The weekly pet auction, held every Friday morning in Souq Waqif, continues to be a major tourist attraction. The public auction, from 7am to 10am, is a platform for both amateurs and professionals to buy and sell pets.
The display of various birds and small pets, and the bidding process itself evokes curiosity among the onlookers, who comprise most of the crowd.
The owners of birds, mostly parrots, hens, pigeons, roosters, peacocks, ducks, and a wide variety of singing birds, and other pets such as cats, puppies and rabbits come early before the auction starts and line up their items after taking a token number for each cage.
Once the auction begins, the auctioneer displays the pets one after the other and accepts bids starting from as low as QR5, until the owner of the pet agrees on the highest bid.
The handover of the auctioned pets is instant. The auctioneer takes as commission around 10% of the value paid for each bid and the buyer pays the seller and takes possession of the purchased pet(s). However, if the auctioneer could not get a price satisfactory to the seller or the owner, the owner has to remove the item(s) from display.
Buyers and sellers wait for the auction.
For instance, on Friday a seller declined to sell a couple of Persian cats for less than QR1,500, while another seller sold four peacocks for QR2,700. Some hens brought around QR300, while a colourful pheasant was taken back by its owner who declined to sell it for the maximum bid of QR500.
The process is open with no prior obligations and generally conducted in very good spirits.
Outside of the auction a considerable number of selling and buying deals take place with direct agreement between the buyer and seller, who successfully manage to make a deal satisfactory to both of them.
Many visitors stressed that both the Friday open pet market and auction is an excellent opportunity for all, as it helps them to display their unwanted pets for those willing to buy.
"It has become one of the permanent features of Souq Waqif. It is very practical as well as entertaining for the visitors and pet lovers," a frequent visitor of the market added.