Tuesday, 17 March 2015

MyMischMasch Second Hand Market Review 2014-15 / MyMischMasch Flohmarkt Revue 2014-15

Having collected some experience over the last couple of years, here is here is my personal review for all of you fellow fans of second hand markets for childrens' items: 

  • Our most important finding from the last 12 months: avoid the huge markets, in particular the ones who make you pay to get in or do not enable you to go with your family, and stay local! We have made the best finds at our local little neighbourhood markets, most of which are within easy walking or public transport distance, usually take place in the warmer seasons and therefore, unless it is pouring, also provide a nice little outing. 
    • Another advantage of local markets taking place outside: there are no 'guard dogs' at the entry way - usually in the way of elderly ladies - demanding you do not enter with a buggy, even if your child cannot walk yet and you are obviously not in a condition to walk anymore. 
  • Which leads me nicely to the second aspect of that recommendation: avoid the big markets! They usually have to rent a big space and therefore demand entry fees from visitors, high fees from stall owners, are too crowded, and in our experience not very well organised or family friendly. I have written about our personal experience with one of these markets, and we recently decided not to go to one particularly big market called Second Hits for Kids (I know, talk about Denglish...), touted on other sites as the best market in Hamburg, for the following reasons: 
    • as a customer you are not allowed to take in either a buggy, a pram or a baby carrier (!) of your own, so basically it is a one-parent event. Not my idea of fun, but apparently some people go to these things with a more chore-minded 'must get things done' view than I, or my little family do. G-d forbid you might want to have fun or have your loved ones around you.                                    
    • there is no early entry sfor pregnant women, in order to enable them 30 minutes of looking around without the crowds. This is standard at most other markets and makes a lot of sense once you are either at the stage of suffering from nausea or are sporting a considerable belly. Unless you are at the latter stage you always have to show proof of your condition, so it's not like anyone can 'sneak in'. 
    • there is, however, early entry for one hour (!) allowed for 'volunteers' who not only get 60 minutes to raid the market but also get a 20% discount. Very counter-intuitive in my mind for a market aimed at making money for the organising charity, as well as a way too big pay-off for helping hands. In Austria we would say there is a whiff of 'Freunderlwirtschaft', which translates to too much buddy backscratching, not something we want to support.
    • the website gives very little information on the market itself, refers to a new website in writing which is not linked anywhere, and, as well as everything else, enquiries are not responded too. All in all, signs of something having grown disproportionately to the organising power behind.
  • We still swear by our favourite market in Othmarschen, organised by Kids Hamburg e.V., a charity supporting children with Down Syndrome, which takes place at times where even in Hamburg it is mostly sunny, people are friendly and the selection is great! 
  • Also very recommendable, markets in the general area of Ottensen, Bahrenfeld, and Pinneberg (we drive to these). 
    • A particularly nice market in Pinneberg not only let us in early, but also let you jump the cash register queue, in order to avoid having to stand for too long. The market was mostly managed by lovely ladies in their fifties and sixties who were super friendly and accommodating. It might have helped that Baby was busy flirting with them most of our time there. :)
  • Unexpectedly we found that there was little difference - when going to good markets - between those organised with separate stalls for each family, or those organised 'centrally'. For the uninitiated: at these markets a central body - usually a kindergarten or a charity organisation - collects all the items provided by families, tags them, sorts them by item and size and you pay at a central cash register. 
    • this has the advantage that you have all items in one type or size in one area, making it easier to have an overview, rather than going from stall to stall and 'missing a good deal' (a great fear of some people, even if we are hardly likely to be all looking for the same item and size). 
    • it also means there is no haggling. At good markets, this does not matter. At not-so-recommendable ones it means there will be a higher percentage of over-priced items on offer.
  • One such experience I made recently was at the Melanchthron Kirche (church) market
    • The organising body wanted 12 Euros for a well-used pair of overalls, just because it was made by a US brand. That is 50% more than you pay for the same item new in the US! 
    • Upon entering we were informed no buggies were not allowed inside and I was soon to find out why. 
    • They 'forgot' to mention in the online ad that I had read that pregnant women and people carrying infants could access the market early, which might have lead to a more successful visit on my part. 
    • In the short time I was there I asked one lady if I could get one particular t-shirt in the general area of the table she was busy at, and she looked at me like I was about to kidnap her child, cosily sleeping in a baby carrier attached to her chest. A t-shirt, by G-d! How terrible that I attempt to intrude on 'her area'! 
    • I have never been surrounded by so many rude people at a market. The church was blatantly too small for what they were organising - despite 11 years experience - and even when faced with an 8-month-pregnant-woman, most customers could not be bothered to pull their elbows in. I am not sure if this area of town doesn't have many markets like this or if the people visiting this market are a particularly rude breed of Hamburgers, but we will not be going there again. 
  • Most of these markets will take place one to two times a year, in spring and/or autumn. For more regular occurrences, there is the market in the FABRIK in Ottensen, which is very popular. Very popular means very full, at times, and no early access either. I have found this one to vary greatly when visited more often. There are times when I find super deals and others when it is too full and people are asking too much money for items that would go for less at a less central or frequently operating market. 
  • Also a very good option are markets at your local kindergartens and schools, depending on what size items you are looking for. We have found that most of the kindergartens of a certain size (80 children and upwards) in our area have at least one market a year. This is not only a great opportunity to sell some of your own items, and catch up with your child's playmates and parents, but also fun to look around. 
  • If you are looking to plan your market outings kidsgo has suffered a bit this year and does not seem to have as good an overview as it used to. However, I have found kinderbasar-online to have improved and be very good. 
So, there we go, some of our adventures of the last 24 months of going to these markets, at your disposal. Enjoy! 

PS: Jetzt wo wir doch etwas Erfahrung gesammelt haben, habe ich meine persönlichen High- und low lights von 2014-15 für alle Kinderflohmarkt Fans zusammengefaßt.

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