A worker carries a second-hand kitchen item at Tenpos Busters' reuse center in Yokohama. Photo: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
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Kitchen equipment piles up as pandemic shutters Japan's restaurants

30 Comments
By Akira Tomoshige and Hideto Sakai

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30 Comments
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16,000 yen for an entire ramen shop's worth of bowls, cooking pots, and chairs?

Wow, guess second hand 're-sellers' in Japan are just one step above thieves regardless of what industry you find them in. Recycle shops, these restaurant resellers...

And let me guess, if and when the stuff is resold, I'm betting the price will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 160,000 yen minimum?

16 ( +19 / -3 )

Whenever I have sold household items to Hard Off, they offered about ten percent of the item's value...

18 ( +18 / -0 )

Wow, guess second hand 're-sellers' in Japan are just one step above thieves regardless of what industry you find them in. Recycle shops, these restaurant resellers...

Guess you never heard of Manga Soko, or any other of a number of "resale" shops here. They purchase at literally "pennies on the dollar" and sell at literally outrageous prices, and people buy their stuff!

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Recycle Shops are a big business in Japan, you just don't sell stuff at those stores for profit.

I always recommend my clients moving/leaving Japan to try to sell their furniture etc at the numerous Sayonara sales groups first, and leave recycle shops as last resort.

Personally, I find it a good opportunity to get rid of all the junk in your place in 10min. and get the lunch money for that, better than waiting the exact day of the month and do all the procedures to dispose multiple items, and you have to pay for it.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

I brought an unused kiln to hardoff. Brand new. They offered me ¥3000 for a ¥60,000 item.

I took it home.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Recycle Shops are a big business in Japan, you just don't sell stuff at those stores for profit.

One of the biggest, if not biggest reason, resale shops are a big business here is the costs involved with actually tossing the stuff into the garbage. Depending upon the size and material involved, it's actually cheaper to sell them for a pittance, and not have to pay to have them taken away as garbage.

It's actually cheaper, relatively speaking, to sell the items to a reseller, and get something in return, rather than tossing it themselves.

We were cleaning out our inlaws house after they passed away years ago, we knew we weren't going to get any actual "value" for the goods, but something is better than nothing, and took it to manga soko!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

It is same with everything in Japan. Even book off will give you 10yen max for a good, almost brand new book, and resell it for 700 yen or more.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Guess you never heard of Manga Soko, or any other of a number of "resale" shops here. They purchase at literally "pennies on the dollar

I went to a private auction where the resale guys buy stuff last year. The prices really are pennies on the dollar, if that, for most items. Items worth $500 used to a buyer are sold for a few dollars. It was then I realized how these recycle shops stay in business - massive profit margins on each item.

That said, highly liquid items and well-known things that can sell easily online, like a Les Paul guitar I saw, went for something closer to the real price. It would have been a great deal for a guitar player, but just a reasonable profit for the reseller. Other items, like an exercise bicycle (like new) that sells for 20,000 yen or so, went for 300 yen.

Some of the highest margin items may not sell that quickly, and recycle shops bring their dead inventory back to the auction to sell for pennies on the dollar again.

With so many restaurants going under, if you are looking for restaurant equipment now the best thing is to put out the word. Likely, you can buy out the lot from somebody who is going out of business for the same price these recyclers are getting it for. In some cases, you can get the stuff for free.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Vultures these companies, a garage sale would make a lot more money

3 ( +5 / -2 )

which will be cleaned at a maintenance centre before being resold.

I guess I miss the premise of this article. Who is buying these used goods if restaurants are going out of business?

If what the article says were true, this second hand reseller would not buying these items.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

All you people who are still working & getting your full salary, take a good hard look at this.

These are people’s livelihoods gone because people like you want a lockdown.

Easy to say close the restaurants, bars & cafes from the comfort of your home while sipping on your craft beer.

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

Yubaru-san, I miss those big Manga Souko stores.. we dont have them here in Tokyo or anywhere in Kanto area. If you ever want to sell something expecting $$ I always recommend trying the order below:

①Craiglist or Facebook Sayonara sales (you set the price)

②Yahoo Auction, Merukari (sometimes its great when someone offers a high bid for something you didnt know the value)

③Big recycle shops (Treasure Factory, Book Off Super Bazaar) - no profit at all, but at least they take the stuff they said they cannot buy, wonder what they do with those...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If your Buisness is unable to survive a non lockdown with "go eat" vouchers it was probably on the edge anyway. The staff were being paid less than ¥1,000 an hour and can find a better job, I hope, believe. If I was renovating my kitchen these second hand items would be a boon.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Tooheysnew, there is no lockdown here. What are you talking about? People aren’t eating out because they don’t want to risk getting sick. It is not because of government mandated lockdowns. If you want to blame someone who is being reckless, then go for the anti-maskers. They are spreading the disease and causing everyone more problems. That is a small problem here too, though. Do you even know what country this article is about?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

If you want to blame someone who is being reckless, then go for the anti-maskers. 

