How did we aquire all of this new furniture? Well, we didn't buy it off craigslist (which doesn't really exist in Korea), or get it new from the store. We're not theives, so we didn't steal it. To put it simply, people left out their furniture for garbage and we swooped it up.
This is not an unusual occurance in Korea, either. In fact, this happens quite often. In any given week, you are guaranteed to run into discarded chairs, sofas, armoirs, cabinets, shelves, desks, and drawers. I mentioned this to a Korean friend who told me that when most Koreans move, they like to just throw out their old furniture and get new stuff for the new home. In fact there's a joke where Korean men are afraid of being thrown out with the furniture. And don't forget about businesses closing down, either. Instead of selling off their assets, quite often, they are thrown out into the street for anyone to get. We have some friends who got their couches when a local karaoke joint closed down.
But for us, Korean junk is our treasure. The couch we picked up, while being a nice bright yellow, is IKEA made and probably worth $200 or so new in Korea. The desk chair we found retails around $100 brand new in the nearest store. Quality wise, there are some nicks and dings here and there, but nothing really noticeable. Besides, the desk chair is mighty comfortable.
IKEA couch, "relaxing chair", and office chair
Yesterday, we almost decided to stop a foreigner who was buying a brand new table an chair set. We wanted to yell "Dude, just wait a month and your apartment will be totally furnished!". But, he looked like he was in a hurry and quite set on his purchase.
Patience, my friend is a virtue.
And garbage is free!