1.) People don't tell the truth
Same scenario with a light-up Christmas snowman I spotted at one sale. Tom loves decorating for Christmas. As I was dragging it to the checkout lady I paused to ask if it worked. Nope. 100% broken. In fact, not a single light on the whole snowman worked. The entire guy needed to be re-strung.
Quote from the seller: "It'll only take you several hours to re-string and I only want 5 bucks for it." I think she only outed with the truth because I had a newborn baby in a sling. Not to mention that I kept asking her if it worked and she was totally weird and evasive about it. And when you factor in the cost of all those new lights you'd have to buy to re-string him? Nope.
2.) I have generous friends & family that help me not need to "buy" secondhand
And it has saved me a ton of money. Why buy new when you can get almost as good used for free? More money for organic produce! Right? I'm also thrilled that my children aren't of the age yet where they realize where stuff comes from. They are just happy to have clothes. Besides, the clothes are "new" to them!
3.) I'm usually the one who gets ripped off
When I got home I tried the fleece on and realized my error. Youth size. Way too big for my 7-year-old and way too small for me. Eight bucks wasted unless I want to hold onto it for another 5 years when it will finally fit my eldest daughter. Frustrating!
At a different sale I spotted the below pair of blue Uggs. They were in my size but fairly worn and stained. Being aware of the numerous knockoff fake Uggs websites that exist, I asked if they were real Uggs. Yes....real and she wanted $10 for them. A little high for Uggs that were ratty, but I ended up buying them.
Then I got them home and compared them to my real Uggs and it was only then that I realized they were fake. Good fakes...but fakes nonetheless. What a ripoff. Fake Uggs are made up of synthetic material and won't keep you warm as the real sheepskin does.
4.) Most people are asking way too much money for their old junk that they should have just donated or thrown out
I picked up a white woman's Columbia coat at a different sale. Since I was wearing the baby I couldn't try it on for size but I'm always looking for used jackets to work outside in. But $10? It was white and heavily stained. She probably spilled coffee on the front of it at least a half a dozen times. Even I wouldn't be seen in public in this coat and my standards aren't too high.
The sleeves, especially the cuffs were filthy. Like as in black filthy. Sure, I could use a tub of OxyClean to attempt to remove those stains and purchase several other stain removers as well, but once you add up that cost, and my time in trying to clean it.....just to work outside in? Nope. Not doing it.
Oh. And those ladies pumps from the 80's? No one is paying $5 for them. Same for those Billy Blanks VHS tapes. The DVD's I'll take if they're cheap but only if he's not wearing the blue spandex outfit, that I can't do.
5.) The "ick' factor is real
So I spotted some larger sports bra's at a garage sale. They were a little dingy. She was asking 2 bucks each for them but I'm in dire need of sports bras. So I offered $1 each and she accepted. In retrospect, what was I thinking? I'm not that poor that I need to buy used underwear. I'm just not. Even after a few washings they still don't look clean. Besides, I personally find this style a little uncomfortable.
And to add insult to injury, I spotted these bras in Target's weekly add for only $10 brand new. So I spent $3 on bras that I'll never wear when I should have just brought new in the first place.
6.) Don't you hate it when pieces are missing or the item is broken and stained?
So I buy used. I was thrilled to have scored some KNEX for my girls. On a rainy day, what a great activity. The bin said it was brand new and with a quick glance this appeared to be the case. Turns out, only the bags on top remained unopened. The rest were torn into. I have no idea whether or not all the pieces are there. But it now seems silly to spend a Saturday afternoon putting together a kit that we can't put together because we don't have all the pieces.
Same thing if you try buying puzzles or games used. Countless times, I've been told all the pieces are there....only to discover they are not. Bummer.
And don't get me started on how many times I've paid many dollars for used children's clothing only to get them home to see all the stains. Yes, my fault completely but there's no return policy on garage sale purchases. I never pass on stained clothes as a hand-me-down. Instead, I let my child use it for play until they outgrow it and then it becomes a rag.
7.) It takes about 50 garage sales to find the one "diamond in the rough"
And the time in locating garage sales...hours and hours of it. Plus gas money. Parking is always a pain not to mention dragging around 2 tired, cranky and hungry kids plus a newborn baby. No thanks. The frustration of going to one bad garage sale after another makes me cranky.
8.) Less is truly more
And because there's no dressing room at a yard sale, I totally buy myself clothing that I "think" will look good only to try it on at home to find that not to be so. In fact, it's usually too big or too small or makes me look downright frumpy. So off it goes to the donation pile, but what a waste!
9. The good stuff gets picked over immediately
Case in point: My neighbor has a garage sale each year. I always go to the preview sale that applies only to me the Thursday before. Anything good? Bought it. I'll always ask how her garage sale went the Monday after the sale and she always says "kind of bleh" as I was her best customer.
Why is this? Because I already purchased all the good stuff before anyone else had a shot. Those Bogs kids boots? Bought both pairs. The brand new in the box Cuisinart toaster oven. In my kitchen. Extra Carter's snowsuit in new condition. Hanging in my daughters closet.
And this is especially true of kids clothes. If they are priced right with no rips or stains, they are gone gone gone within an hour of opening. So if you're late to the party, why bother? I don't want to pick over stained clothing. Do you?
10.) I almost always overestimate what an item would have cost new
A week later I saw them brand new at a IKEA store in Canada for just a fraction more than what I paid for used. Eeeeeek. Lesson learned. An uneducated buyer almost always overpays. Had I just bought them new at IKEA I could have chosen a color and style that suited me better. Oh yeah. And one of the pillows had a huge rip in it (the owner swore she never used them) so that had to be sown up.
Yep. And the bra story above is just another great example of how I overestimate what stuff really costs new.