Naturally, they belonged to some filthy rich but unfortunate lady, who had to leave the country in haste lest she get stuck in the jail for defaulting on her bank loan payments, decided Prada was not worth her freedom !
I was super happy some time back, when they started a flea market, in Safa Park, jumeirah. In the summers, they kept it in the adjacent school auditorium and it was attracting a crowd and people were leaving happy with their shoppings and vendors were not too unhappy too with their sales. It is a good platform. Unfortunetly, I feel they have not really marketted themselves well and I feel, alot of vendors are now bringing stuff from India etc trying to sell it there. Not alot of people are aware of them in the different areas of Dubai. Look them up here at : Dubai Flea Market.
I know, there is one store in a small mall in Satwa, where ladies (the super rich class ) who if they wish to give away their “Original & Only Designer ” handbags, scarves, accessories etc can put them up there and they sell them for a relatively good price instead of dumping them in the bin. Imagine a Versace or a Channel, visiting something close to the dump !! Criminal, isnt it ????
In my experience, I have found, one good option in selling and buying second hand goods in Dubai is Dubizzle. Thats an online market, where, you just register without having to pay any fees. I have sold my ikea egg chair and a fax machine thru dubizzle and was amazed by the spontaneous response, I got. I never thought it was so popular but I suppose, online shopping has finally caught up in Dubai.
Ofcourse for those of you, who are interested in a good reading, dont forget to join the second hand books fair, that feline friends hold with the Arte Market at Times Square. Imagine a good book, and the proceeds goes in the upkeep and the feline neutering programe.
I still feel, there is a huge market here for selling used goods, not necessarily for workers but there are so many many, low income families who would benefit too. Having a proper flea market could and would answer alot of problems. Its a way, in which your trash is going to benefit someone. A hole in a sweater may mean a good bye from you, but for someone who decides that a 20 dhs sweater may be too steep a price, would be overjoyed to have yours for free or even if it is for dhs 1 or 2 !! Please remember, what you give, (eventually after completing the whole circle) , returns to you.
If you have enjoyed this article or benefitted from it, kindly leave a comment. I would appreciate it alot.
Photograpsh: courtesy Google Images.