10 Things You Should Never Buy Used

I am a thrifty/frugal shopper who loves finding deals at consignment or thrift stores. However, we really should draw a line sometimes.
The Top Ten
1 Underwear

Most of the items on this list have become totally unacceptable since Covid-19, as they can spread diseases from other people.

Why would ANYONE think of selling their used underwear? That's just wrong, and someone could get sick.

Imagine if you bought underpants and they had a poop stain. Nope, not in a million years.

2 Adult Toys

This one should be number 1. Do NOT buy a used sex toy because it can spread STDs and the recent Covid-19. Another reason is that they may be damaged (e.g., scratches), which can irritate your genitals.

3 Bathing Suits

Yeah, that's just gross. My son is the only exception, as his suits are heavily bleached and he wears swim diapers underneath, so there is no direct contact. What to do? Splurge. They aren't that expensive at Target.

4 Mattresses

Okay, this one just seems gross to me. However, even if you can get past the concept, you really should only buy new mattresses. There are several health-related reasons for this, including dust mites, bodily fluids (yes, it's gross, but it's true), and bed bugs. Yes, I said it: bed bugs. What are they? They're not just part of a cute little rhyme you use when putting your children to bed. They are real, live, blood-sucking insects that live in mattresses. They were almost eradicated in the 1950s but have been on the rise worldwide recently. Speculation is that the increase in worldwide travel has spread these creatures, and they are rampant in some places.

Most places have regulations that either prohibit the sale of used mattresses or require tags with markings noting that the mattress is not new. The same thing goes for refurbished mattresses, which are made with recycled mattress parts. That's why that big, annoying tag that says "all new material" is on your mattress. Make sure you have one.

What should you do? If you can almost afford a new mattress, haggle with the salespeople. This is one area where there is wiggle room for the sales staff, so see what you can do. However, it is true that not everyone can afford a brand-new mattress. The best bet here is to contact a second-hand store that is under the oversight of the government, such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army, and purchase from there. They are required to have sanitized and thoroughly cleaned the mattresses, and they don't accept items in terrible condition in the first place.

5 Make Up

This should either be the first or second item on the list. Underwear is also a bad choice to buy used, and bathing suits come in third.

It's not a good idea because people apply makeup directly to their faces.

6 Helmets

Just like with car seats, if these have been in an accident, it's best not to endanger your skull by using them. Some internal, hidden damage could have occurred, so there's no guarantee that your self-inspection would catch any damage to the shell. This applies to helmets of all types - motorcycle, bicycle, skating, etc.

What should you do? The same as with a child seat - buy new or from someone you literally trust with your life.

Let's face it, a helmet may seem fine on the outside, but the inner shell might be damaged, thus affecting shock absorption. Helmets can only withstand one crash. You may not want to buy an old helmet either, as materials can also degrade after five to seven years, even when it's unused. This degradation occurs even faster if the helmet is made of polycarbonate.

7 Catheters
8 Mouthguards

That is just gross. The last thing I want is to put something in my mouth that has been in someone else's mouth.

I would never buy a used mouthguard, no matter how many times it's been washed.

Why would anyone try to sell this in the first place?

9 Deodorant
10 Pillows

You could get lice from using a used pillow.

The Contenders
11 Car Seat / Booster Seat

Unless you know the previous owners well (and by know, I mean very well, like they are your sister or something), never buy a vehicle safety device for your child second-hand. If these seats have been in accidents - even minor fender-benders - they can be rendered unsafe. Without knowledge of the driving history of the previous owners, you don't want to risk using a car seat that won't protect your child in the event of an accident.

12 Hot Tubs

Seriously, people, it's disgusting. Have you ever seen a set of jets properly cleaned out? It takes a lot of chemicals and a lot of work - more than most people are willing to invest. It's easier for them to sell the hot tub than to clean it properly. And who knows who or what has been sitting in that tub.

What should you do? Buy a brand-new hot tub or find something else to spend your money on. Even if you're considering buying from family, you probably don't want to know them on that level.

13 Bras
14 Children's Shoes

Children's feet are developing at a rapid pace and are still very pliable. While wearing adult shoes that have been broken in by another person is uncomfortable, it can be downright detrimental to the development of a child's feet. Serious foot problems could result, potentially requiring corrective surgery later in life for the child. Please take the time to buy good, supportive shoes for your child, especially those that they will be wearing for an extended period of time.

Never put hard-soled shoes on your infant. Infants don't really need shoes until they are ready to walk. When that time comes, they should wear "walking shoes" designed to assist in the correct development of their feet. As long as it is not a safety issue, being barefoot is always best. If they are indoors or if you have a foot-friendly yard, let them run barefoot, or with socks indoors during the winter.

What to do? My advice is this: splurge on the pair or pairs that they will wear regularly. For instance, our son has one pair of tennis shoes that he wears almost daily to school. Since he wears these for a total of over 12 hours a day, it is worth buying him good, supportive, new shoes that can take the shape of his feet, rather than forcing him to adapt to shoes someone else has broken in.

I do use second-hand shoes from my sister-in-law, but only those shoes that were seldom worn by her son and will be seldom worn by ours. These are typically shoes for specific occasions, like church shoes that he'll only wear for a maximum of two hours one day a week. Other than his one good pair, we opt for cheaper versions for shoes that will not be worn much. Really, his long-term health is worth at least a few more dollars.

15 Hard Drives
16 Skates

Just like shoes, skates are a personal item that molds to the foot of the wearer over time. Even if you can get past the thought of what might have been between the toes of the previous owner and have heavily sanitized the skates, they will never properly fit if they have been used for any length of time. Ill-fitting skates can cause significant discomfort and potentially damage your feet.

What should you do? Unless you really know what to look for, buy only from known sources who had the intention to skate but gave up quickly. That's your opportunity.

17 Microwaves
18 Game Consoles

I bought a used Xbox 360, and it had family controls on it. I couldn't play any M-rated or T-rated games without the password. I only had Call of Duty games and Bully: Scholarship Edition. It was unplayable. I returned it for a refund.

I'm going to get a PlayStation 5 for Christmas 2022, but without family controls.

It might have someone's gamertag signed in or might not even work at all.

19 Color by Numbers

Then they would already be complete!

20 Face Mask

Do not buy a used, unclean/unwashed mask because it can spread Covid-19 to the buyer.

21 Certain Car Parts

Okay, I'll admit, I know nothing about this one. But in my research for this post, I found a list of parts that could cause either serious headaches or real safety hazards if purchased used. I'm including it because although I don't rebuild or fix cars, I can see why it would be appealing to buy secondhand parts. Since it could be a huge mistake, I'm including it.

22 Pets

All pets are technically used.

23 Plasma TVs

Given the cost of these TVs, it's understandable why buying used might be appealing. However, older models are prone to issues like images being burned into the screen. If you're buying an older model (which is likely if someone is selling it), you might end up with a TV that was manufactured before all the kinks were worked out, leading to frequent failures.

Without a store to return it to or a warranty to fall back on, you could lose a significant amount of money. What should you do? Be patient. As technology advances, the cost of these TVs will eventually drop. Even last year's models are already available at huge discounts, especially when stores are clearing inventory for the newest versions. Like computers (which I'm not adding to this list but am mentioning briefly), the rapid pace of technological advances makes it hard to justify buying used and having to deal with outdated technology.

24 Jockstrap
25 Video Game Cartridges
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