Monday, March 10, 2014

PfennigBazaar Kaiserslautern

Update: The Bazaar made over 33,000 EURO!

The women’s group I’m apart of does a huge event every March called PfennigBazaar. It’s basically a big charity flea market. We collect goods all year long from the community and then sell the items over three days with the proceeds going to charity. (This includes clothes, glassware, pottery, ceramics, artwork, antiques, porcelain, children’s clothes and toys, house wares, décor, etc.)

On Wednesday I went to help sort all the goods. There was a MASSIVE MASSIVE amount of stuff. They try and steer away from becoming Goodwill and collect only quality items. I don’t know what happened, but there was a crazy amount of things.

I arrived and asked where I could help. I was placed in Sporting Goods with a woman that didn’t speak any English. She kept saying hosen, which I knew meant pants, so I folded all the pants (which I’m still not sure was the right thing to do with the hosen). Knowing we probably wouldn’t have a successful working relationship, I asked to be transferred.

I was transferred to Ceramics with Michael and Susan. Michael is American and technically so is Susan, but she grew up her whole life in Germany. She was so sassy and probably a glimpse into my future. They were in their 70’s which surprised the hell out of me. They met in Berlin in the late 50’s right before the Wall went up. I could’ve had them tell me stories all day.


I helped unpack and sort ceramic goods. Susan’s favorite part was finding a chip in a plate or mug and throwing it into the trashcan as hard as she could. I laughed every time noticing the joy the shattering pieces brought her. I later learned it reminded her of her wedding. Polterabend is a German party held the day before the wedding. Dishes are smashed and the pieces are thought to bring good luck to the bride.

The boxes of ceramic dishes and figurines and vases was never-ending. It amazed me how many people owned hideous flower vases at one time. After five hours, we decided to call it a day.

Dan and I went back for opening day on Friday. We arrived at 9:30am and everyone was a little frantic. They had an opening ceremony with high-ranking military and city officials. This is a big deal.  We asked how we could help, and someone mentioned to grab a tray of champagne and walk around handing it out. We did as we were told.

Since no one really knew who we were, they assumed we were stealing a tray of champagne. And while I wouldn’t put it past myself, this was a public event and I’m a little more professional than that. We were demanded to take it back to the kitchen. Ohhhh kayyy. That was a little bit of an awkward start to the day.

Next we listened to opening statements and watched as they cut the ribbon. Dan and I were random volunteers, meaning we never technically signed up to volunteer and didn’t have a designated table we were to be placed to sell the goods.

After asking around, Dan was placed in Sporting Goods and I was placed in Women’s Clothing. At 11am, the doors opened and there was a never-ending rush of people in the Event Hall. It was a little hilarious to me. But considering it is such a big deal, I have no doubt it’s become a prestigious market of sorts over the last 50 years.

It was a lot of fun, despite a bit of a language barrier. Dan and I learned two things that day. Me, that German women REALLY like floral printed shirts as that’s all I sold. And Dan, that Germans REALLY like obscure 80s workout equipment and used roller blades.


We showed up again on Sunday to help out. We were immediately put in the junk/jewelry/scarf section together while the older German women working took a lunch break. We were told everything was 10 cents or “just get rid of it”.

People became so nice once they realized what a steal they were getting. After an hour or two, they women came back from their break, so Dan and I went “shopping”. We found a ton of great house wares (each for like a quarter) and some other fantastic flea market finds- to be featured in an upcoming post.

Overall it was a great experience and I was glad we could help. At this time, I’m not aware how much money was collected or what charities were involved, but will update this as information is acquired. Bottom-line is; I’m so happy that I am a part and can help support an organization that is so dedicated to the local community in which it fully recognizes and respects the co-habitation of German and American people.

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