AL-RUKHOOM Market is located at Al-Shumaisi District in Riyadh. You can find whatever you want here including tethered clothes, food with unknown production and expiration dates, used electronics, cheap cell phones, watches and many other things.
The market begins each Thursday and ends Saturday night, Al-Riyadh daily reported. Everything sold at the market is old and in poor condition. The market is a complete chaos and, some roadside stalls are run by expatriate workers. There is a reason why the market begins Thursday afternoon. This is to avoid crackdown campaigns conducted by municipal officers.
The word “Al-Rukhoom” means a cowardly person in Saudi dialect. One of the stories says that a raging bull barged into the market and everyone got scared and ran away. Most of the vendors are Africans who control the market-selling activities. People of different nationalities frequent the market every weekend to buy various stuff.
Abu Sara has been one of the main sellers in the market for the last 20 years. He buys different goods from homes, people and many places. Municipal authorities require each and every seller at the market to verify the source of goods before buying anything from anyone.
“If anyone comes to the market to sell goods to us. Before we buy any goods from them, we have to write down the name of the goods owner, his ID number, his car’s license plate number, his cell phone number. If they refuse to give us this information, we know that the goods must have been stolen,” he explained.
Saad A., who has been living at Al-Shumaisi District for the past 45 years, described Al-Rukhoom Market as the market of the poor because everything sold at the market is either useless or in poor condition except clothes. At this market, one can buy broken electric mixers, bad-quality household utensils and cell phone batteries.
People of different nationalities come frequently to the market every weekend. Jalal Idris, Sudanese, said he comes here every Friday afternoon and browses around. He always buys stuff at the market knowing that most of the goods are low quality.
“You get to meet people here from different nationalities. I have met people who sell goods from different countries and who helped find what I needed. I usually come here searching for electronic parts of certain machines and most of the time I get lucky and I find what I want. Everything here is cheap,” he said.
Basheer K., from India, sells used clothes on the sidewalk. Although he earns SR100 riyals a day during the three days the market opens, he says he earns enough to get him by. Besides, he usually buys clothes at very cheap prices.
Public health dangers
Dr. Hind Al-Hameed, dermatology consultant, has warned against the use of used clothes because they pose great health dangers. Used clothes can have different types of parasites that penetrate cotton textiles and silk, let alone can cause many skin sensitivities and diseases.
“It is difficult to see microbes and parasites inside the clothes but there are millions of them and they are really tiny and can only be seen with a microscope. Some of them can cause respiratory system allergies while some are contagious,” she explained.