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jennipurrr
2-16-11, 11:11am
I am working on a little piece for my blog about buying used stuff. Most of the items in my house are used or scratch and dent. I am trying to conceptualize why people have an aversion to buying used "stuff"...I have come up with that it could be dirty, worn out and that there is a stigma...but I can't really wrap my head around anything else. I think I am too far on the other side...I can rattle off a huge list of why to buy used. Anyone have ideas about why not?

Gina
2-16-11, 12:04pm
I think I am too far on the other side...I can rattle off a huge list of why to buy used. Anyone have ideas about why not?
I'm with you and just can't understand it. There are very few things I won't buy used. Underware is an obvious one. I get an 'ick' feeling about the possibility of wearing used (even if it's been soaked in chlorox for a month) undies. Ick! Ick! Ick! Not going to happen. Perhaps that's the same feeling those who only buy new have about everything used.

My sister-in-law turned her nose up at used/re-used things. It was a false snobbery, but then she had nothing else to be snobby about. (meow)

For some it could be more than an aversion to 'used', but rather the status associated with 'new'. Perhaps this is a relic from the days of the Great Depression (it was only a couple generations ago) when having everything new set you apart and made you think you were better than the great unwashed, poor masses. Perhaps the equivalent of the royalty in a capitalistic society. We may not have titles, but we have 'stuff'. And that 'stuff' supposedly defines our worth. Not only amounts, but newness too.

I am actually grateful for those who only will buy new things. First, there is less competition for good used items. And Second, they create a source of used items every time they replace things with something new. :)

sweetana3
2-16-11, 12:15pm
I am totally proud of the amount of everything saved when I get used goods. I like used furniture, used clothing, especially good coats, etc. I agree that there are things like underwear and shoes that I would prefer to fit exactly and be totally new.

We just returned from a coupon sale at our local thrift. Hubby got a used down coat and two good brand long sleeved shirts plus one totally new polo shirt. I got woolens for my rug hooking craft. Everything was 1/2 off already great prices.

Simplicity
2-16-11, 12:19pm
I am actually grateful for those who only will buy new things. First, there is less competition for good used items. And Second, they create a source of used items every time they replace things with something new. :)

Good point Gina! :)

I think the main reasons people turn their noses up at buying used are stigma and perceived value. There are some items that I prefer to buy new, but they are very few. I'm with Gina on the underwear, for sure. Same with mattresses, socks (but not shoes - go figure) and I think that's about it.

I do get annoyed at over-pricing of used items. I feel that if something is used, it should be no more than half the original new price. I see people advertizing things that they have had for years and are expecting 75% of the original price for it! Unless it is something that actually appreciates in value - a collectable or antique or something - I don't think you should be charging that much for it. Maybe that's just me being cheap.

Bootsie
2-16-11, 3:12pm
Bedbugs. There is growing concern in my area about a bedbug epidemic and I've heard people are avoiding thrift stores out of fear of bedbugs.

I also have heard concerns about the karma (that's probably not the right word) attached to used items. If the item was used by a "bad" person, the karma is attached to the items. Also, people are sometimes afraid of buying something that belonged to a dead person. I don't adhere to these fears, but I have heard them personally told to me.

Some people aren't opposed to buying used stuff, but they don't because some thrift stores can be unpleasant. They don't want to deal with dirtiness, digging around for a bargain, or dealing with "riff raff" in the stores. They might not be opposed to higher-end consignment stores.

Anne Lee
2-16-11, 5:00pm
I've had some bad experiences buying used appliances in that they broke rather quickly.

ApatheticNoMore
2-16-11, 5:29pm
Easier to get exactly what you have in mind when buying new. Don't have to drive around to several thrift stores merely *hoping* they might have what you want, but might just be able to make a single trip to a store and be done with it. This is not so much for clothes or furniture but for things like appliances (of course sometimes you can't even find what you want new either, and for some things the used stuff is actually better quality).

In a pinch I'd wear used underwear (after washing it of course) but really I prefer to just get new underwear. Used mattresses or sofas I would be very wary of getting used, because there is a bedbug risk there.

reader99
2-16-11, 7:29pm
Sometimes new is faster and easier. When I buy a bunch of clothes at once I buy them new and all in the same place. They're more likely to be color coordinated and there will be a bunch in my size with no sorting through racks and racks of things that have nothing to do with me.

rosarugosa
2-16-11, 7:41pm
There's a used desk I have my eye on at a thrift store and also listed on CL. It's definitely the concern of bedbugs that's holding me back, because apparently they can infest hard furniture as well. I've never had much luck with clothes from thrift stores because I'm a really small size, and it's often been hard for me to get clothes that fit even at regular retail stores. I've bought some miscellaneous stuff at second hand stores, and I was glad to get the bargains.

