The onset of winter means the residents of Rawalpindi have brought out their warm clothes, with a large number making a beeline to the various flea markets in the city for affordable winter wear.
For Muhammad Rasheed, who has an administrative job at a company, the flea markets that prop up at designated spots in the garrison city were his only option.
“This is the only place left to buy warm clothes, sweaters, coats, jackets, mufflers and hats for people like me affected by the wave of inflation,” he said as he shopped for clothes with his family.
Majid Mehmood, another local, said flea markets also provided a vast price and quality spectrum. There is also the possibility of negotiating with the seller and making some bargain purchases, he said while haggling with one stall owner.
At any stall, one could find a wide range of coats, sweaters, jackets, long coats, mufflers, warm hats, gloves and shoes in varying sizes and shapes.
A large number of vehicles were parked outside the flea markets in Saddar and the cantonment area.
The popular markets include the one at Railway Road, Misrial Road and Bhatta Bazar in the cantonment. Two popular flea markets also operate at Jamia Masjid Road and Saidpur Road.
Shabbir Akhtar said that he came to the market as he could not afford the price at which warm clothes were being sold in the market.
Read Flea markets thriving ahead of winter
“Winter has not fully taken off but I have come here make purchases because later, the prices in the flea market will also rise sharply,” he pointed out before adding: “I will not be able afford those prices.”
He added that some sellers had already raised their prices ‘to exploit those who have no other option buy to make their purchase from flea markets’.
He added that some affluent people had also gotten into the habit of making purchases from the flea market, which had driven the prices up further.
Like many others, he pointed out that higher electricity and gas bills along with the rising prices of food items have badly affected their budgets.
“In such a scenario, buying warm clothes from flea market is the only option left for us,” said Mehmood.
He, however, pointed out that one must be discerning and attentive while making purchases from the flea market.
“Any piece of garment that you buy from the flea market has to be washed properly once,” he said.
Dr Tahir Sharif, another buyer, pointed out that the clothes should be soaked in hot water that is laced with a disinfectant. He said it was important to do that to ensure the clothes are properly sterilised and do not become transmitters of any disease or infection.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th2023.