10 Things You Shouldn’t Buy New

by on August 23, 2006 at 6:25 am in Education | Permalink

A MSN.com article lists the following:

1. Books

2. DVDs and CDs

3. Little kids’ toys

4. Jewelry (TC: Uh-Oh)

5. Sports equipment

6. Cars

7. Software and console games

8. Office furniture

9. Timeshares

10. Handtools

I agree except for numbers four and six, but on four I wish I could agree.  The common feature of the argument seems to be that we can do without "the gloss of the new" by a mere act of will.

But don’t buy helmets, laptops, wet suits, or vacuum cleaners used, they often have hidden damage.  They forgot to list underwear.

Addendum: As long as we are on the topic of "ten," here is Guy Kawasaki’s "Ten Things They Should Teach You in School," recommended.

Slocum August 23, 2006 at 8:02 am

I disagree with about half the items on the list not for reasons of hidden damage, but because the difficulty of finding the used item you want greatly exceeds that of new items, and that difference more than outweights the cost. With CDs, DVDs, video games, and books, it is now as easy to find a used copy as a new one, and we do buy a lot used items. But hand tools? Children’s toys? Unless you like to cruise garage sales for entertainment, you’re spending a lot of time to save only a little money.

Tim Worstall August 23, 2006 at 8:52 am

Great album years ago by Ian Drury and the Blocheads “New Boots and Panties”. Referred to his habit of clothing himself from thrift stores except for those items.

4? Buy second hand, of course (if you can’t inherit it). Surely the loved one would prefer an antique?

neil August 23, 2006 at 9:18 am

Is there any practical difference between buying used CDs and pirating music off the Internet?

tex ritter August 23, 2006 at 10:07 am

My wife wears my grandmother’s wedding and engagement rings. We had them appraised for insurance, and I was quite surprised to find out that the value of the jewelry is equal to the value of the raw materials. The value we received was based solely on the weight of the platinum, and the value of the diamond.

On questioning, the appraiser said that was true for all but a very few artistic pieces designed by well known artisans.

Richard Bellamy August 23, 2006 at 10:20 am

I agree with other posters that used Books and DVDs are not as much of a cost savings as you might imagine.

Picking at random a DVD from my personal Amazon Wish List: The First 2 seasons of Northern Exposure are available together “New” on Amazon for $29.97. It is also available “Used & New” for $28.60, plus shipping and handling.

Not much advantage there in not buying New.

Brock August 23, 2006 at 10:35 am

I would never buy a used powertool, except possibly from someone I truested to treat his right. People do stupid crap, and ruin things all the time.

Most of these items aren’t worth the search costs on the dollar.

bob montgomery August 23, 2006 at 12:09 pm

In my experience, buying used toys is cheaper but takes more time – most used kids toys are completely trashed (kids being kids) and, like someone mentioned above, you have to cruise a lot of garage sales to find what you’re looking for. We’ve been looking for a “riding toy” for our two-year old for 6 months at garage sales with no luck.

ben recht August 23, 2006 at 12:41 pm

Add me to the list of people who would like to hear Tyler’s arguments against buying used cars. I happen to be shopping for a car right now and dissuading me from buying used would greatly simplify my life.

Tony Plate August 23, 2006 at 3:21 pm

In 2002 I bought a new car rather than used for the reason that new cars had a lot of safety features that older ones didn’t. With a young family this was very important to me. I don’t know if there have been as many safety advances in the 2000′s as there were in 1990′s, so maybe that reason doesn’t apply any more.

Tom Kelly August 23, 2006 at 6:12 pm

I agree with earlier commenters that many should never buy anything used unless they prefer used over new.

If you are a competent independent knowledge worker, you can work 24/7/365 on what you’re really good at. Any time you spend shopping for used anything probably incurs opportunity cost in excess of the savings. And since used anythng generally has to be replaced/maintained sooner than new anything, there is extra cost there as well.

Get really good at what you do and buy the very best new everything. Leave bargain shopping to those who possess that particular comparative advantage.

goober August 23, 2006 at 9:20 pm

re the difficulty of finding used kids toys –

Don’t you people have consignment stores? They’re a godsend. CHEAP stuff, including clothes. They don’t take stuff that is too worn out or missing pieces. Until kids are well into elementary school, they don’t care that their stuff didn’t come from Toys R a Scam.

Matthew Cromer August 23, 2006 at 10:14 pm

If you are a competent independent knowledge worker, you can work 24/7/365 on what you’re really good at.

And you can eat cream-of-wheat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But that doesn’t mean you will enjoy it.

John S. August 24, 2006 at 7:26 am

Didn’t George Akerlof win a Nobel Prize for explaining why it’s difficult to buy a decent used car? Yet many people remain convinced that only fools buy new cars.

triticale August 24, 2006 at 6:58 pm

The Akerlof explanation of why it is difficult to buy a good used car discounts dealer reputation. The man we have collectively bought several from over the last few years would not be making the living he does were he not known in the community to have been honest and fair for thirty years. Frankly, I trust him more than I do GM or Ford.

John S. August 25, 2006 at 1:45 pm

These smart people who always buy used cars somehow manage to avoid the lemons. What’s their secret? I suspect it is similar to the way gamblers in Las Vegas avoid losing money. I mean think about it, have you ever met anyone who lost money in Vegas? Everyone I talk to says they came out “a little bit ahead”. It’s really a wonder how those casinos can stay in business.

Dr. Solon August 28, 2006 at 3:00 pm

fuck you all…..
white power

Sam Clarke August 16, 2007 at 2:20 am

We don’t buy things for just utility, but for many other values. I prefer not to buy a used car because I am unskilled in mechanics, and at my age (78) do not wish to spend my last years fussing around investigating a used car, or dealing with unknown mechanical problems. Since I can afford a new car, and I can’t take my money with me, why should I bother.

JennyT October 13, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Books in the future will be only in digital format:)) so the concept of new will change quite a bit. But anyways, from my own experience, I can tell you that I once bought a cufflink case that wasn’t new and I still have it today. The funny part is that today, it is probably more expensive than the day I bought it because it is considered a collection piece:))

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