Monday, August 08, 2011

The Swiss Second-hand Scene

As you know based on my last post, I tend to frequent Swiss second-hand markets. I’m a regular at the Baden flea market, which is the last Saturday of every month, and I never pass by an opportunity to step into a Brockenhaus, or a second-hand store. I also occasionally visit Switzerland’s online second-hand store, in other words, the Ebay of Switzerland, which is, in the Swiss style of being very independent, not, but

All of these second-hand Swiss entities have a few things in common: the prices of things are high and most sellers don’t want to bargain.

Both of these traits run counter to the idea of selling second-hand stuff, but then again this is Switzerland, and that fact alone somehow exempts the country the rest of the world’s way of thinking (not that this is always a bad thing, especially in these crazy economic times).

For example, my husband and I are in the market for a baby stroller. Most used strollers in Switzerland seem to be priced around CHF 350-500 ($464-$664) for something three years old. Alas, we watched one particular seller try to sell their stroller for three weeks straight for CHF 350. Each week, when it didn’t sell, they just relisted it AT THE SAME PRICE. Like I said, rules of economics need not apply to Switzerland.

We finally emailed them after it didn’t sell for a fourth week and asked if we could come by over the weekend, have a look at the stroller, and then possibly buy it if we liked it. We were prepared to offer CHF 300 if we liked it, which seemed fair, considering they weren’t selling it at CHF 350.

The response: yes, you can come by and see it, but we’re not taking it off My response? Forget it. I’m not going to spend half a day renting a car to come see your stroller if I can’t buy it and take it home with me right then and there.

Anyhow, further research reveals that thanks to exchange rates and normal prices that do exist outside of this little exception of a country, we can buy the same stroller, new, from Germany for only CHF 100 more than the used, three-year-old Swiss ones are going for.

So goodbye, Swiss second-hand market. Hallo, Deutschland.


Allison L said...

I like going in and looking for the unique things.

Last week I managed to get a Swiss Monopoly game from the 60s The properties were all in Swiss cities and the houses were made of wood.Only one card was missing. The money still wasn't pulled off the cardboard. 10CHF. Even a used board game from the 60s is triple what I paid for a US 60s edition of Monopoly at Goodwill. My mom got an old glass Christmas tree stand for 3CHF too.

But I imagine with strollers that probably retailed close to 1000CHF new... they will never budge.

Hattie said...

Why do strollers have to be so expensive? We got one for ten dollars at a garage sale in our neighborhood to use when our grandchildren visited. My daughters buy a lot of things second hand for their kids, too, or they swap things around.
We have terrific second hand stores full of practical items in the U.S. But there. We are practical. The Swiss are correct.

M'dame Jo said...

I don't, it's weird. I use ricardo only to sell and I don't hesitate to start things at 1.- but stuff on it is often as high as stuff on sale.

But enough about ricardo...

You've been posting less, you bought a stroller... is there a message there ??

M'dame Jo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chantal said...

Hi Allison, sounds like a good find!
Yes, many strollers retail for over CHF 1000. It's really crazy, like buying a car!

Hattie, I don't know, I miss the U.S. concept of a garage sale too, where everything is 25 cents!

M'dame Jo, yes you could say there's been a lot going on these days :-)

Leezy said...

Avoid Zürich brockis, go to the hinterlands! I got some completely fantastic pieces here, and the owner bargained quite politely. Close to Zürich, but in other ways, a million miles away:

Dilly said...

Hello there, I'm a lurker from Geneva, but I thought I'd come out of lurkingness to say congratulations... :)

Dilly said...

Oh, and I forgot to say two other things:

1. Thanks for mentioning - I'd been wondering whether there was an ebay in Switzerland (do you know if there's an equivalent to expedia or lastminute for Switzerland too?)

2. I've seen that same chicken hot air balloon you have in your header flying over Geneva this summer!

Siegfried said...

Hi Chantal,

I'm also an expat from Brugg, and I've been following your blog for a long time. Great writing btw!

There's another brocki in Hausen:,8.205752&sll=47.462124,8.211414&sspn=0.015088,0.032015&num=1&t=h&z=19

Lots of stuff here! :)

Chantal said...

Hi Leezy, Thanks for the tips on the places to find second-hand stuff. My personal favorite is Onkle Tom's in Wettingen:

Chantal said...

Thanks. Funny that you've seen that balloon too. It's a standard at the Chateau d'Oex festival every year. Not sure about a good site for last minute trip stuff in Switzerland, although always posts weekend deals starting on Wednesday, I think.

Chantal said...

Thanks, Siegfried. And I'll be sure to check out the brocki!

M'dame Jo said...


Dilly > ebookers works in Switzerland too.

Dilly said...

Chantal, M'dame Jo - thanks!

Kristi said...

Stroller???? Congrats?

Anonymous said...

Hi ! First of all congratulations for the stroller ;p
It based on that frustration of prices not reflecting the market demand and also the risks bounds to buy something pricey on those website that I co-founded , the 1st Swiss online marketplace for high end fashion ;p there you can buy or sell your clothes, bags, shoes, accessories from designer brands in a few clics. the platform is much nicer. just uplaod your product and pictures with a little description and price and we will assist you with finding the right price anyway. and the best in all that? every items transit by our office to be controlled so we make sure you are doing a good deal. no fake and no default not mentionned in the description ;) please visit us at and let me know what you think about us. you can write to me at, feedbacks welcomed we are eager to improve our platform to better serve you ;)) have a lovely weekend ;)

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Rainbow said...

Great post!

Sophie van der Linden said...

I completely agree with you! Budgeting for a baby can be a challenge. I think that buying used baby stuff is one of the best ways to save money. Especially in the era of our consumerist society. Babies outgrow their clothes so quickly! They usually don't stay the same size for more than a month or two, and that means their clothes aren't worn very often.


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