Cupid liquidation sale attracts hearty crowd

Chihiro Matsuda likes jewelry very much, especially from her boyfriend. But she has one minor problem. “Now that we’ve broken up, I don’t want this bracelet and necklace he gave me,” she said. And, she added, now that she has a new boyfriend, she wants to make a fresh start “without bad memories.”

With Valentine’s Day approaching, Matsuda is not alone in remembering past loves and their now unwanted gifts. In response to this, Parco department store in Tokyo’s bustling Shibuya district is offering a clever way to get rid of these bad memories.

It’s called Love’s Liquidation Sale, a flea market to sell those once treasured items, thus providing a way to both get rid of them and make a tidy profit in one go. The popular sale is in its fourth year and began again on Feb. 1. It will last until Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14 and has so far attracted thousands wanting to sell old gifts and others just looking for a good deal.

Items at this Valentine’s flea market range from traditional lover’s gifts such as necklaces and bracelets to clothes and makeup. Items on sale are worth anywhere from 200 yen to 10,000 yen, with Parco receiving a 100 yen fee from vendors for each item sold.

With both buyers and sellers obviously benefiting from this innovative sale, it has become quite popular. “I think over 2,000 people will come today because it’s a holiday,” Parco representative Tomoko Ishihara said Feb. 11, National Founding Day.

The sale is being held on the seventh floor, and the line to enter the market Feb. 11 ran down all seven flights of stairs. Customers are allowed in the market area 10 at a time to reduce crowding.