10 Things To Never Buy Used

There’s a few things to avoid purchasing used, because they’re expensive if they, likely to, and/or dangerous if they break, according to MSN Money.

• Laptops
• Car seats
• Plasma TVs
• DVD Players
• Vacuum cleaners
• Camcorders
• Shoes
• Mattresses
• Wet suits
• Helmets

We disagree with mattresses being on this list. Liz Pulliam Weston says, “Think of all the stuff you do on your mattress. Now think of sleeping in someone else’s stuff. Ewwwww.” This is bullshit. We’ve sold used mattresses and slept on ’em just fine. We’re still cootie free.

Though, we would caution against buying used mattresses in the New York Metro area, what with the ongoing bedbug epidemic and all. — BEN POPKEN

10 things you should never buy used [MSNMoney]


Edit Your Comment

  1. bambino says:

    I agree with the mattress point. To me, it’s gross. I’m surprised underwear isn’t on that list. It happens.

  2. surfacenoise says:

    I’m sure mattresses made the list due to the recent problems with bedbugs in the NYC metro area.

  3. BMR says:

    the technology items are only on this list because they are made poorly to begin with. following her logic…maybe you should not buy ANYTHING because it might break! she sounds like a shill for the extended warranty industry.

    How about we demand better NEW products?

    Facts are that buying anything used is a risk.

    I personally never buy used food or used toothpicks.

  4. acambras says:

    Never buy a used condom.

  5. rachmanut says:

    My mother always told me not to buy mattresses, like it’s just something that isn’t done. I never really understood why, though…except for the bedbugs I suppose.

    What’s wrong with wetsuits?

  6. Negative says:

    Used toilet paper just doesn’t hold up like the new stuff.

  7. DeeJayQueue says:

    Generally speaking, you don’t want to buy something used that’s come in tight contact with someone’s body and can’t be washed. Mattresses can’t be fully cleaned, and you just can’t ever get the smell of someone else off of them. Plus, they wear out which is why people replace them, so a used one would have next to no life left in it at all. Wetsuits (AFAIK) can’t be sanitized either, because the neoprene rubber will degrade and disintegrate.

    It’s the same reason that music stores won’t take microphones or brass/wind instruments back, once you’ve used them, your DNA is in them pretty much forever.

  8. phrygian says:

    I disagree with her stand on used shoes.

    I own several pairs of used shoes. I’ve never had any problems related to them. Sometimes the wear pattern’s slightly different than if the shoe had only ever been worn by me, but even new shoes require some breaking-in time. In the end my *free* pair of Docs and my $5 TUKs are two of my favorite (and most durable) pairs of shoes in my closet.

  9. MeOhMy says:

    If you read the actual article, it explains some of them. Like wet suits (aside from the gross factor – few people keep their wet suits all that clean…at least among the surfers I know) start to become less effective over time in terms of buoyancy and warmth (and the material starts to dry out and wear through anyway) and that mattresses are really only supposed to be good for 10 years, so how much life can you really expect from that mattress on craigslist?

  10. MBM says:

    Bedbugs are also a problem in the college-student-infested neighborhoods in and around Boston … and how can you really be sure where (geographically) that used mattress has been?

  11. Daytonna says:

    Matresses, wetsuits, I would not buy used, I know what people do in their wetsuits. And I know what people do on matresses, other than sleep. Short of those two, the only reason not buy any of those other items second hand, is to support the manufacturing industry makeing them. (Aside from obvious impact damage to a helmet, and broken partsobvious excessive wear on a child seat.)

  12. kimdog says:

    I have four pre-owned items on the list, thus far with no problems. I bought a 6 month old clamshell iBook on E-bay back in 2001 that I used for 3 years with no issue. I bought my mattress on Craigslist in NYC (horrors), but only after close inspection beforehand for bed bugs, and proof that the seller had only owned for 6 months. I have Doc Marten Mary Janes that I purchased at a Frock Swap, and a Kenmore Vacuum Cleaner that neighbor was throwing out because the cord was stuck inside (been using that for 4 years now after making a 10 minute repair).