Tammy
2-16-11, 7:47pm
...Same with mattresses, socks (but not shoes - go figure)

that's funny! I'm the opposite. I'll buy used socks cause I can wash them, but used shoes always seem sort of sweaty and gross to me.

( edit --- oh wait .... maybe you meant the opposite and i just made absolutely no sense .... ??)

iris lily
2-16-11, 10:24pm
I am not exagerating when I say that we've pulled in sofas from the alley for the past 20 years. 20 years!!!!!

Our house is ummmm beyond casual and the dogs just wreck them.

But next, due to the supposed problem with bedbugs, I won't risk bringing in one from outside although I don't know how we know that new furniture stores are exempt from bedbugs.

But I will say that The. Best. Sofa. EVER! is the one that we have right now, the most comfortable, the most solid, just the best. I'm grateful for getting it because now I know the style to buy when it comes time to do that. I wish that my beloved Mableine the resuce dog had not decided to mark it. That is so annoying. But my love for Mabeline goes beyond a mere sofa...

loosechickens
2-16-11, 10:37pm
Ahhh......"dead people clothes"....my favorites, because THAT'S when you get the really good stuff, the things they weren't willing to get rid of, but were forced to leave behind......

iris lily
2-16-11, 10:48pm
Ahhh......"dead people clothes"....my favorites, because THAT'S when you get the really good stuff, the things they weren't willing to get rid of, but were forced to leave behind......

That is a very interesting point and summarizes my thought about estate sales, true estate sales, when the people are dead or else going to the nursing home. That's were the good stuff lies.

iris lily
2-16-11, 10:54pm
jenni I love your fat cat in your photo, he/she is so lovely.

Ok here's something about used dogs:that's the only kind I get. I love 'em especially when they are well raised.

I've got a rescue dog here right now who does not:

1) get up on the furniture
2) eat people food
3) get into stuff OTHER THAN dog toys and he is smart enough to know the difference

I feel inadequate as a dog owner when a lovely, well behaved dog like this shows up in my home. He is a joy to have around and will be a very easy placement.

But people have that same attitude about used dogs, they want a brnd new shiney puppy and I dont' get that, puppies are hugely troublesome. They are just a mess.

Fawn
2-16-11, 10:57pm
ummm...because
1) "I deserve to have.....xyz."
2) people have outlier sense of beauty or are not at "normal" size
3) because if you only have 6 work outifits at a time, you will wear them out in 6 month if they are brand new purchased from a discount store and wear them out in 2 months if purchased for a smigeon less at a second hand store--YMMV.:|(
4) because some people are different from the rest of us and need new, beautiful, important.....>8)

Gina
2-16-11, 11:02pm
Although bedbugs are a legitimate concern, I know I'll continue buying 'used', even though the bugs can hide out in just about everything, including books. Old habits die hard, and buying used is what has allowed me to have nice things yet not work. I haven't been buying much of anything lately because I'm thinning the herd, but will be far more careful about cleaning everything well as soon as I resume buying.

When I do shop at a yard sale or thrift store, I am usually just looking for good things, rarely anything specific. Specific things are hard to find used, and that is the sort of thing I'll give in and buy new, especially if it's needed 'now'.

I also don't mind buying the clothes of someone now dead. They likely weren't dead when they wore it last. ;)

jennipurrr
2-17-11, 9:40am
Thanks for all the replies!!! Oooh, dead people, I forgot that sometimes people are skeeved out by that. Bedbugs too, that is a very valid concern too. We have had bedbugs in our condo complex and it sent some people into a tizzy. Luckily they were a very small infestation and supposedly eradicated thoroughly. I have always been somewhat averse to upholstered furniture and I will admit that the potential for bedbugs does make me more wary. Although, I say that and both my sofa and leather chair where bought used...so I can't be to averse.

I always wonder if people don't realize how much you can save buying big ticket items used...like its just an automatic to go to the furniture store and buy something (on credit?). Well, you guys have inspired me! Off to write!

Iris, this is my super fatty cat Suzie. She is 17 lbs and she loves to snuggle :)

terrica
2-17-11, 10:58am
I think one of the reasons certain people donít like used items is that they perceive people who buy used to be low-class and if they buy used, then they are low-class. I grew up lower middle-class in a poorer neighborhood. In high school, I bought most of my clothes used so that I could get more for my money while most of my friends bought new. Whenever they would complement me on a piece of clothing, as soon as they found out that it was used, they would tell me how gross it was to wear used clothing. When I pointed out that they shared clothes, I was told that was different.

