Furniture Collection Gangs of Barcelona: Myth or Reality

I had a conversation the other day with a friend who was going to furnish their apartment. I head heard on the grape vine that San Gervasi in Barcelona was a great place to find second hand, high quality cast offs.

On one hand, I could see the attraction, in let’s say London. In the UK, buying second hand isn’t a bad thing. In Spain, there’s shops like Humana, a bit like Oxfam but is alleged to take a HUGE proportion of the selling price as profit while donating a small percentage at actual charity. This is unlike Oxfam, which is alleges to give a lot more to their own causes. So, is second hand a viable option when socially frowned upon?

I would guess that there are markets, such as landlords and perhaps bars that can be furnished quite cheaply. However, does it really need a mafia street gang? Additionally, is it really cost effective when prostitution and human trafficking has lower overheads?

The story continued from my associate who said their friend had been accosted by Barcelona ‘heavies’ [mafia] after they had absconded with some furniture. They reported that each area of Barcelona had it’s own collection crew. Living in the Eixample, perhaps here it’s not so high-end as say Zona Alta. However, I’ve seen quite high end PC’s and even a Mac once thrown onto the street here. Working in real estate, I know the better areas of the city… but still, it doesn’t add up.

I could assume that electronics would interest the mafia, as using a motherboard registered to someone with a MAC [not an apple Mac] address might be useful with ‘buying time’, on a crime. But, second hand furniture? For one, it’s bulky, two, the overhead in removal and delivery, plus the chance of restoration is quite low. Okay, it’s for free, but the overhead? In the scenario described there were three heavies working this ‘yard’. Sorry but I don’t find it convincing enough. I believe there would be more money in shifting petty theft items, maybe original passports than furniture.

I remain unconvinced. I may have missed something. Let me know below what you think.

One Reply to “Furniture Collection Gangs of Barcelona: Myth or Reality”

  1. Try putting a piece of old furniture out in Barcelona and see how quickly it disappears (minutes usually). There are guys touring the city in beat-up vans collecting stuff (and of course, one layer below who are continually collecting scrap metal). It’s like free money and probably easier to fix up and sell on than dodgy electronics.

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