What is a troc?
A troc is like a large indoor jumble sale or boot sale organized by communes, women’s or parents’ associations, or others. Families are invited to sell on their gently used items allowing other families to stock up their kids’ wardrobes and toy chests for the upcoming season. But instead of having a table for all your stuff, you label your gently used items (usually with your name or seller number, what the item is, the size & price you are looking to sell for), bring them in to the “réception des articles” where they are either accepted or declined, and then the accepted items are placed on tables with other people’s items. There are tables for baby toys, baby accessories, kids toys, books & puzzles, clothes of all sizes, jackets/coats, costumes, shoes, kids sports equipment, maternity clothes, etc. etc. etc. Volunteers (often all in the same colour shirt, even if different styles) fold and sort the clothes, volunteers man the cash desks, and approximately 10% is added to the total – that amount a fundraiser for the organisation running the troc.
If you’ve given toys/clothes, whatever you don’t sell you can often give to a chosen charity or come back at the end of the troc to collect your sales monies and any items not sold, that is “la restitution”.
Who can attend?
Anyone! You don’t have to be a seller and you don’t even have to volunteer (though it’s a great way to meet local mothers). On the day of the troc, you head over (if you bring your baby/toddler, better to do so with a sling/wrap/carrier as there’s no space for strollers/pushchairs), with the largest bag you can find (the big blue IKEA ones usually works really well), and some cash. Once inside, you go from table to table and pick what you like and put it in your bag (as I’ve blogged before, troc veterans KNOW what they are looking for and head straight for the table with those items).
Throughout the day, volunteers re-fold and re-organize as people go through the tables, but they usually cannot keep up and the nicely organised tables are usually piles of clothes quite quickly! After you’ve walked through and chosen what you like/want, and then decided what to actually buy, you go stand in line for the cashier (la caisse) where more volunteers welcome you (always remember to say Bonjour Mesdames!). The cashiers cut the tags off the items you wish to buy, one enters the amount into their calculators & adds the commission (as mentioned above, usually 10-20%) and then you pay the total.
When to go?
This is the tricky part. If you are looking for something specific, you may want to arrive early. In which case, not only will you get a parking spot nearby, but you’ll get in the queue to get in when the door opens. Which means, you’ll “get right in there” and will have first dibs at the items.
If you aren’t looking for anything specific and don’t like crowds or queueing, you may prefer to arrive shortly after it starts or even half-way into the troc. Sure, you might have to park further away, but there’s no line and no waiting to get in (downside is that there might be a long line to pay). If you do this, the “great” items are usually already snatched up, but there are usually still items for you. It really depends on who troc-ed their clothes/toys that year (and how old their kids are!). If the sellers are organised and have a lot of good stuff, it’ll be a good troc year (no matter what time you arrive). If, on the other hand, families have been too busy to sort and tag, price things too high, or have not much to sell, or the stuff that is on sale is for the wrong aged/sized-child, it’ll be mediocre for you (but could be great for another family). No matter what, you should leave with at least one or two items (whether you NEED these items is debatable, but your kids will likely use/play with whatever you get!).
Things of note
If “rough & tumble” describes your child, then there are slim pickings for clothes for this age group — mostly because cuffs are worn, knees have wholes, sleeves are stained, which means the clothes are not accepted by the troc. Trocs only accepts items in good nick/condition. Stained and holed clothes and other unaccepted items don’t make it onto the tables at the troc, but they do often go into the donation bin, which means they do reach families, especially those in desperate need, in Switzerland and abroad.
Got the TROC bug yet?
Other popular trocs in La Côte include:
- Troc de Cheserex –
- Troc de Crans-pres-Celigny
- Troc de Morges –
- Troc d’Aubonne/Gimel/Etoy –
- Troc de Chavannes-de-Bogis –
- Troc de Crans-pres-Celigny –
- Troc de Founex –
- Troc de Rolle & Souk de Jouets –
- Vente “Mille Pattes” Preverenges –
- Troc d’Echichens –
- International Children’s Clothing Sale – Eglise Sacre-Coeur
- Bourse aux Velos (Pro Velo Geneve) – 2
- Troc de la Maison du Quartier de Sous-Gare Lausanne