In 10th grade, I joined the soccer team. This required special spiky shoes that no one owned. We were told by our coach that a good basic pair would run about $60 and that she would help us organize a carwash to pay for them. My mom and I went to a local sports shop and found a used pair for $10. They were exactly my size and werenít worn in the least. There were lots of used pairs in really good condition but when I told the girls on the team, they turned their noses up and again told me how gross I was. I refused to participate in the carwash since I already had my shoes. Later I found out that our coach spent over $100 of her own money since the carwash didnít bring in enough. Whenever I think about this incident, I still get a little ticked off.

Some people just think that new is better, always. Never mind that a new shirt from Walmart for $10 wonít last as long as a quality used shirt bought for $5. Since it is new, it MUST be better.

Also, after a year of soccer, I decided that I didnít like it. I sold my cheap shoes back to the sports shop for $5.

flowerseverywhere
2-17-11, 11:23am
I work part time with special ed kids as a job coach and one of my recent assignments was to work in a rescue mission thrift shop. I was amazed at the new stuff that comes through. They have a special warehouse where they sort through stuff and discard ripped, worn and stained clothing. They also sort through the stock they have so much and after a few months things get donated to homeless shelters etc and bailed up for third world countries. It is amazing the high quality stuff that comes through. Once you figure out the sale system you can get great bargains. My clothes cost an average of $2 apiece and I have a closet full of expensive label clothes.

They don't take mattresses due to the bedbug threat, and if you take clothes home and wash them in hot water and throw them in the dryer I think your risk is very low of bedbugs. I do have used couches but I got them for $300 from a friend years ago.

JaneV2.0
2-17-11, 12:36pm
Another of the perks of having a small circle of friends and relatives is that I don't know anyone who disdains buying used. I used to run into library co-workers at Value Village and St. V's on a regular basis. And though I rarely buy used shoes, I've scored three pairs in the last month or two, including one nearly new $80 pair of Doc Martens for four dollars. As long as the footbed is pristine and the sole shows little wear, I'll go for it.

Gina
2-17-11, 12:42pm
Whenever they would complement me on a piece of clothing, as soon as they found out that it was used, they would tell me how gross it was to wear used clothing. When I pointed out that they shared clothes, I was told that was different.
What do these people do when they travel and stay at hotels and use 'used' towels and sheets? Or walk bare-foot on only vaccuumed carpets? And gasp.... blankets and bedspreads that aren't even washed between guests!!! Unwashed blankets and bedspreads in hotels give me greater hee-bee gee-bees than any piece of used but washed clothing ever would.

Bastelmutti
2-17-11, 12:46pm
BUT slap on a tag that says "antique" or "vintage" and suddenly many more people will buy it. Go figure.

I don't have the stigma, but I grew up that way, and my kids are, too. DD1 says, "Who would pay $20 for a shirt?!" LOL

Gina
2-17-11, 12:55pm
Over the years I know which of my friends buy used. It is a badge of honor to say "I found this great xxxx, and it only cost $2." In yard sale season, we'll sometimes even call each other later on Saturdays and ask 'did you find anything good today?', and the conversation goes from there.

Seriously I think it's great that used items often have a stigma attached to them. If they didn't, there would be greater competition in the hunt, and that great xxxx would cost much more or be long gone. I don't mind telling people things I wear are used, but then that's part of my brand of 'don't care' eccentricity. Most people would never guess however, so if it's bothersome for any reason, DADT. (don't ask, don't tell.) ;)

terrica
2-17-11, 1:10pm
Over the years I know which of my friends buy used. It is a badge of honor to say "I found this great xxxx, and it only cost $2."

I'm the same way now. I love bragging about the good deals I get. In fact, right now, the pants, shirt and vest I am wearing were bought used.

Gina
2-17-11, 1:23pm
In fact, right now, the pants, shirt and vest I am wearing were bought used.
Good on ya!

My current hair band (new at a yard sale), 'gold' earrings, bracelet (I re-strung the beads), generic reading glasses, sweatshirt, t-shirt were bought used too. An old pair of pants from Ross, and Costco knock-off Uggs complete the pretty picture. ;)
It's cool here today. http://www.simplelivingforum.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=153&d=1294385737

Mrs-M
2-17-11, 2:10pm
Gina. You make me sooo jealous when you post your cool smilies!!! :) I was thinking about this thread topic and wanted to share an interesting tidbit related to "dead" peoples stuff/things. Isn't it ironic how an important "dead" persons belongings are (most often) collectible and highly sought after, yet an everyday average "dead" persons things are more often than not trash and undesired.

