Csíkszereda Musings

My life in and around Csíkszereda, also known as Miercurea Ciuc.


Posted by Andy Hockley on 9 October, 2007

I have been busy which is the reason why this blog has seen nothing but lots of tumbleweed spinning across it for an extended period. Since I’m freelance, this is a good thing, but I do miss the actual writing every now and then (I still compose blog posts in my head while I do other things, but they’re now all stacked up and mixed together).

However, I do have the time to mention this shop which has opened up round the back of our flat. It advertises “English clothes” with the names of various English clothes shops on the outside (Next, Marks and Spencers, etc etc), and the note “second hand clothes from England”. What’s particularly interesting about this shop (since nothing I’ve told you so far is), is the business model it uses. You see they get a load of these second hand clothes in over the weekend, stick them all in bins all round the shop and then sell them for 11Lei per kilo. On Monday. Then on Tuesday the price drops to 9 Lei/kg. On Wednesday it’s 7, Thursday is 5 and Friday it’s 3. So if you want the pick of the stuff you have to go on Monday and pay more, and if you just don’t care you can pay next to nothing on a Friday. No idea what happens on Saturday when the shop is closed. I hope they give what’s left to charity, but I fear that they just send it on to another shop somewhere else in Romania to go through the system again (I’m fairly sure that this shop is not unique to Csikszereda).

We went in once (on a Monday), just to have a look, and it was mayhem, but the clothes were pretty pants. And I don’t mean that literally. They also hadn’t seemingly been washed at all, which meant rooting through the bins was even less appealing than it might normally have been. What really intrigues me is where they get the clothes from in the UK. Are they just stuff that has been left over after jumble sales, or stuff that has been given to charity, or do Oxfam shops clear out their shelves after a while and sell truckloads of clothes to this company for them to drive across Europe and flog to the Romanian public? I’d love to know. I really hope that there isn’t someone making a tidy profit on what people have given away for charity, but some part of me fears this is the case.

4 Responses to “Sorry”

  1. Catherine said

    I’m afraid there were reports a while back that certain charity shops / charity collectors / clothes recyclers were sending clothes to Africa for second hand sales rather than giving them away – can’t remember which ‘charity’ they were referring to, though… but unfortunately I wouldn’t be too surprised either if that’s what was going on.

  2. Emily said

    We have several ‘angol bolt’s in Szolnok (Hungary), and they range in quality. The lowest sounds like what you’re describing, bins of cast-off clothes whose price reduces during the week. On the other hand, in the nicer shops, the clothes are arranged on hangers, clean, and in good condition – some brand new. At the shop near me, I regularly get new-looking pants and skirts for 500 forint ($2-3) or less.

  3. La ben parlada said

    Now Im feeling bad ’cause I bought a lot of things in one of the second hand shops of Csíkszereda.
    I was so happy ’cause I’m from Barcelona and I couldnt understand how there was a lot of clothes from Spanish brands too. I’m a journalist could we do an investigation of this?
    my blog is http://www.csikszereda.blogspot.com
    and I think u’ll be my English teacher until december.

  4. dumneazu said

    While my band was touring in the Netherlands a few years agho, we were asked to play a small charity gig for a local church organization that sends aid to Romania. While the elderly folks happily packed the boxes of collected clothes to send “to orphans” our host told us “You’ll see this stuff next week in the ‘kilos bolt'”

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