Emily Baxter goes to the Dubai Flea Market to find out whether it really is a source of treasures for the city's thrifty. The Dubai Flea Market is a treasure trove of used trinkets waiting to be explored. And while sifting through a stranger's belongings may not be everyone's idea of a fun Friday morning, 2,500 visitors head to the market every month, signalling that foraging for frugal finds is very much back in fashion.
The flea market started in April last year with just 78 stalls, and has since grown to more than three times that size. During the winter months, it can be found in Al Safa Park before moving indoors to Al Safa Hall from June to September. It usually runs on the first weekend of every month, but more dates have been added (visit www.dubai-fleamarket.com for more information). The Dh3 entry fee means everyone can browse and barter. Melanie Beese, the event organiser, says, "Popularity just keeps on growing. We have Filipinos, Europeans, Emirati visitors? people can't wait to get their hands on a good deal."
But why the sudden increase in favour? "The credit crisis. Now that people are curbing their spending habits, it's become more acceptable to buy used goods." As for exhibitors, the last six months have seen a sharp rise in the number of expats hiring stalls. "I get calls every day from recently made-redundant expats desperate to sell their stuff before returning home," adds Beese. "It used to be general bric-a-brac, but now I see TVs and whole furniture sets on sale."
With new markets opening in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Sharjah in October, this thrifty trend is growing. M visited the flea market last weekend to see what bits of treasure there were to be found.