Seeing something out of the corner of my eye, I could almost feel his presence behind me before I felt him tap on my shoulder.
“Dad, can I show you something?”
I followed him up to his room, where he anxiously pointed to the computer screen. It displayed an ad for a 24-inch computer monitor, which was regularly priced at $319 and was on sale for $189.
He’s been saving his money to upgrade his monitor, and after missing out on a great sale a few weeks ago, he didn’t want to let this one slip through his fingers.
He clicked a few more times and showed me the exact one he wanted to order.
Here’s why he wanted to buy this one in particular:
- It was $20 cheaper, because it was used
- Supposedly, the owner had only used it for a month, so it was practically brand new
My son had the money to buy the monitor brand new, but he thought he’d save a little money and purchase the lightly-used one. Though I’m normally a big advocate of buying used, I tried to talk him out of it.
- We really have no idea how long the current owner had it
- We don’t know what kind of condition it’s in, since the seller lives across the country
- The item is fairly expensive, and if damaged, would be difficult to return
- We would have to investigate whether the manufacturer’s warranty is transferable
- It wasn’t that much less expensive
We went through each of my points, illustrating how buying used could be to our advantage — if the seller lived close by. If that were the case, we could easily try out the item and get a copy of the original receipt. That way, if anything wasn’t to our satisfaction, we could easily walk away. While purchasing over the internet, however, the unknowns and the difficulty of obtaining the same comfort level just weren’t worth the $20 savings.
After our discussion, he agreed with me.
I ordered his monitor, and he gave me his cash. Three days later, the mailman made my teenager crack a smile — even though he’d barely gotten out of bed late on a Saturday morning. After hooking it up, he excitedly showed me the brilliant colors and smooth animation that finally complemented the graphics card he got for Christmas.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my son had investigated buying a used monitor. The stereotypical teenager wants all new, high-end stuff. I hope I didn’t quash his desire to save money, or to look at used items. My goal was simply to improve his thought process and help him make the best possible purchasing decision.
Would you have let my son purchase the used monitor to save $20? How much cheaper does an item have to be to make buying used worthwhile?
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