    I think you just have to use common sense; with the exception of the laptop, I paid considerably less than I would have spent to buy it new… so if those items did break, it was no real loss.

  13. hassanchop says:

    I disagree with shoes. I have bought many shoes from Ebay and I only had a problem with one of them. (The shoe was a more worn than I thought not that big.) But I can get some shoes that I want at more than 50% off.

  14. Diokhan says:

    Anytime you sleep in a hotel/motel, you’re sleeping on a used mattress. Ick!

  15. ironically, i’ve sold both a laptop and a carseat on ebay. hopefully i haven’t killed anyone.

  16. Whitney says:

    Going to have to totally disagree that you shouldn’t buy shoes used. All of my shoes (from cowboy boots to Air Force Ones) came from thrift stores or flea markets and all cost less than $20.

    Also, used mattresses have been a necessity for me several times in my life. A good mattress is $600+ whereas you can buy a servicable used one for less than $100.

  17. picantel says:

    mattresses, wigs, underwear… NO NO NO

    shoes… depends on condition

    dvd players are so cheap nowadays, I wouldn’t mind buying used knowing it’s cheap to replace. Same with microwaves, toasters, and other small kitchen appliances.

  18. B says:

    What if you buy a new wet suit and wear it when you’re sleeping on the used mattress?

  19. alicetheowl says:

    I recently replaced my futon mattress. I did attempt to clean and bleach it, but that just made the mildew on the inside of it come to the surface. I realized I couldn’t, in good conscience, donate something with mildew in it, so into the Dumpster it went.

    That seems a compelling enough reason, to me, to not buy a used mattress. Who knows what’s growing in it?

  20. brokenboy says:

    “Aside from obvious impact damage to a helmet”

    The problem is that impact damage to a helmet is often not obvious. The foam inside is what really cushions your head, and it only works once.

    You’re not supposed to use a motorcycle helmet after even a short fall onto a hard surface, and you never know what a previous owner did to it. The helmet one is true, and not for the benefit of the manufacturer.

  21. chickymama says:

    I have to disagree on the car seats. Both infant car seats that I have had for my two kids were hand me downs in excellent shape. I just washed the covering in hot water to zap any bacteria.

    Once a woman becomes pregnant, mothers of 6-9 mths old babies and toddlers will gravitate towards her to get rid of their stuff. It’s common practice.

  22. RogueSophist says:

    >Aside from obvious impact damage to a helmet

    Non-obvious impact damage can render a helmet useless. Much of the collision protection comes from compression of foam in the helmet lining that, once compressed, does not revert to its original shape. For this reason, helmets should always be disposed of immediately following an accident, even a low-speed accident where the helmet was just “bumped” and received no apparent damage. Simply dropping certain motorcycle helmets is enough to compromise their protective capabilties.

    One should always assume that a used helmet has been thusly abused, even it appears pristine to the naked eye. One should never, ever skimp when it comes to protecting one’s head.

  23. RogueSophist says:

    Sorry, brokenboy — you addressed this while I was typing. Still, something that’s worth a double reminder.

  24. acambras says:

    Yeah, it’s one thing if the car seat is from 1979 (did they even have car seats in 1979?) but if it was manufactured in the past couple of years, it seems like it would be ok. Same with cribs.

  25. Lebo (in exile) says:

    A used child seat is a bad idea because you do not know what the seat has been through. Even a fender-bender leaves a car seat useless (see helmet comment above). Plus how can you be sure the seat has not been recalled for a defect? Or replaced with a safer model?

    I understand how expensive they are, we have two seats and I’m one tight SOB, but, come on, it’s your kid. If you’re going to pay full price for anything, do it for your child’s safety.

  26. mathew says:

    DVD players? Likely to break? Not really, the lasers tend to die within 30 days or not within a decade. Dangerous when they break? No. Expensive when they break? No, you just buy another one from Target for $40. When was this list compiled, 1998?

    Anyway, I’m off to scour eBay for used dildos, since they weren’t on the list.

  27. MikeWas says:

    I never buy the following things used:

    Nose hair trimmers.
    Chewing gum.
    Band aids.
    Medicinal balms or salves.
    Computer punch cards.

