What with Buy Nothing New Month in full swing, I’ve been thinking a little about buying second-hand. I love a good upcycle as much as the next cheapskate but there are certain things you just shouldn’t buy second-hand. Like, ever.
I don’t really need to explain this one, do I? Anything that’s been in such close proximity to someone else’s nether-regions is not a good idea. You can wash and you can scrub but somehow it still just isn’t right. It’s just the principle of the thing.
Now with bras, there’s a real reason. No, you won’t get a flesh eating worm infestation like so many hoax emails would have you believe but you will get a less-than-optimal support system and really, that’s the whole point.
Once again with the proximity to other people’s bodies, second-hand bedding is a bad idea. It’s not just the sweat, the skin cells, the oils and other bodily secretions that the fabric’s been exposed to, but moreso the little greeblies that feed on those human by-products you need to watch out for. Dust mites, bed-bugs and fleas can all thrive in bedding and even survive the mashing machine. Even if they die, their remains will stay trapped inside any pillows or mattresses long after their demise creating a breeding ground for bacteria, mould and fungus. Ew.
The human mouth is a very dirty place, containing up to 1 billion bacteria on each tooth. A lipstick that has been used once has still been smeared across a person’s lips. If they licked their lips a few minutes before, there would have been saliva on their lips and bacteria in that saliva. Feasting on the nourishing oils in the product and protected in the warm, dark case, the bacteria can then multiply exponentially, covering the entire lipstick in no time. And you want to put that where? Oh that’s right, near your mouth, so you can ingest the infested goo. Need I say more?
Mascara, powders and foundation aren’t safe either, risking the spread of conjunctivitis, ocular chlamydia and a variety of skin conditions. Yuck, yuck, yuck! If you need makeup, buying a brand new cheapie is infinitely preferable to a used Chanel.
Once upon a time, you could buy second-hand electrical goods and they were usually ok. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, some bright spark realised it was much cheaper to manufacture substandard equipment that breaks down the day its warranty expires so you just can’t do this anymore. I’m convinced that mobile telephone manufacturers are in cahoots with the telecommunications giants in an evil bid to make my handset implode the very second my contract ends. Same thing with my PC, my food processor and my electric blanket. Don’t waste your money on something that may well break down tomorrow and has no warranty, but it new or just make do.
A few years ago, I bought a used car. Its seat belt was defective; as I was driving along, it would occasionally just pop out of the clasp. I took this to a repairer who told me it would be much cheaper to replace the faulty mechanism with a used part. Being young and on a student budget, I agreed. He put the used belt in and what do you think happened? Within a week, the same problem was occurring. Luckily, I had the wherewithal to spot it and get it fixed properly, but imagine if I hadn’t and there’s been a high speed accident? Anything your life or wellbeing depends on should not be second-hand. You don’t get a second life.