There are a lot of advantages to buying things secondhand. It’s light on your wallet. It’s eco-friendly. You can stumble upon some truly cool and weird treasures in thrift shops. And there’s a deep sense of satisfaction when you give new life to items that would have otherwise ended up in the junkyard. However, this doesn’t apply to all used objects. Some things are best completely avoided if you ever spot them at a secondhand store!
One redditor started up a very interesting thread on r/AskReddit, asking folks to share their opinions about what they’d never, ever buy secondhand. Their answers were illuminating (with the exception of a few dumb jokes), and you’ll find them as you scroll down, dear Pandas. We’d love to hear what used items you’d be on the fence about getting. Be sure to share your thoughts with all the other readers in the comments!
The redditor’s thread went viral almost immediately. At the time of writing, the OP’s post had over 26k upvotes (and counting!). It just goes to show how many people are fans of secondhand shopping. And that definitely bodes well for the environment.
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#3A Helmet. They can only take one good hit.
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Making new clothes, for instance, uses a ton of water and energy. That’s on top of the fact that the clothes then have to be shipped to stores the world over. When you buy secondhand, you’re essentially giving the clothes an extended lifespan and helping reduce emissions from transport. Not to mention that you’re supporting local businesses.
So long as an item of clothing is neat and clean, it’s generally fine to wear it and love it and show it off to all of your friends. But not every item is as forgiving when it comes to use.
#4My local goodwill sold bathing suits, used bathing suits. Used lingerie too (just the tops), once my big sister was going to buy both but assumed they were new but given to goodwill because the person who bought it ended up not liking it or something. She even asked the lady at the desk about it. When we got to the car she found out both were stained especially the lingerie. You can assume with what.
I could never buy either of those used, especially after that.
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#6Breast pumps. Unless it’s a closed system. When mine were small, most were not closed systems, which allows aerosolized breast milk particles to get places you can’t clean. FDA does not recommend it.
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For instance, Market Watch warns people not to buy things like baby cribs, car seats, or helmets if they can’t fully verify how they’ve been used, and if they’re not defective. In short, you can never truly be certain whether or not they’re safe to use. It’s generally best to err on the side of caution and always spring for a brand new version in these cases.
The same goes for mattresses. You have no idea what’s hiding in the middle. Bed bugs. Rot. Decades of sweat. Yuck! Just say ‘no.’
#7Bed sheets. No thanks. Hard pass.
We don't even bother trying to give them away to other people. Best we can do is donate to animal shelters so the furry ones have something soft to snuggle around in.
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#8Sex toys. The fact that there is even a market for used ones is highly disgusting and disturbing.
a vibrator. I worked at goodwill a handful of years ago, and someone donated a "lightly used" body wand. one of our managers decided she wanted it... she hid it where she thought no one would see it. at the end of the day, me and my coworker watched her take it from her hiding spot and stuff it in her purse before we locked up and walked out together. I couldn't imagine using a pre-owned toy.. I'm assuming she cleaned it before using it at least, but I genuinely wouldn't put it past her to skip that step.
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#9Medication. It will probably taste a bit nastier.
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You should also exercise caution when buying secondhand smartphones. They might have been stolen and resold. They might have unwanted software and malware inside of them.
As for antiques, we might love them, but one thing that you should consider is if an object has been crafted with toxic materials. For instance, a piece of furniture that you spotted at your local thrift store might look fantastic in your living room, but if it’s coated in lead paint, you want to pass on this. Lead-based paints were banned for residential use in the United States only in 1978. So keep this in mind.
Similarly, be wary of any used toys that you think your child might like. Some toys get recalled because they are unsafe. Don’t automatically assume that what you’ve got your eye on is 100% safe. Be critical. Be skeptical. Be objective.
#10Skydiving equipment / climbing equipment / anything safety related.
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#11Mens pj pants. My husband started to look at some and I said, “nope. no way!” Some men wear pj pants all night and all day with no underwear for days at a time. Like the same pair for multiple days of sitting around the house not showering. Also not to mention teenage boys. I can’t get myself to let my husband buy used ones. It grosses me out.
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#12A couch. I used to work at a pest control company, and the #1 thing that brought them in was used furniture, but usually a couch.
Those f***s are terrifying- they hide in tiny cracks and crevasses during the day and then come out to feed on you at night. You don't notice until it's too late. You'll start waking up with itchy bites, see little red sprinkles in the seams of your mattress, and eventually see them. One single pregnant female on a throw pillow is all it takes. The male stabs the female in the abdomen (literally) one time and she's pregnant for life and off to make your life miserable. Then you have to pay $2500+ for a company to treat them. And if they miss one pregnant female...
I know people buy them second hand often, but I find it’s easy to conceal prior spills on certain couches. Most couches are disgusting after a few years of use.
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Anyone who’s looking for cool and unique items ought to visit their local flea markets, garage sales, goodwill shops, and antique stores on a regular basis. You never know when something new (well, old, but you get it) might show up. If you get along with any of the shop owners, they can also inform you about new inventory if you’re looking for something particular, too.
If the current economic climate grows worse, it’s very possible that more and more people will buy and sell secondhand items to make ends meet. So if there is a global recession in the coming years, you can probably bet your bottom dollar that the popularity of secondhand clothing and thrift shops will explode, massively.
