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A Foreigner Goes to the Second Hand Taiwanese Market

My LET Sonia told me about a second hand market right near Dong Guang that I could sell my things before leaving Taiwan. I bought a brand new dehumidifier this year along with a lot of plastic tupperware bins and kitchen supplies that I wanted to get some money back from, so this sounded perfect! I invited Lakyn since she has all her stuff from the year too. Sonia told me she could take Lakyn and my stuff to the market, and we could bike over. I spent hours packing and cleaning and emptying all my bins for selling. At 830 Sunday morning, Lakyn and I had our piles of stuff outside our apartment ready for market. In true Taiwanese fashion, we were waiting until about 8:45…then Sonia drives up…with a full car. She has all her stuff, along with 4 kids, only one of whom is hers. I told her exactly what I bringing multiple times and not a thing could fit in the car. So, Lakyn and I had to call a cab. It was not a good start because we had to pay $130 to get to the market and we didn’t expect to get much back.

The cab driver helps us unload our stuff and we start to drag it over the market. We just got our stuff down and we were setting up, when we got swarmed. We had just commented as we brought our stuff in that no one seemed to be buying…just selling…that is, until we got there. Everyone needed something from the foreign people. I couldn’t even set up my stuff before people were taking it. They were asking me in Chinese how much it was, and I had no idea what to say! I didnt know I had to pre-price things. I thought it would be a casual/slow day of bartering. Nope! I had five different people demanding a price for all different things and then arguing with whatever I said. And we thought Sonia would help us, but no. She did not. We were on our own! We found out, one guy was buying our stuff and re-selling it at the table right behind us for more money, because we were selling it so cheap. But, we didnt know what to say when they argued with our pricing! We didnt know what we were doing and we had no one there to help. On top of that guy, we had a woman who asked to buy all our tupperware. We told her $100 a tupperware bin. She promptly ignore us, takes all my tupperware and fills it up with a bunch of my stuff, and hands me $200. It’s like the bin at Staples…you buy the little container and you can fill it up with as many paper clips and pins as you can fit…except it was a huge tupperware with everything I own in it. Lakyn argues with her, so she hands me another $100. Ugh.

Other than that, people were nice and wanted to be fair with our stuff. Either way, I didn’t really mind, because 1. I didn’t expect to sell anything and 2. I just wanted to get rid of the stuff so I didn’t have to deal with recycling it and/or throwing it away on the correct day for the trash truck. All in all, I got about $50 USD for my stuff….I paid probably about $150-200 for everything originally but totally better than throwing it away! And now it’s done and all I really have left to do is finish packing!! And I have two weeks left to do it…crazy!!! It was an experience to say the least! I felt very local though!

On another cultural note, I bought pineapple from the back of a truck today. There’s this man that sometimes has his truck nearby my apartment building just filled with pineapples in the back. They always smell so good, but I have never stopped. But, today I did. I saw him on my way home from school, put away my bike and walked over. He was so smiley and nice, I was so glad I stopped. And I could smell the pineapple from feet away. It sounds so small and insignificant, but it was a weirdly happy moment for me. The weather was perfect, the sun was setting and everything just looked so beautiful. It was one of those: Woah, I’m halfway around the world in an island paradise, buying pineapple off the back of a truck from a really kind man, moment. It kind of hit me that this experience is almost over…and I’m really excited to go home, but I’m also getting really sad to leave. I’m glad I’m still having new cultural experiences right up until the end though!

See you soon America!!!!

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