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#47080 - 11/17/03 08:53 PM Madrid/Barcelona Black Market Shopping
PFitz Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/11/02
Posts: 22
Loc: north carolina
This question just came into my mind and I was wondering about the black market shopping in Madrid & Barcelona(purses/wallets/watches etc...) Is there a lot of it? Is it it easy to find? I know that in most major US cities it is quite abundant especially in places like chinatown or little italy. Also, when I went to China a few years ago the markets of Beijing and ShangHai were PACKED with vendors selling such items. Anyway, just curious....
--Con Ganas De Volver--

#47081 - 11/18/03 06:19 AM Re: Madrid/Barcelona Black Market Shopping
Eddie Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 06/05/00
Posts: 1713
Loc: Phila., PA, USA
The last time I was there, there were several vendors set up in the park directly behind the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona selling fake Rolex watches, counterfeit Gucci handbags etc. Is that what you are looking for? rolleyes

I also found the same thing in places where they have a 'market day' with open air markets. There's one near the Traffic Circle / interchange at the entrance to Barajas pueblo from the west. I also found one in Comillas (Cantabria) but it was 'market day' only!

#47082 - 11/19/03 04:41 AM Re: Madrid/Barcelona Black Market Shopping
Chica Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 12/19/01
Posts: 819
Loc: Madrid
Pfitz, black market items exist here in Spain and in fact is a nuisance that the police are trying to crack down on. Most of the black market vendors are illegal immigrants who sell their wares spread out on blankets that they can quickly gather up when the police come through on their regular sweep.

The top product being sold this way are bootlegged copies of CDs and DVDs. However, as you can imagine, there is a little bit of everything...perhaps not as exaggerated as Canal Street in NYC. In Madrid you will find these street vendors in the Puerta del Sol, Calle Preciados, as well as highly trafficked metro stations and anywhere touristy.

In Barcelona you will find them around the tourist destinations as well as the Ramblas. However, when I was in Barcelona this summer, I noticed the police really being strict about those who do business on Las Ramblas ... asking to see business licenses etc.

Be careful when you shop in these areas as they are also rampant with pickpocketers who are very very good at their craft. eek eek

#47083 - 11/19/03 11:24 PM Re: Madrid/Barcelona Black Market Shopping
Roe Offline

Registered: 10/17/01
Posts: 176
Loc: california
I've seen questionable merchandise in many flea-markets (mercadillos) in many Spanish cities. Some are better than others. I've bought some stuff with varying results. A pair of fake sun-glasses lasted me longer than a pair of the originals, but then a few shirts that I bought bled all over my laundry and turned everything blue. Just remember, you get what you pay for.

#47084 - 11/21/03 05:52 AM Re: Madrid/Barcelona Black Market Shopping
MadridMan Offline

Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 9080
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
I must admit that I have bought a Burber (sp?) scarf from an Asian woman who was selling them on a sidewalk blanket in front of the Hotel Mediadia in Madrid a few years ago when I was there for Christmas/New Years. I never wear it though because it's so darn scratchy on my neck. I'm almost afraid to wash it for fear it will disintegrate. The woman couldn't speak any more Spanish than to say the price and I could only believe she was an illegal alien.

There was an article recently (in Spanish) on Madridiario about how the police are being stationed at 20(?) points around the city to crack down on these illegal "top manta" sales. These 20 (or so) stations include all the tourist centers but also the Salamanca neighborhood, Atocha, and metro stations. I must admit I didn't read the article from beginning to end but it seems something is being done in order to "clean up the image of Madrid to become more that of an 'Olympic City'".

Saludos, MadridMan
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#47085 - 11/21/03 07:30 AM Re: Madrid/Barcelona Black Market Shopping
filbert Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 399
Loc: London
If you want to save money (legally) go to one the many Chinese shops littered about. They previously had signs like Todo 100 (for pesetas) but still have incredibly cheap items. You can buy anything from stationery, clothes, make-up, toiletries to carpets and kitchen equipment.
How these shops make a profit on the prices they charge I really don't know...
An English Bookseller in Madrid


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