  28. corporatedrone says:

    Am I really the only one that gets the ickies thinking about putting my feet in a stranger’s sweaty/smelly/fungusy shoes? Maybe I’m just weird, but mattresses and shoes are a no for me solely on the yuck factor. Also everything on Mike’s list above. Although suppositories are debatable.

  29. jeblis says:

    Not that I’ve ever done it myself, but 90% of all scuba divers pee in their wet suits, the other 10% lie.

  30. Daytonna says:

    In defense of my statement, ( I do agree with you both Brokenboy, and Rogue,) if a helmet, has been dropped from even a few feet, there will be obvious dameage to the shell, deep scratches, heavy scuff marks. The foam can be inspected by removing the padded inserts on the inside of the shell. At no time would I purchase a used helmet with defects, but.. if a few foot drop could seriously damage a cycle helmet, then its not going to do me much good at 65-75 mph, or even at 30 mph in a wreck in the first place.

  31. Papa K says:

    Don’t buy used laptops? They’re damned expensive, and now they’re telling people not to buy them used. LONG LIVE THE DESKTOP!

  32. spanky says:

    Shoes and mattresses are two of the major things I’d never scrimp on, just because I am picky.

    Used electronics are worth at least looking into, though. If they’re cheap enough and if they work or have known, fixable problems, I absolutely would buy any of those things used if I were in the market.

    Oh, and anyone in the market for some quality ABC gum, drop me a line.

  33. Jesse in Japan says:

    Actually, Mike, some people do buy used tampons… just not for the reason you’re thinking…

  34. cgmaetc says:

    NEVER buy a used mattress. For years, I watched the mattress refurbishing store that sat across the alley from my dad’s garment factory haul in truckloads of rotted, decrepit, bug-infested mattresses, then haul out these pristine clean beds. Much of their inventory consisted of discarded mattresses from curbs. They hardly ever replaced the wood frames, and they only reinforced weak areas if it was deemed absolutely necessary (which it hardly ever was). They’d take out the old rusty springs, treat the wood frame, then put the old rusty springs back in. You’d be surprised how many expensive mattress stores get their inventory from low-rent refurbish factories such as these.

  35. “Plus, they wear out which is why people replace them, so a used one would have next to no life left in it at all.”

    Or maybe the last owner just got married/moved in and is upgrading to a bigger size. It’s worth asking about the mattress’s history. And you can always do what we did in the dorms in college on the billion-year-old mattresses that had doubtless seen vile abuse — but one of those foam egg carton thingies on top of it.

    Re: Shoes — I’m assuming she means, like, hiking boots or running shoes. 3″ strappy heels are not built for comfort to begin with, so you’re not really going to be suffering for comfort because someone else wore them!

  36. a says:

    I thought I saw on a Mythbusters (or a British knockoff of Mythbusters) that the average person sweats up to 2 cups of sweat into their mattress a year.

    PS — I got a new mattress and box spring for $200. Huzzah for fire sales.

  37. FLConsumer says:

    I have absolutely NO problem buying used laptops. Much like cars, they lose value as soon as they’re sold. I’m aware of how fragile and abused laptops are, but as long as you keep that in mind (and are capable of repairing them), they’re a great steal.

    If it was a GOOD vacuum cleaner, I’d consider buying it used, but I mean a REALLY GOOD cleaner, not just the crap Consumer Reports think is good. This is especially true if you’re buying it from a reputable local vacuum store where they rebuild them.

  38. missdona says:

    My parents totally got a $8 Oreck at a thrift store.

    It’s an Oreck, it works, and it was $8.

    So there.

  39. Kornkob says:

    Never, ever buy a used monkey.

  40. bigtech says:

    I’ve bought several camcorders used (I like to do multi-camera shoots) and saved a ton of money. MiniDV rules!

  41. Uurp says:

    Common wisdom has it that after 10 years, a mattress doubles from its original weight due to dead mite carcasses and sloughed skin.

  42. Musician78 says:

    I try not to ever buy anything used. I did recently buy a used firearm, and have bought a used guitar here and there. But I think that is it.