[0:09] It's been more than three years since I moved into my current apartment, and I noticed that it used to be very minimalistic and there didn't used to be a lot of stuff in my apartment. And somehow, the way life goes, there's a lot of crap in my apartment now. I mean, I would say compared to many other people, it's still very much under control, I don't have that much stuff, but I'm thinking I should sell some stuff.
[0:41] And so I thought for today's mini episode, I would talk about selling used stuff, and also maybe just as important or more importantly, buying used stuff. There is a lively scene, I would say, in Berlin of kind of buying and selling used stuff, and if you're new here, maybe you're wondering how and where to do it.
Kleinanzeigen (but not "eBay" anymore)
[1:08] The most important or the most famous way to do it is Kleinanzeigen, formerly eBay Kleinanzeigen. Kleinanzeigen means classifieds, and eBay Kleinanzeigen used to be kind of like a side project, I guess. I think eBay got a little bit scared. This is ... I'm not 100% sure if this is actually true, but I think eBay was scared of Craigslist gaining a foothold in Germany or Europe, and so they founded eBay Kleinanzeigen, which was essentially a separate side where you could offer or post classifieds for free, and sell stuff that way without the whole bidding system that eBay is known for.
[1:57] And then they got rid of that business. I knew that it was like a different company running eBay Kleinanzeigen for a long time already, and now they completely rebranded and it's not even called eBay Kleinanzeigen anymore, it's just Kleinanzeigen. Be that as it may, it's been unchanged, more or less for years. And you can post things for free. You can pay for like, you know, I don't know, highlights and stuff like that. And if you're a commercial, seller, I think you have to pay. But it is kind of the default platform for buying and selling used stuff, I think, in all of Germany basically.
[2:40] And if you live in Berlin, I would say it's quite easy to get rid of stuff, I mean, depending on what you're selling, but especially if you're giving anything away. I've given away, I don't know, old furniture and stuff a few times, and someone will come and pick it up in no time if it's free. It's really kind of astonishing to me, somehow, how fast things will go if they're free. If they cost money, maybe not as fast, but yeah, usually it's easy to sell stuff and buy stuff, although you do have to ...
[3:18] Like Kleinanzeigen is kind of infamous for these message threats that are sometimes quite comedic. There's even a "Best of Kleinanzeigen" account on like Instagram, Twitter, and there's just kind of hilarious conversations that sometimes ensue. And you have to be ... Besides those kind of funny things where people try to haggle and kind of try to argue why you should give them a better price and stuff like that, there's a lot of scams going on.
[3:49] I think Kleinanzeigen is doing a pretty good job of fighting the scammers. Often, I get like a scammy message and I ignore it, and then an hour later or so, I get a push notification saying: Hey, this person who contacted you, we banned them because they were a spammer or scammer. But essentially, especially if you're new to this and you don't really know how things work, you should basically insist on messaging people people through the platform and not kind of give them your phone number or if someone like reaches out to you over WhatsApp, that's a huge red flag already.
[4:31] Like basically do the communication on the platform. You don't have to do the payment through the platform because that's actually quite pricey. You can ... like the best thing to do is obviously just pay cash and pick it up in person. But if you're buying something there and they're shipping it to you, you can use PayPal. I guess like the main thing people do is use PayPal and then use the Sending Money to Friends feature where it's free, you don't have to pay a fee, and if you trust the person, then that's fine. But if you're not a hundred percent sure, maybe use the merchant, the paid feature on PayPal where you have the buyer's protection, or use the Kleinanzeigen feature.
[5:13] The main way to spot scammers is to look at the date when they signed up, because most scammers don't survive very long on the platform, so their accounts will be a day old, or two days old. And those, if I get a request, even if it looks somewhat legitimate, I always check how long the account has existed, and if it's existed for less than a week, I'll just ignore it because the chance that it's a scammer is really, really, really high. If the account is like a year old, or in my case, I think my account is probably like 10 years old or something, you can be pretty sure that the person is not a scammer because they wouldn't have lasted on the platform this long. Those are my tips for Kleinanzeigen.
[6:02] Another platform, another app on the internet is Vinted. It focuses specifically on clothes, secondhand clothes. I think you can sell anything there, but they really kind of made a niche for themselves for like used clothes. And I'm not super active there but I know some people are, and I think it's a really good way to find secondhand whatever ... jeans, sweaters, shoes, bags, whatever you need, if you don't have a good second hand store, nearby: Vinted.
[6:47] And then, in terms of buying stuff used or selling stuff in person, there's quite a few flea markets, very active flea markets ,in Berlin. Maybe the most famous one and maybe the biggest is the flea market Flohmarkt in Mauerpark, which is in Prenzlauer Berg. It's super famous, you kind of have to go when you live in Berlin at least once, you'll probably be there quite a few times. It's super popular to go on Sunday, it's packed when you go there on Sunday. If the weather is good, it's crazy packed.
[7:27] I would recommend, actually, if you're looking for used stuff, then try to go early-ish. I think it officially opens at like 9.00 or something, 9.00 or 10.00 ... 9.00? Okay, it's officially it starts at 10.00. But people will start like setting up their booths at like 8.30, 9.00 probably. So the real kind of ... the people who really try to get good deals, they will be there at like 8.00 or 9.00, and while people are are still unpacking, like spot the good stuff and ask them how much they're willing to sell it for.
[8:10] I sold my stuff there twice before, and I remember these people who arrived really early and got the good stuff and got really good prices cause they were good at haggling. And then I remember I sold like a tripod that was actually kind of in good condition still, for like €5 or something, just because someone was borderline aggressive and really good at haggling and I was still kind of unpacking my boxes. And then later in the afternoon, at like 3.00 in the afternoon, some tourist came and found something like an old bow tie that someone had given me. I don't even know why I had this bow tie, and it was worth nothing. And they asked how much for the bow tie. And I said, "How much are you willing to pay?" and they said like €20 or something. So that's kind of how that goes, that's how the dynamic goes at Mauerpark Flohmarkt.
[9:06] So if you're going to buy stuff, try to go early, avoid the crowds. If you're just going to hang out and see it and, I don't know, have an overpriced pancake there, then you can go anytime during the day. And if you go as a seller, then the way it works is ... I'll link the website in the in the show notes and there's all the information there. But basically you have to go there in person and then go to the info desk. So it's always every Sunday, it happens every Sunday, and so you have to go there on a Sunday in person and then between 10am and 2pm you can reserve a a spot for one of the next four Sundays. So you can't do it over the internet, you have to go and then reserve your spot in person, and it will cost you, if I'm understanding this correctly, if you're a private seller, it'll cost you €50 for a three-meter kind of desk or table with a little roof, like they're all kind of little tents. So it's €35 for the rent and €15 to use the table, so it's €50, and this is if you do it in advance.
[10:39] And then if you arrive the day of - this is something else you can do and that I have done in the past - so you can get there kind of early, get there at 7.00 or 8.00 and see if any spots are still open, maybe someone reserved and didn't show up. You can also do that and it'll be €63 for the day, but obviously there's no guarantee that you'll get a spot. You can try it, but then I would really show up early. But obviously it's better to reserve in advance. And €50 is a lot of money, so if you only have a few T-shirts to sell, It's probably not worth it, but if you have a lot of stuff, I mean, this is really one of the most popular flea markets in all of Berlin, there's a lot of people passing through that whole day, so you'll hopefully make that money back in no time.