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when do you prefer used?

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legal warning: The information here should not be understood legally as financial advice. If you believe anything on this site is in error, please contact me. I am always open to corrections, new ideas, and new opinions...

Welcome back, it’s been a while.  I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year, meaningful Yom Kippur, a happy Sukkot and a circularly dancing Simchat Torah.  I hope to be back on scheduling with new posts a couple of times a week.

I like new stuff.  A new couch feels nicer, a new shirt fits better and a new CD (do you remember CDs?) sounds more pleasant.  And don’t even get me started on new car smell.  But sometimes I actually prefer to get an item second hand, and not just to save money.  Besides being a bargain, sometimes used items can offer more certainty about quality.

Here are a few items I prefer used:

1 – an apartment – Everywhere I look I see advertisements for beautiful brand new apartments that will be built in the coming years.  And while the pictures are detailed, they cannot show customers about what will be built poorly and what work is to be expected to be needed in the future.  Appraisers cannot tell you how much it will cost to fix poorly built pipes if they have not yet been built.  If you want that new apartment look, consider changing some flooring and repaint the second hand apartment you buy.  You’ll be saving a ton of money and you’ll know what you’re getting.  (To be fair, I have been told by larger families that finding a penthouse to fit all of them is a rarity and the new building are the only way they can get these apartments.)

2 – certain pieces of furniture – While a new couch is always nice, I believe that pieces like a dining room table may be better off used.  When you buy a new table, it all looks beautiful and freshly painted, but you never know what it’s going to look like in three years with a bunch of scratches and dents.  By buying second hand, you can see which tables have stood through the initial two year test of time to see what the quality is really like.

3 – an iPod – Sorry Apple, I love your products, but they are not built to last.  Look no further than the iPod, which tends to break at least once every year or two.  Next time, instead of buying a new iPod, pick a refurbished one for about a third off the price (it is available from apple’s website.)  “Refurbished” means that it was actually fixed and inspected and stands a better chance of lasting longer.  Any if it breaks (which it will), then you can just bring it to the folks at your local iDigital store (two in TA, one in Haifa) and they’ll replace it with a brand new one.  Just be sure to buy the warranty.

(As a side note, there is a rumor that if your iPod was water damaged then a paper inside will turn a different color and technicians will tell you it is not under warranty and refuse to fix it.  While it is true that water damage is not covered by the warranty, no such paper inside exists.  The fact is that most people with water damage to their iPods are too impatient to wait for the iPod to dry before bringing it in and trying to lie about how it “just stopped working.”  If you drop your ipod in the sink, wait a week for the iPod to dry before bringing it in.)

What items do you prefer to buy used?


  1. Risa says:

    Nice to see you back! B’hatzlacha!

  2. Genius says:

    Sorry Apple, I love your products, but they are not built to last.

    Let’s see, at the very minute I’m reading your post, I’m copying music from my six year old PowerBook to my six and a half year old pre-clickwheel iPod. Both still work perfectly, as long as they’re plugged in (lithium ion batteries eventually stop holding a charge, and it has nothing to do with Apple). I’m streaming music around the apartment with a two year old AirPort Express base station. I had to leave my 11 year old iMac in America when I made Aliyah, but that’s ok because I have a 10 year old iMac here that I use for networking, and a 20+ year old Mac Plus that I could use to play games if there were any more room for it on my coffee table. I fully expect the MacBook Pro I bought last winter to be fully functional in another four or five years when its battery too will die. What’s that? My three year old iPhone is ringing – I have to take this call.

    You can hate Apple for whatever reason, and there are plenty of good reasons not to like Apple, but NO company’s products are built to last more than Apple’s.

    • jonnydegani says:

      Criticism accepted. We had had very different experiences with Apple, but we both still buy their stuff. I would be interested to see statistics from a third party on how long the most common Apple products usually last.

      • Genius says:

        About 10 years ago I was working in photography (the whole imaging industry was always very heavily Mac-oriented) and someone there told me that some astounding number of Macs ever built, like 90%, were still in use. I’d love to be able to track that statistic down, if it’s legitimate.

        My experience has been that Apple products are so well built that they end up lasting far longer than they should, and that Apple will “orphan” them by making them ineligible for OS/firmware upgrades: my PowerBook still works fine but it can’t run Snow Leopard, which requires an Intel processor, which Macs have had for five years; my iPhone still works fine but it’s stuck on 3.13 and can’t run iOS 4.x, which is only available for the 2008, 2009 and 2010 models.

      • jonnydegani says:

        I am not here to bash Apple. Right now it’s just the word of my dead powerbook and around 7 iPods against the stuff you mentioned earlier. I actually believe that the older Macs last much more than the younger ones and I wish they would refer to more stable models. I personally prefer to buy Acer computers, not because they are so great, but because the other brands (HP, Dell, Apple) have gone down so much in quality that I prefer to buy the cheapest one and just replace it when it breaks (I hope to get to a post on how much money, statistically, is wasted on warranties).

  3. avi noam says:

    we bought a good used elliptical trainer.
    also a mattress from a trustworthy person can be good.
    a special used for-pesach oven
    old TVs are good used generally
    nightstands and small tables
    baby strollers & clothes

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