The shake-n-sell market

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Fuggi jaay. That’s an important word to learn when you move to Dakar. It literally means to shake something out (fuggi) and then to sell it (jaay). And it refers to a daily market that travels around the city selling used clothing that vendors purchase in large bundles. They cut open the bundles, shake out the clothes, then sell them.

Back before my baby’s debut en scène, I used to go the Saturday fuggi jaay regularly. In fact, I went so frequently that when our birthing coach suggested I choose a phrase to chant during delivery, the first thing that popped into my mind was, “Pairu daal cinq cent, pairu daala téeméer, pairu daala cinq cent, pairu daala téeméer…” Those who have been to fuggi jaay will recognize that as the phrase shoe vendors call out to say that all shoes cost 500cfa, 500cfa for any pair of shoes…

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Washing and polishing shoes before selling

The pricing system for the shake-n-sell is rather brilliant. Clothes piled on the ground are the cheapest, usually about 100 to 300cfa (under 50 cents). Clothes folded in stack on tables are around 500cfa ($1) and clothes on hangers are about 1,500cfa ($3) and up. Nicer, name brand stuff with tags may be as much as 4,000cfa ($8). It’s like rip-off prevention for toubabs. No price tags, but you still have a pretty good idea of what things should cost.

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2 pairs of pants + 6 tops

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“Pairu daala téeméer…”

It was a great morning for the fuggi jaay. Sunny but not hot. Busy but not crowded. Between haggling and joking around with vendors, my husband got breakfast: a steaming cup of café touba and a bag of fresh beignets.

On our previous visit, we left with two button-down shirts for my husband (1,500cfa, or$3 each) and a couple pairs of 500cfa ($1) overalls and some footie PJs – not for my husband. I left empty-handed, although the pile of second-hand bras (Aminata’s Secret?) was tempting. Maybe another time…

Last week, we left with a couple flimsy baggies stuffed with “treasures”.

2 pairs of linen blend pants: 500cfa ($1) each

6 cotton tops: 100cfa (20 cents) each. These were the bargain du jour! Ann Taylor, American Eagle, Marks & Spencer…

1 newsboy cap from Baby Gap: 700cfa ($1.50). A Senegalese friend said I overpaid, but I think it was worth every franc.

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Welcome to your new home!

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2 thoughts on “The shake-n-sell market

  1. Every week , I go in fuggy jaay thursday market in Ouakam , and every thursday I come home with 2 or dresses for my princess (500 f each) , short and t-shirt for the boys and bra for me ! last thursday I was very happy my “trouvailles” of the day: sergent major, verbaudet,adidas,okaidi, gap clothes!! I love fuggi jaay!!!

  2. Does anyone know what happened to the Wednesday fuggi jaay that used to be near Casino Sahm? Last time I went there it had disappeared! Very disappointing as I don’t make it to Dakar too often.

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