The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

El Massry Home Office

El Massry for Egyptian Customs &Confiscated Sales: Second-Hand in Cairo

reviewed by
Naila Haris
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El Massry for Egyptian Customs &Confiscated Sales: Second-Hand in Cairo

you’re looking for second-hand goods, Craigslist and offer
great deals in this city of recirculation goods, but thrift shops are havens for the savvy shopper seeking a wide inventory at a low price.

Massry for Egyptian Customs & Confiscated Sales is a shop on Ramsis Street,
Abassiya that stocks foreign and high-end goods at tax-free and reduced prices.
Is this heaven? Frankly, it’s a bit dusty and the stock is clustered in
arbitrarily located sections, but El Massry boasts the latest models on popular
brands of electronics, home appliances, decor and accessories, as well as rare
novelties. It’s an enchanting and promising venue, similar to a pawn or antique
shop with all the tricky webbing of a dealership, too.

El Massry is the shop’s general manager. Enter late and you could find him centrally
located with a shisha. A laidback yet driven businessman, Saber is very
hospitable. He offers canned soda to prospective buyers and seats guests in his
office where he retrieves and delivers items to guests for hands-on examination
and brief in-house trial.

shop’s products are stacked and shuffled on top of each other in an overflowing
bounty, where you may just find anything you want.

is a business and Saber is a businessman. Tell him what you’re looking for; and
he’ll bring to attention first the vast treasures acquired, emphasizing origin
and class. ‘That’s Italian crystal,’ he may say, ‘All are top quality imports.
No tax!’

If you request a large, professional camera,
he will show the small cameras first. Though attentive and helpful, he’s unclear and dodgy when discussing how some items have been obtained.

always, cash is king. Jewellery like rings are priced by weight: an average
size silver ring with garnets weighed in at 144LE. Chic sweaters for men can cost
55LE; iPod Nanos in assorted colours are priced at around 153LE. First price
offered for a Nikon D70 was 5000LE.

seems to figure out prices on the spot for Egyptians and non-Egyptians alike,
but many items are tagged. Try haggling, though this may be easier for aging
stock than for the latest gadgets.

staff cover altering nights, and two women attended this reviewer’s return
visit for a used mobile phone. Among the exhibited phones, one basic
Nokia had a missing back cover and considerable abrasion. The final offer was
160LE. One woman spoke enough English to communicate products and respond to
questions. The initial argument against a lower price was that the phone was
made in Hungary, not China; thus constituting a finer quality of phone. ‘Brand
new,’ was their assertion, and they looked to each other confused by the word ‘used.’

overstock supposedly accounts for high-end customs, but a significant
contribution is obviously second-hand. You may find your lost luxury, or
claim a new one here at El Massry.

360 Tip

Prepare to haggle. Be tenacious.

Best Bit

Quality selection of new and used items.

Worst Bit

The staff can be difficult at times.

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