You can't eat or drink with a mask on, so in a restaurant setting, 100% of the people are "anti-maskers."

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I went full Gaijin style and had a garage sale. Signs up all around.

Close to no interest. An old lady came for the child trailer for my mountain bike. Virtually stole it from me, then took the bike too (without thinking it was separate) because she liked it. Yeah, carbon is delightful to look at. Friends got a free spin, the bulk of my unkept treasure went in bags on the kerb.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I remember back in the 90s when there wre the "large gomi" days and everyone would put out their unwanted large stuff. It is amazing the furniture we would get out of that. I like woodworking so we ended up with some pretty nice stuff. We were able to get bikes too...even a piano (small table top electric deal that worked great.....was about 40,000 new in the stores).

Eventually and with the continued decline of the Japanese economy 2nd hand stuff had more value and the rules changed....

Those were good times when starting the business and cash flow still developing....

We helped many a gaikokujin furnish their place in those days.......good memories.

Merry Christmas everyone!

8 ( +9 / -1 )

well its market economy at its best.

2021 may be even more bad than 2020....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

the "large gomi"

Yes I enjoyed those too. Would take some items but return with several more including furniture. The stuff was put out the night before and overnight people would search them for any money someone might have left in them.

I still have items in our house which came from one.

Then the city introduced paid collections which needs a ticket from the PO. People started dumping their stuff along rivers or in the mountains.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

@Zichi...life was alot simpler then wasn't it? In Japan and not only in Japan.

Hope you and your family have a peaceful Christmas Day

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I bought an industrial mincer for 70,000 yen. Awesome machine!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I remember not even 20 years ago some golf equipement thrown away and looked like new to me. The full set !

It is just Japanese have hard times psychologically using someone else's materials/equipment, and lack of space in homes.

Last time I brought home from resale shop some very refined high quality small flower pot, bought a few hundre yens only.

Brand new looking books can be cheap to buy in bulk too.

Going to get better buyings with time with so many singles, I can tell you.

Merry Christmas everyone !

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Highway robbery!! Sad. Folks who poured their sweat and tears into their own business is subjected to end this way. Sad.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

shonangreg

Tooheysnew, there is no lockdown here. What are you talking about?

I didn’t say there is a lockdown. I’m saying people on here are demanding there should be a lockdown.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

What bugs me most about second-hand shops here is that they will often only buy name brand goods, and only in mint condition, for next to nothing, then resell them for prices that are almost the same as buying new. The system should not be built to try and maximize profit. Give a little more to the people who sell the stuff, and charge a little less to those who need it but can't afford to buy new (and can't afford to buy used at new prices).

0 ( +3 / -3 )

To get a good deal buying or selling, get on Yahoo Auctions. If you have good stuff, buyers will bid it up beyond anything a second hand shop will give you.

While this is sad for businesses, it lowers the cost of the next person starting up. Kitchen equipment is only worth something if someone can use it to make a successful business. It's just scrap otherwise.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is just Japanese have hard times psychologically using someone else's materials/equipment

Not just Japan, most of East Asia has this mindset too; buying second-hand until very recently was seen as being strictly for people below the poverty line. I remember many years back a Korean TKD teacher looked at my shoes in class, which were worn hard and showed it but weren't full of holes or falling apart, and he remarked how I needed new shoes. Everything always needs to look brand new for some people.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Bernard MarxToday  11:57 am JST

I bought an industrial mincer for 70,000 yen. Awesome machine!

Congratulations you officially a mincer.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Cry me a River please... Big business suffering oh no!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Whenever I have sold household items to Hard Off, they offered about ten percent of the item's value...

Value is subjective. Why should they give you more? They provide the convenience of an instant sale, and they'll also take almost any old crap off your hands. If you have a different price in mind, you'll have to put in the work to find the person in Japan who will pay it. That would take you considerable time and trouble, with no guarantee of success.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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