The Frying Pan Scam – Warsaw

When you rent an apartment (a flat for my European friends) for a short time – you normally want to find a furnished apartment. However, a sofa and a chair is not enough and you might end up buying a few things.

frying pans

 

The Warsaw flat that I rented for a few months had most things: a bed (actually a sofa), a table, chairs, stove-top, fridge and even a washing machine. Quite a few plates, small coffee cups, a pot, spoons and forks were here as well. However – there was no frying pan. Sure, boiled is good but at some point you get fed up of boiled. Making a good sauce of some sort requires a frying pan. Making eggs in the morning requires a pan. Making pancakes requires a pan. I also needed a frying pan to cook some sausages – I am in Poland after all.

As I mentioned a few lines earlier, there was a stove top but not an oven, so oven-made food was also out of the question. At this moment I am starting to realize how much I miss oven-cooked food!

 

The Hunt For The Pan

Well, a frying pan was a must. I headed to a small supermarket nearby to only find out that most pans cost 150-200zt ($50-70). Quite too much for a pan that would only be used for a few months then left behind. A flea-market came to mind. There must be some people selling cheaper things, right?

Next day my girlfriend and I headed to a small flea-market but didn’t see any kitchen supplies… until the last moment. I spotted an older man sitting on an empty plastic beer crate, selling a single frying pan. We approached him:

– Ile to kosztuje?
– 70 złoty
– Nie, nie, nie…

We smiled and walked away. Then man then screamed at us: Ok, 60! – but we kept on walking. As we turned around the corner , the “salesman” actually chased us and offered that pan for 45 złoty. We showed him 30 zloty in bills and 2 zloty in coins, of course he accepted. On the way home I was proud of finding such bargain; 32 zloty is about $10 and it’s 5-6 times less than in a shop!

 

And What’s The Scam?

Finally I was able to make some real Polish sausages. I washed the pan very thoroughly before using it and put it on the stove. While cooking the sausages I was very surprised by the amount of smoke. When the food was ready I was even more surprised that the inside of the pan looked badly burned. I was even more surprised when I washed that pan and every drop of water turned into a rusty trace while the pan was drying. Yep, a real bargain. Should I say that I haven’t touched that pan after that?

frying pan scams frying pan scam

Fortunately it only cost $10. I tried to imagine a reason for this pan’s existence (ex: it must be some special pan for some very specific cooking) but I knew I was fooling myself. It was just a very low quality cheap pan that was probably found in some warehouse abandoned by the Russian communists in the 80’s.

The New Frying Pan

A few days later I ended up at Carrefour supermarket. This is where I saw frying pans at 20-30-40-100 zloty. They also sell pots and pans by weight! For about 3 zloty you can get 100 grams worth of pans/pots. How cool is that? Finally less than 30 zt I walked away with a good non-stick frying pan.

fryingpots

So there you go. If you need to buy any home supplies in Poland, go to a big super market. Chances are they are offering the best products for your dollar… or zloty.

Anything to add? Don’t be shy, comment below!

Warsaw Clinic Squat – Przychodnia Skłot

On Friday, March 21st we were walking around the night streets of Warsaw, looking for something fun to do.

Przychodnia Sklot Squat

photo by Elizabeth Viatkin

The night started at “Plan B”, a known bar. The beer was rather cheap (7-8zt for 0.5L). The coolest thing about Plan B is that the square right in front of the bar is considered as a terrace, so lots of people outside. However, after an hour spent at Plan B (or should I say outside of Plan B) we headed to the center of the town.

On the way to the center we decided to walk through some smaller streets and alleys, this is how we ended up on the Skorupki street, right at the corner of Marszałkowska. Although the street seemed rather small and quiet, I noticed lots of people standing in front of an obscure, non-lit building. When we got closer, we noticed that many folks looked like punk rockers; mohawks, ripped jeans, and leather jackets with patches of The Clash, Nirvana and Sid Vicious. Then I heard music coming from that same building.

We proceeded to the entrance and found out it didn’t cost much “see the show”. Inside we went.

There was a Polish punk band “Upadek” playing in the basement, not everyone’s cup of tea but I enjoyed the alternative vibe. Probably because I was in that kind of “underground scene” in Montreal some 10 years ago.

Then there was a post-hardcore band, “Guantanamo Party Program”:

And a local ska band, Skadyktator:

I was surprised to see such a variety of musical styles mixed into one single show.

Later on, when we met some cool people at Przychodnia we found out that on that day the venue was celebrating its 2 years anniversary. That was the reason for all these bands playing there on the same night. However, we also found out that Przychodnia was not really a concert venue, it was a lot more than that.

Przychodnia, literally translated as “clinic” is a squat. This clinic in the center of Warsaw was abandoned for many years and finally it was occupied by squatters in 2012. Przychodnia now serves as a cultural center, with discussions, concerts, photo exhibitions, film projections and a lot more.

In November 2013, the neo-fascists movemevent organized the so-called “March of Independence” and attacked the squat, setting a neighboring building and a car on fire. The motives are not “official” but everyone knows that the residents of Przychodnia Squat are ANTI-fascists. Make your own decision on that matter. People of the Clinic Squat say it’s just the beginning of their struggle and they say it wasn’t the last attack from the neo-fascists.

Przychodnia Sklot Outside

photo by Elizabeth Viatkin

Back to March 21st. Besides the live show, the squat offered a ping pong table, baby foot table and lots of fun people. The basement of the building is a long hallway with a bunch of separate rooms: the bar, rooms with chairs and sofas where people can sit and relax, baby foot room and many other that I don’t remember.

Przychodnia Squat bar

photo by Elizabeth Viatkin

Przychodnia Sklot Hallway

photo by Elizabeth Viatkin

Przychodnia Sklot Concert

photo by Elizabeth Viatkin

Upstairs you can find more rooms, ping pong table, and the exist to the backyard.

I would definitely re-visit Przychodnia Sklot and I would highly recommend this place to everyone. I really hope this squat is here to stay but unfortunately we can’t know for how long it will stay open.

Check out their Facebook Page for updated schedule of events.

– Alex