I have a confession to make. I used to look down on secondhand stuff. A huge part of this had to do with my upbringing. My parents considered anything secondhand as second rate or not-so-great quality.
In my house, unless the items were from a close friend or relative, using secondhand items was forbidden if you didn’t know who the original owner was. It was considered to be meant only for less fortunate people. Growing up I thought secondhand was only meant for people who couldn’t afford to buy new. To give something that was used as a gift (not necessarily a regift), was considered an insult to the recipient.
While my mom has finally changed her ways and now buys a lot of her clothes from the thrift store, my dad still hasn’t changed his mind so much about previously owned items. I think he still likes the idea of something new. He has quite a few various articles of clothing that he has never worn or has barely worn to preserve them so that they still look new.
The Way the Internet Has Changed Buying Used
Before sites like eBay, Craig’s List and Kijiji existed to enable us to search, buy and sell new and used, there was only Goodwill, the Salvation Army and garage sales as our sources for finding secondhand things.
Buying secondhand has now become more mainstream and more widely accepted. Almost everyone has used at least one of the sites mentioned in the previous paragraph.
I have purchased a few things from Kijiji such as furniture and a gym bag and have received compliments on all of them. When you ask someone where they bought something new and they tell you the store where they got it from, that is that. You can go to that store and get it for the regular price/sale price or if you have the patience and discipline, you can find the same one on eBay or Kijiji for way less. When someone has asked me about my Kijiji furniture, I enjoy telling the story of how I acquired the pieces. I also tell them about the nice people I met who were selling the pieces.
Each item has a story or better yet, each item has some history to it. While that may not warrant enough reason for some of you to buy items used, perhaps the satisfaction of knowing how much money I saved, versus buying new would.
Secondhand Is More Commonplace Than You May Think
When you really stop and think about it, we’re constantly using previously owned items. My parents may have bought their house brand new, but I didn’t (but obviously, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting your living space to be brand new. You just have to be willing to shell out the cash).My partner and I are the third set of owners for our house. And while it may have not been a brand new house, the house was very clean and well taken care of when we took ownership.
Some of us drive used or as some dealerships like to call them, pre-owned cars. I bought my current car new, but I think next time around, with the help of my car savvy partner, I will look into getting a used one (It also helps that he’s my personal mechanic).
I’ve purchased a few items of clothing before from secondhand stores, including a jean jacket for $12. Even if you are still wary of purchasing used clothing because of certain stains, smells, and rips, remember there are such things as stain removers, washing machines and a needle and thread. When you go try on something in the change room, unless you saw them take it right out of the box and put it on the rack and were the first one to grab it, most likely several people have already tried that item on. So in a sense, it’s not completely “brand new”. It has been used by several different people for a brief period of time already.
When you go out to eat at a restaurant, do you request brand new, never been used cutlery, glasses and plates? No. At least I hope you don’t. You put your good faith in the establishment and assumed it has been washed properly beforehand. How environmentally and financially wasteful would that be if they had to set out a brand new, never been used place setting for every single customer?
Let’s not forget that antiques are secondhand( sometimes very expensive) items as well.
Advertising puts a lot of emphasis on everything being new, never been used before. New electronics, new phones, new cars and new fashions are constantly coming out. Companies have to make money and somebody’s got to be the one to buy the new product and own it, before it can be sold for a lower price.
Just make sure you’re not always one of those individuals.
Do you buy second hand items? Or do you prefer to buy new?