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Gift giving and buying "used"

June 14th, 2012 at 08:57 am

When I was a kid, there wasn't a lot of money for new things. I kind of resented it because I didn't understand that there just wasn't the extra. But, my folks were smart...they bought second hand to save money and usually "traded up" when given a chance. Besides my dad working for a soda pop plant, they ran a used furniture store. I remember going to auctions, sales, etc.

Fast forward a couple of decades and here I am scouting flea markets, second hand places, and garage sales. I've found some good bargains too. I feel that not only am I saving money, I'm also "recycling" things by giving them a new home.

One friend of mine loves the same things and since we both collect a certain type of dishes, we are always on the look out for the other's pattern. Neither of us minds that is has been used.

Recently I've found some like new things and I'm tempted to purchase them for gifts. I guess I don't get the idea of someone thinking they are too good for used things. I'm not talking about abused or chipped stuff. I'd rather have a really nice dish that had been enjoyed before than a piece of junk purchased new.

So, what's the opinion of the SA folks? Is it OK to buy a like new item to gift?

9 Responses to “Gift giving and buying "used"”

  1. LuckyRobin Says:

    Sure it is. We do it all the time. My neice loves cooking and baking and she understands that we can give her five or six excellent cookbooks at Christmas that are in good shape but slightly used or we can give her one fancy, shiny new one. She'd rather have the six.

    My kids would rather get five or six used video games than one or two new ones. Same with books. When they were little they would rather have the box full of thousands of used legos from a garage sale then one new set you can barely do anything yet. They love to get t-shirts from Goodwill with retro designs on them. After all you wash them first so it's not like you're going to get other people's germs. Neither one of them thinks used is a bad thing.

    My husband often gets used things because what he wants is often no longer being made new. I will get used things, like glass containers, canning jars, serving platters, or whatnot. I wouldn't mind being given them at all.

    I think you have to have the right mindset to both give and receive used things, though. There are people that abhor hand me downs, leftovers, and buying used, but in this economy, I don't know how they can afford to survive. It's selective squeamishness (as Amy Daczyzn calls it) and they really just need to get over it.

    There are even people who won't get books from the library because you don't know who touched them last. Of course these same people will rent movies out of a video store that other people have used and use public restrooms, so that whole thinking falls apart.

  2. CB in the City Says:

    My best friend will not borrow library books because of the squeamishness factor. I don't get that at all. She spends a fortune on new books and they are taking over her house.

    I like to find gently-used items to give as gifts, and I'm perfectly happy to get them, too. But I think some people feel undervalued if they get something used. It's an unfortunate mindset.

  3. ceejay74 Says:

    I think it's fine, but you have to know the personality of the gift receiver if you don't want to offend them. I don't think I know many people who'd be put off by a used gift.

    For our two baby showers, we actively requested that people give us hand-me-downs or things bought used. Since baby stuff is rarely used long enough to wear out or even look used, it seemed like a waste of our friends' money and the earth's resources to get new stuff for ours. People so appreciated it that some are still handing down stuff as the kids grow up, so we rarely have to buy a single scrap of clothing, and the kids are dressed better than we are! Big Grin

  4. MonkeyMama Says:

    Used things for gifts? OF Course!!

    Which kind of comes down to perception. I know most my friends think "gross" and "icky" when they picture "used." Honestly, I haven't bought much used over the years that wasn't in mint condition. My used shopping tends towards the "barely used" variety (which has maybe depreciated 75% in value because it had a prior owner for about 5 minutes) So yeah, we give used gifts all the time. Who would even know? Except it doesn't come in shrink wrap??

    What they don't know won't hurt them. Wink

  5. Swimgirl Says:

    Love the used gifts!

    We once gave a friend a stack of 5 used books presented nicely with a pretty ribbon and tag. In this case, they were obviously used, but they were all on a topic of interest to her, and she loved them.

    I once gave a mixer for a wedding present. I'd found it at a yard sale where a couple was selling off surplus wedding gifts that they couldn't return because they didn't have gift receipt. It was a nice Cuisenart hand mixer. Brand new. $10. And it was on the registry for the wedding we attended. So I guess not exactly used...

    If it is in "like new" condition, how would anyone know?

    Like MM, most of the things we purchase used are in reality, brand new. The exception would be books for my classroom, which I will buy in almost any condition... for the right price!

  6. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    There are some people I would not give a second-hand item. Once I went with someone to a combination tailor and consignment shop. While waiting her turn to talk about the outfit she wanted to have made, she was thumbing through the racks. I mentioned the resale prices being decent and her hands just jumped off the clothing and up to her shoulders. She was shocked. She had not realized these were consignment (used! gasp!) clothes.

  7. wowitsawonderfullife Says:

    I'm always on the lookout for like new gifts. I once went to a garage sale that a teacher was having and I bought out all of her never used teacher Christmas presents. Didn't have to buy a new gift for my kid's teachers for years. The only people I will not buy like new items for are my husband and my mother in law. Just can't do it as I know it would just ick them out. But everyone else is on the list. And what about antiques? What, no germs on them?

  8. Looking Forward Says:

    Of course it's fine. Smile

  9. baselle Says:

    Part of the skill of gift giving is knowing what the recipient will appreciate and use. For me, the perfect used thing always trumps the okay new thing. As for as clothing is concerned, when you wash it, its used. Smile My favorite thing though is to give something with the original tags. Straddles the line. Smile

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