7 things not to buy at thrift stores

Local News

Just because something is cheap, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to buy it. There are some things you should avoid at thrift stores.

1. Mattresses

Just about every expert says buying a mattress at a thrift store is a terrible idea. Mattresses can be contaminated with dirt, skin cells and who knows what else. Think of it like a sponge: Over time, it’s so contaminated you need a new one. You don’t want to risk bringing bedbugs, lice or other hard-to-get-rid-of pests into your home.

2. Shoes

If you’re interested in having comfortable feet and minimizing back pain, you might want to skip past the used shoe section at the thrift store. Shoes often come to conform to their first owner’s feet, which can make them uncomfortable for the second person to wear them.

3. Electronic devices

Consumer experts put up the red flag for used electronic devices as another purchase to avoid at the thrift store. Cords could be frayed or internal wiring might be degraded, leading to safety problems when you plug it in. Just because a monitor powers on doesn’t mean it’s devoid of issues. 

For example, there could be glitches that you don’t see during that 30-second test at the thrift store but would annoy you if you took the monitor home and used it for work every day.

4. Kitchen appliances

You can’t be sure that small kitchen appliances will actually work as expected when you buy them at a thrift store. Items like blenders and kitchen appliances, which you can’t adequately field test, are likely to be outside their warranty. And you could spend the money with no recourse if things don’t work out.

5. Vacuum cleaners

Vacuum cleaners are not built to last long, says a Consumer Reports article, putting the average lifespan at about eight years. As with kitchen appliances, you don’t actually know how the status of the warranty or the history of the item. So, buying a vacuum cleaner from the thrift store is a big gamble.

6. Used toys

It’s not just about the inconvenience of missing puzzle pieces or an incomplete set of parts. Afflictions suffered by pre-loved toys can render them dangerous to kids as well as useless. Stuffed animals could have contaminants in their fur. Broken cords on plug-in toys could present safety hazards.

Play it safe and stick to store-bought toys or those passed along from trusted friends and family and you know how they’ve been treated.

7. Used cribs

This is another baby buy that you should not make at secondhand shops due to safety concerns.     The federal government implemented new crib safety standards in 2011. So, some thrift store cribs could have been built before these standards were enacted. Even if you’re certain that a thrift store crib was made after 2011, the warranty could have lapsed or the crib could have been recalled. 

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