|They sit on the floor, play guitars, sing songs together, and listen to each others’ love story
But rather than tossing them in the garbage, why not turn them into cash? The “ex”-market, recently established in Hanoi will help you do just that. The market not only allows you to sell all the stuff associated with your former lover, but provides a place to share your breakup stories and get some consolation.
As the summer begins to cool down, the market for ex-related items is heating up. The trading occurs at a place called “Pirate Bay”, a small wooden cottage nestled at the water’s edge at 52/58 To Ngoc Van Street, close to the West Lake flower valley.
It’s not like a typical garage sale or yard market, where you just come and bargain for stuff. It’s specifically for people who are going or have gone through a breakup. They sit on the floor, play guitars, sing songs together, and listen to each others’ sad love story. The room is packed with items, that’s for sure - clothings, shoes, books, watches, postcards, diaries, and even hand-written love letters, most of them for sale.
Here I met Ha Yen, who explained the procedure to me. “This is the first time I’ve been to an ex market. The sellers are cute and eager to share the fascinating story behind each item they sell. Sad love stories are normally kept hidden, but in this ex market, they are traded for consolation. I really love the idea of a market where you can sell your ex-related items. You can sell them to someone who needs them, and with the money you can buy newer, better stuffs - maybe a gift for your new lover.”
Nowadays, many people feel that selling things at a physical market is old-fashioned because there are many computer apps and websites that let you sell your stuff in cyberspace. But selling things that remind you of your ex is not like selling normal stuff. Physically handing your memory-laden items to another person gives you more emotional closure than shipping them off to somebody that you’ve never met.
The market's founder Thang Dinh, says “If you don’t want to use those things from your ex but you don’t want to throw them away, you can give those things new life, and new meaning. I think sharing the stories about the items before you sell or exchange them has a positive psychological impact on the seller. He or she will feel the emotions of the buyers. I currently want to replicate this model because of its value for society. It supports a green lifestyle, and a minimalist, positive community engagement between the givers and receivers.”
This monthly market is called the Ex Market, and as the name suggests, it’s for people who are working through the breakup blues. Sellers are encouraged to share stories about their items, which is a great way to commiserate with others in a similar situation while making some cash in the process.
Buyer Le Hong Ngoc says “I’ve never sold any gift that an ex gave me, but I think some people want to sell them because their love affair ended terribly, or just because they don’t want to see it again, or sometimes because they’re short of money. I came here to buy stuff, but I listen to the stories behind the stuff. It’s an opportunity for me to make new friends.”
Pham Thao Van , who is at this event for the 4th time, says “I brought some stuff from my ex-lovers to sell the first time I came here. When I decided to sell my ex-boyfriend’s gifts, it meant they had come to have a new meaning for me. They were no longer treasures I wanted to keep forever. They had becomestuff I was willing to share with other people. Every person here has a different story to tell. Happy or otherwise, they’re all very interesting.”
When you end a love affair, there’s no need to sigh over your ex’s stuff while listening to sad breakup songs. There’s now a convenient way for you to get rid of that stuff. Come to the ex market and let the healing process begin!