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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

7 things you should never buy used

One-time use products are meant to be used once only
Some used products get much worse with age

Some things are simply not worth buying used because it is either too dangerous, unhygienic, ineffective, illegal, or not worth while. Many items can be purchased used and be used many times over, but other items and products may be purchased new for almost the same price, or have such a long life that it's worth the cost to spend the extra money to buy them new. Being able to distinguish genuine used products from fraudulent, or poorly judged used items may be clear and distinct or in some cases a somewhat unclear notion. Some of the following products are suggestions of things you should never buy used.

1. Dental and hygiene products

Toothbrushes, dental floss, razors, nail clippers, combs, emery boards and similar products are a little too personal to be reselling and buying used. Sure, they can be sterilized, but what if they haven't been, and how do you really know? You could sterilize them, but then how do you know if the blades are sharp, and if the nail filer isn't warn out etc. Most of these products can be obtained fairly inexpensively for new at dollar shops.

2. Bacterial cultures

Another thing you should generally not buy used is petri dishes. If you're in to scientific experiments, buy new petri dishes not used ones because the variety of bacteria that can grow in these is disturbing. You might inhale something best left to an air tight container, or discover a biohazard has spread throughout your lab or worse yet, your home. Some things aren't worth skimping on and petri dishes may be one of those things. Generally, petri dishes are intended to be unused in order for an experiment to be successful, however some might take recycling to the next level.

3. Gasoline

You should probably not buy used gasoline. Perhaps you know someone who's selling his or her gas on the cheap with the only catch being it's used. By used one means, previously held in another vehicle whether that vehicle be a compounded car, a retired vehicle, unclaimed automobile etc. A bottom line with gasoline is if it doesn't come out of a registered gasoline pump, the risk of dirty fuel exists. Bad fuel can damage a vehicle and cost much more than the saved money from the used gasoline. It might be better to play it safe by not buying used gasoline.

4. One-time use items

One time use items are things that should not be purchased used. The list of one time use items is quite long and includes leak protection underwear, birthday sparklers, mouth swabs, colostomy bags, and more. It's fairly self explanatory that one time use items can't be used again, but perhaps not everyone is aware of that. For example, perhaps someone has been made to believe that one time use items are just a marketing ploy to encourage sales, and all that needs to be done for the item to be used again is a little jerry rigging, washing or redesign.

5. Restaurant meals

Food is another of those things you should probably not buy used, and by used one means prepared sold and resold, other possibilities withstanding. Restaurants throw out food that is not used or reuse it among the chefs or staff. Reselling food that was previously served and not eaten is simply not a part of the dining agreement. Other reasons used restaurant meals is not a good idea is the potential for contamination, food poisoning, and lack of freshness.

6. Calenders and planners

Buying a used calender or planner even if there are 8 months left on them is not necessarily a good idea. This is especially the case if those 8 months have been planned for in advance but canceled. Some might think a previous year simply follows the same days and weeks and all that changes is the year. This is not the case. For example, April 22, will not necessarily be on a Thursday in both 2010 and 2011. Another reason not to buy things like used calenders or planners is because you might confuse the previous owners plans with your own or telephone someone's phone number thinking it is someone else.

7. Light bulbs

Light bulbs have a life-span that is hard to measure unless they come brand new. Some light bulbs such as some industrial metal halide bulbs and and high wattage CFL bulbs can be more expensive than others and have longer life spans but when bought used, the bulb could already be near the end of that 5-10 thousand hour life-span. Cheaper alternative ways to buy bulbs new are in bulk, at closeout stores or on clearance and energy efficient bulbs are designed to save money anyway.

Image license: Paul Downey, CC BY 2.0