Strolling through Surchi Second-hand Market
Low-income people constitute the majority of customers at Surchi Market
Given the rising prices in Kurdistan, low-income families in Erbil, the Kurdish capital, have turned to the city’s second-hand market stalls, where they can find home furniture and electrical equipment at comparatively affordable rates.
Most of these stalls are in the Surchi Bazaar, which hundreds of customers a day visit in search of cheap household goods. The used items are not always the best quality, but they help low-income families cope with inflation, and especially those who live in rented houses or in villages.
Strolling through the market, one sees used TVs, satellite receivers, water coolers, sofas, computers, carpets, rugs, and a host of other items.
“It is wrong to say everybody can buy new goods in Kurdistan. The region has been recovering for a decade now, but we still receive hundreds of customers every day who could never afford to buy new items from other shops,” said Khalil Abbas, who has been working as a dealer in the Surchi second-hand Market for 15 years.
According to Abbas, wealthy families bring their used equipment and furniture to the market and sell them at a low price. Selling old furniture and other equipment and replacing it new models is definitely the trend among many rich people.
Another source of merchandise are the shops that import outdated items and sell them cheap to the second-hand stalls.
Some of the items in the market are very old, though, and some people might consider them nothing more than rubbish.
Kamal Shina, a man we spoke to as he wandered through the market, said he sympathizes with the people who furnish their homes here. However, he believes they don’t get a good deal, as most of the stuff, though cheap, is useless.
Still, people on a low income depend on Surchi for used items to furnish their homes.
“I earn 600 Iraqi Dinars (IQDs) per month, and it is impossible for me to buy new goods, so I decided to purchase used items here at low rates,” said Azad Muhammad, a visitor to Surchi Market.
Muhammad said he bought a heater last winter for a quarter of what it would have cost him elsewhere. He said there are some good things here at excellent prices, but they are hidden under the piles of junk.
He thinks if someone wants to get married, but has little money, they can fill their home with everything they need for very litte.
Surchi Market was founded over 20 years ago in Erbil, when it was primarily frequented by people from the villages around the city. Some people like visiting the market because it reminds them of the past: some of the items on display are 20-35 years old.
This picture shows a view of Surchi Market in Erbil.