13.1. Discussion topics.

What is a jumble sale? Where are they held? What could you buy there? Who organises them? Where does the money go? A jumble sale is one of the most curiously British events that there is. Where else can you take the children for a fun morning out, fight old ladies, drink orange squash and eat sticky buns, go home after with hundreds of useful objects, and all spending less that £1? So what are they? Well, the answer is a type of indoor market. This will be organised by a local group such as the Boy Scouts, a charity group, a religious group or any kind of community members. The money collected always goes either to charity or to one of these community organisations; in other words, a good cause. First the group will send collectors around the local area, who knock on people’s doors asking for jumble. This consists of any sort of old clothes, household objects, books, children’s toys, etc. It might even be furniture or old television sets. When all the ‘jumble’ is collected it is taken to the place such as a church or school hall where the jumble sale is held. There, it is sorted out and piled up onto several tables. There is usually a part dedicated to books, another to women’s clothes, men’s clothes, bric-a-brac (miscellaneous objects), toys, shoes, and kitchen utensils. You must pay to get in; usually 20p. The prices inside are without doubt the cheapest thing that you will find in Britain. A coat will normally cost 50p; a kitchen bowl 5p or 10p and a TV, if there are any, will be the most expensive at £3 - £5. You can expect to find a lot of old people, and students too, as they tend to need a lot of things for their flats and usually have no money. You should consult the ‘forthcoming local events’ section of the local newspapers to find out when they are held. The normal time is on a Saturday afternoon at 2.00 p.m., but it is also common to find them on a Friday evening or Saturday morning at 10.00 a.m.


Where do people go in your country to buy second hand things? In Britain and the US there is an enormous second hand market. Yet in some European countries people seem to not like the idea of anything second hand. Why not? Is this caused by snobbery? What do people do with old things in your country when they have finished with them? The answer is probably that you’re a bunch of snobs who like to show off, your new things. Probably also because your country is poorer than Britain. Have you noticed that the richer the country, the more untidily and scruffy the people dress. In Mediterranean countries men wear suits to nightclubs, but in Las Vegas you can walk into any casino dressed in shorts and flip-flops. Many countries don’t have any second-hand shops at all. Where do you go if you want to buy a metal tool to repair the car that you will use once? Buying a hammer is not like buying someone’s second-hand underwear. What do you do with everything? Keep it at home? Throw it away? Explain. This is why Britain and the States are two of the only countries that understand the idea of retro and kitch. Is it out-of-fashion or is it art? Is that person wearing designer clothes or just homeless? Someone buys second-hand clothes, wears them out and then starts a new fashion again. If Europeans had their way, pop-stars would be dressed as if they were going to job interviews…judging by what is seen on Eurovision maybe they should be going to job interviews.