Shopping: No rain cheque necessary--vide grenier (open air jumble) reigned in sales despite the weather.
Photo: LaLa La Photo
Could you call it beginner’s luck, when it was pouring down rain the first time she took part in a “vide grenier” sale? You can, when this first-timer at the city’s monthly “clear your attic” sale ended up clearing most of hers and having a good time in the process!
“We sold so many things, even from 7.30am, when it wasn’t even officially open,” said Caroline. “I can’t understand why so many people came out in the rain.”
A passerby supplied the answer: “We’re used to doing it!”
A rainy Sunday in Luxembourg may not be unusual, but it wasn’t that long ago that a busy Sunday was. Allowing stores to open on the first Sunday of the month and the vide grenier sale to be held the same day has brought life into town, even --rather surprisingly--on Easter Sunday, when instead of heading to church in Easter fineries, many people were ruffling through used DVDs on the Kneudler.
Last Sunday’s sale took place along the avenue de la Gare, blocked to traffic for the event, because the usual spot at the Place Guillaume II was taken by the Octave market. The tent-lined temporary pedestrian zone in the Gare district was dotted with umbrella-toting shoppers, including people who stumbled upon the market by chance, like Sarah Rosenstein and Rudi Van der Lugt.
“We’ve gone to the sale before but we weren’t expecting it today,” said Sarah. “It’s fun to look around,” she added. And to find as well as to look--Rudi was carrying a bag with a newfound treasure.
Brigitte and Jeannot Huppert from Bettembourg also used to regard fleamarkets as a spectator sport, but have started to participate and even organise one--the “Brocante à Petange” to be held on 6 and 7 June. “It’s fun to meet new people. It would be boring to just stay home,” said Brigitte.
The couple has a big farmhouse with ample space, but they realise that many people don’t have that luxury. “People get things from their relatives; they have to clear out their parents homes…. Some people have too much stuff and other people don’t have much money and are happy to find things priced so cheap.”
Others were using the sale not only to make space and make cash, but to raise funds for charity. Gyorgy Foldes and his wife Katalin Halasz stood in the drizzle and damp for hours to raise money for a worthy cause, prompting Gyorgy to go hunt for hot tea and coffee, but they also enjoy hunting bargains. “We’re still using the Villeroy and Boch cups we got at the British Ladies’ Club car boot sale 20 years ago,” she said. (The next one takes place 6 June on the Glacis).
Also making sales to support a charity was Vivianne Vermeer-Soanni of the Wonschstaer foundation, which helps make dreams come true for Luxembourg residents of any age who are faced with a difficulty caused by an accident, illness or other life event. “I could hardly get things unpacked before people were buying them this morning,” she said.
Which is a good thing, considering that on the organisation’s current wish list is a computerised, specially equipped car for a man in a wheelchair, with a price tag of €70,000. The local charity takes part in various fleamarkets and bazaars, and holds fundraisers too, including a 20 team football event on 20 June.
Christmas in May?
Others weren’t supporting a charity but showed it. As the rain started pelting down, Patrick Bonnot began packing up just as a man showed interest in a blazer he was selling. “Take it,” Bonnot said. The man looked surprised. “Take it,” Patrick repeated. “It’s Christmas”.
Maybe it was--after all, Jesus appeared, or at least a man who claimed to be the Son of God who was preaching among the stands. You just never know what you’ll find at a secondhand sale.
Although that preacher--and some great saxophone players--stole some attention, police were on duty to make sure nothing else was nicked. Not so much from off the tables, but from out of the back pockets and purses of the shoppers.
Still, that sort of thing isn’t all that common. Not as common as the rain anyway and not enough to steal the thunder from a great initiative like the vide grenier sale.