Hanoi flea market sells ‘goods as cheap as your ex-lover’

The controversial ad ‘Cheap as your ex-lover’ is seen at the flea market in Hanoi. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A flea market in Hanoi is encouraging people to put memories from their ex-lovers, including letters or gifts, on sale, attracting criticism from many.

The bazaar, named “Ex-Lover,” consists of 20 booths and is held from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on the first Sunday of every month on To Ngoc Van Street in Tay Ho District.

Most of the items on sale are diaries, love letters, handkerchiefs, clothes, jewelry and other accessories, all once gifts exchanged by couples in romantic relationships.

One booth displays its items behind a sign, listing prices from VND40,000 (US$1.7) to VND110,000 ($4.8) or as the sign reads, “as cheap as you ex-lover!”

The man behind the idea, Dinh Thang, said he wants the flea market to “give new life to keepsakes that belong to an old love.”

Thang said the idea came during a meeting with his friends, who were all in poor spirits after bidding farewell to old partners.

“These are all items closely associated with ex-lovers that we don’t want to use again, but getting rid of them harms the environment,” Thang explained.

“We decided to open this bazaar as a place to find new owners for them.”

The market allows sellers of keepsakes to run their booths for free, and only charges those who sell brand new goods.

Debatable idea

Luu Thuy Ha, 20, one market-goer, said it was a great idea for people to come to the market and get to know the ‘love memories’ of strangers.

“I can see myself in the souvenirs and love letters of others,” she said.

“These may be old goods to them but they are new to me.”

However, not everyone is pleased with the ‘ex-lover’ flea market, as well as the ‘cheap as your ex-lover’ slogan.

“So we will all become cheap if we are no longer a lover to someone?” one Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reader questioned.

“This is such an impolite, uncivil and shocking promotion.”

Another reader reminded people that if one considers their ex “cheap,” this also works the other way round, as “you are also the ex-lover of your ex-lover.”

“If you want to make a creative or fun ad, think more wisely,” the reader advised.

Others say that memories or lovers’ gifts should not be something up for sale.

“Doesn’t it mean you want to sell your past and memories?” one reader said.


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