April 23, 2024

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Heads or Tails: Trade in Lost Land Plots in Brussels

Heads or Tails: Trade in Lost Land Plots in Brussels

Countless parcels in Europe are not collected and cannot be returned to the sender, for example due to a lack of correct addresses. As a result, courier services are overburdened. After some time, they became the official owners and sold the “lost” parcels at auctions to specialized companies.

Pile ou Face (Heads or Tails) from founder Arnaud Userstam is one buyer company hoping to make a profit from reselling packages to the general public. The company opened a store on Friday in Brussels, near Place Flagey in Ixelles, and another in Wavre. The packages are of unknown origin and are sold by weight at a price of 16 euros per kilo.

“Until last year, these types of containers were burned,” Orstam says. “It used to be too expensive for courier services to store them. But now there is a European law that prohibits burning them, so we buy the parcels and resell them.”

“We turn lost parcels into accessible treasures, thus working toward a more sustainable economy,” Jørstam explains on the website. His argument: without trade in lost parcels, they would simply be destroyed, while they are usually new items, and this is bad for the environment.

Strict rules

Courier services cannot simply resell lost parcels. In Belgium, for example, the sale of unclaimed parcels is subject to strict rules. Elsewhere in Europe, the rules are more lenient. The tons of Amazon packages purchased by Pile ou Face that are now on sale come from all over Europe, with the exception of Belgium.

Neither Pile ou Face nor the customer knows exactly what is in the packages, making it a surprise to everyone. In most cases it's about clothes, but if you're lucky, you can buy a smartphone or other expensive consumer electronics for just €16.

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Similar stores with Mystery boxes He had great success in France for some time. The sales points in Ixelles and Wavre are pop-up stores, to see how much interest there is among the Belgian public.