I couldn't handle not knowing if ONE piece is missing until the end
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When I was pregnant, my mother in law gave me a plastic baggie of used pacifiers. She had bought them at a garage sale and told me they'd be fine to use if I just boiled them first. No. Hard pass. They went straight in the trash when I got home.
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#16Dentures and hearing aids. I have seen used hearing aids for sale
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#17A over 20 year “garage kept” low mileage car. Will always have every possible gasket and mount destroyed from decay
#18I do a bit of outdoor climbing and anytime I see a rope or harness for sale it makes me cringe. Like you need to trust your life to this equipment so spend the extra £30 on it.
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Hard pass. I'll buy it new.
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#20Makeup, never know what germs or smth they have
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#21I never understood the used tire market. I know they’re expensive, but for something that literally separates you from a 70mph fiery death, I’d rather make sure I’m getting ones that are new.
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#22Baby carrier or child seat. Only from friends were i can be sure that they are accident free and clean.
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#23Any ominous glowing pendant or jewellery, I'm not trying to get cursed today
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#24A spinning HDD. Without forensically inspecting it (which I have neither the time or money for) there's no feasible way to know what was on it before
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No second hand second hands for me
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#26Any sort of instrument of the Woodwind kind (oddly specifically enough)
I watched a woman in Goodwill “test” one out before putting it back on the shelf.
#27Air Conditioners. I bought one from a thrift store once. I gave it what I thought was a thorough cleaning on the inside. Then, for the next week, I suffered awful flu-like symptoms. Runny nose, headaches, the works. Turns out it was mold poisoning from the AC. Took that unit out and was fine by the next morning. Never going to risk that again.
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#28It bothers me the amount of half used product i see in thrift stores. Half empty bottles of shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant....
Who is donating a bottle of lotion that's 2/3s of the way empty? Why is the thrift store not throwing it out? And even worse than those two points, why are they charging almost new bottle price for it?
I could understand if someone down on their luck purchased it for like .25-.50 cents but $4.99? For a USED bottle of product??
#29Socks. A lot of people have nasty nails
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I've disassembled quite a few for cleaning, and they are disgusting. If I have the chance, I'd rather use my own or buy a new one. Detest the thought of using someone else's.
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#31I play paintball. General rule of thumb is don’t buy anything used that protects your eyes or touches skin. Pre owned everything else.
#32Apple headphones. Simply because the knockoffs are starting to look and function way too similar to the real stuff. I knew it was bad when I tried to return a pair of airpods to Walmart and they spent 20 minutes matching the serial numbers on each earbud and the charging case.
#33E-bike batteries, you never know what they've been through and when they explode they cause serious damage
#34A Microphone. I am a host at a Radio Show, and I Cringe every time I think about how many people have spit in that thing.
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#36Blankets! I almost buy everything (clothing related) second hand bc I just can’t stop feeling guilty when buying new jeans for example. So much water wasted just for jeans omg
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#37Shoes. I'm a huge germaphobe and always smell things before I buy them in the thrift store. Not a deep sniff, just a gentle one. So far every pair of shoes I come across at thrift stores smell foul. Could just be me being picky. But idc
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#38Batteries. No one know how many charge cycles they have done
#39Any eletronic device, cellphone, computer, videogame, TV
#40Cast iron pans. Heard too many horror stories about people melting lead in them to make homemade bullets. You never know and cast iron is fairly cheap, and lasts forever. Splurge.
You would likely be shocked at how many phones have at some point been in someone's body cavity.
#42Luggage. You don’t know what the former owner had in it, could set off dogs at the airport
#43Any sort of fight equipment ( boxing / MMA gloves, focus pads, punchbags)
They can be utterly rank.
#45Washing machine/dryer. People don’t get rid of them to get a fancy new one; they get rid of them because they’re worn out.
#46Water cooled graphics cards for a gaming pc. Made that mistake once. The seal broke in more than 1 place within 5 mins of taking it out of the pc. Only took it out bc temps were not making sense and I thought it might be low on water.
#47Everything that goes in your mouth, not just a toothbrush, but even fork, knife and whatsoever. Highly germophobia alert.
#48Hybrids or electric vehicles. The used nature of the batteries isn’t worth the cheap cost of the car, if it is. Get those new and use it. Run it till it falls apart. The market for the batteries is going to be the cost of a new car anyway. So might as well make that car last as long as possible. It’s why I haven’t set foot into the market of Tesla, Hybrids or any EV as of yet.
There is a reason it's up for sale. It will be all cool the first day you bought it but than there is this rattle that you just can't pin point where it is coming from and it will drive you crazy and no one can fix it as they (Tesla Service) would say it is normal.
A month goes by and now your friends and love ones are noticing it too and ask you "Hey what's that noise?" You snap at them because you are already irritated you bought this $50,000 rattle machine.
Half a year goes by and you've had enough, now it's time to sell it to some poor soul, but you do not disclose the rattle and you have every tire kicker in town coming over and haggling you on the price till you've had enough and sell it at a lost.
After 2 month of selling the Tesla, you get a message from the buyer cursing at you for making their lives miserable and want their $40,000 back.
As someone that has recently started shopping for my first VR headset, I have never considered buying used.
The idea of putting it on after some random person has sweat in it for however long (years?) seems gross.