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Hard time is boom time for thrift shops

15 Mar 2020

For sellers of old furniture and electronics goods in Muttrah, it’s boom time. As expats come and go during these times, thrift shops are making hay while the sun shines. After pre-owned cars, used furniture and electronic items are most sought-after items in Oman. 

P Kumar, a seller at used furniture market on Muttrah road, said, “Business has been good for the last few years. Many people have left and many have come. And, many are coming. Those who are leaving sell their goods in bulk or as a single item like a dining table set or an air-conditioner or a refrigerator. Buyers too look for many items at one go or sometimes a solo item. They look for good bargains too.” 

Kumar said they usually visit a house if they are buying in bulk, which usually comprise sofa set, bed, dining table, one or two air conditioners, washing machine, TV, oven and many other items.  

“Depending upon the quality of items, we pay them between RO100 and RO400.” He said that depending upon the condition, many furniture items have to be repaired, polished and painted before they are sold. “Sometimes we buy a dining set now and it gets sold only after few months. So, the items have to be kept in good condition to attract customers.” 

Shops on this road have several options. Another seller Ganesh K said, “This window air conditioner will cost RO40 as it’s in excellent condition. It can be carried in a sedan car or can be delivered home for an additional RO5. If a buyer is interested in buying two, I can even give for RO70. A 300lt fridge will cost RO50.” 

Ganesh said that fridge, washing machines and air conditioners are the most sought-after items. “When a person visits our outlet to sell the first question we ask is, ‘How old is the fridge, washing machine or the air conditioner?’ Then we visit the house to check the condition of each item before sealing the deal.” 

Nikita Agrawal, a homemaker who left Oman last week, said, “We came to Oman less than two years ago. All the household items were in good condition. I sold the items individually. Some stuff I sold online and others were bought over by used furniture sellers in Muttrah.” Renny K, a seller, said that in these troubled economic times many new expat families or even bachelors prefer old stuff. “Many have a limited budget. They can’t spend too much on new items. They don’t even know how long they will live here. Many expats sold almost new items at throwaway prices before leaving the country. So, it’s a win-win situation for all of us. In summers, most of the buyers look for good deals on refrigerators and air-conditioners.” 

Moulika Patel, a resident of CBD, said, “We have a mix of new and old items. I bought a huge TV cabinet from one of these shops. It’s in good condition. It cost me just RO30. I had enquired about the new ones and most of them cost a lot. If you can find such stuff in good condition, why go for a new one then?”  
 

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