Anyhow, to answer the initial question related to the OTP (original thread post), no ideas here as to "why not". I'm good with everything, aside from undies and the similar likes of. One thing I feel worthy of mentioning might be "stigma". (Stigma attached to walking into such a place to shop)? To further elaborate, let's examine "Edna". Edna is the widow of Harold- former President and CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Edna, for her entire married life was fashioned with only the best. (Baronial mansion in Rosedale, her very own Bentley, shopping at Bulgari, Ermenegildo Zegna, and Hugo Boss, just to name a few, yet since the passing of her husband, Edna now fancies thrift store hopping). Oh, but the shame of being seen entering and exiting such establishments...

baybay
2-17-11, 3:04pm
I think the aversion to buying used is part of the American culture. We shop as a hobby and look up to people who tell us what is fashionable to wear/buy/etc. I am one of the three Americans who will buy used underwear. If you've ever stayed in a hotel and used their towels, you have rubbed something on your naked body that was previously rubbed against someone else's naked body. You more than likely did not catch any sexually transmitted diseases. I understand the bed bug concern but Americans had an aversion towards used things well before bedbugs made their comeback.

Our aversion is cultural and was made popular by manufacturers to convince people to buy new so that they could sell more stuff. Part of that probably does relate to instilling fear about used products breaking down or not being as valuable as new products. I think the recession has changed the aversion somewhat and I'm thankful for it. :)

If manufacturers start being held liable for the disposal/recycling of what they manufacture (known as producer responsibility), I think we will see a great shift in how companies engage in manufacturing--there will be a greater incentive to produce quality products that can be easily upgraded and repaired instead of being landfilled and replaced with a new product. This just happened to me--bought an HP printer a few years ago (not more than 2) and it broke--was told by HP that it would cost less to buy a new replacement printer than to repair our existing one. This is clearly a flaw in how they manufacture their products and that is only happening because they are not responsible for the disposal costs of the broken printer--somehow, our city and county governments (essentially, us, the taxpayers, have become responsible for HP's poor planning). You can learn more about this related issue at http://www.zerowaste.org/

29% of US green house gas emissions are from our STUFF(extraction or harvest of materials, production, transport of goods, provision of services, and disposal).
Lets all help protect the planet and buy used!
www.trash2treasurefl.org

ApatheticNoMore
2-17-11, 4:06pm
Specific things are hard to find used, and that is the sort of thing I'll give in and buy new, especially if it's needed 'now'.

Yea but if you really don't shop for pleasure, or to browse, when you actually decide to buy something it is usually pretty specific.

DuraMater
2-17-11, 6:09pm
I can rattle off a huge list of why to buy used. Anyone have ideas about why not?

I have very bad allergies and asthma. Thus, I cannot buy used things like clothes or upholstered furniture -- scents, animal dander, peanuts can literally be the kiss of death for me.

That said, if something has a hard surface (wood furniture, etc.) and I have it well cleaned before bringing it in the house, I'm good! I can do used books as long as they don't carry a heavy scent of any sort including smoke.

As for hotels and such, I have a silk "sleeping bag" that I use for these same reasons -- no direct contact with bed linens and such b/c of allergies.

In short, health trumps costs/environmentalism/etc. and I have to use that as my primary guide regardless of my personal values (which would be to buy/acquire more used things when I need something). In short, HEALTH is a reason someone might not purchase used things.

Lainey
2-17-11, 8:05pm
This reminds me of a quote from Amy D. who was puzzling over why so many Americans will have sex with a stranger but won't even consider buying a second-hand piece of clothing? Made me laugh pretty hard.

Gina
2-17-11, 8:08pm
Yea but if you really don't shop for pleasure, or to browse, when you actually decide to buy something it is usually pretty specific.
Ah, but I do shop for pleasure. ;) I just love shopping in fact.
I just shop at yard sales and thrift stores so I don't do too much damage. :D

When I shop yard sales, as mentioned, it's not usually for something specific, but I do pick up a lot of things that I eventually do use. Gifts for people, yard tools, all manner of household items, clothes, jewelry, art supplies..

It is a double edged sword however. I tend to have too much stuff, but when I need something, I usually already have it for very cheap.

CatsNK
2-18-11, 8:47am
I love garage saleing and buying used. There's next to nothing that I wouldn't buy used. I've even bought used bathing suits (gasp!).

As for clothing, lately I have found that the quality at the "big" thrift stores, like Salvation Army and Goodwill, has gone down and the prices are up. They're getting as much as $6 or $7 for a shirt or sweater. And I have to paw through rack after rack of crap to find one decent item. So I've taken to shopping at Old Navy and, yes I admit it, Walmart, for clothing. Walmart had organic cotton shirts for $4. And when ON has a sale I snap up what I know will fit and wear well.

Church thrift shops still offer good value - they tend to be very cheap and can have good stuff. But garage sales RULE.

Gardenarian
2-23-11, 6:38pm
A lot of people don't like the smell of stuff that they get at thrift stores. Heck, I don't like it either! But it does wash out.

I like garage sales best. Estate sales are fantastic for furniture and household stuff, but sometimes they make you wait to get in - I just can't see waiting in line for it.