SAFETY: Buying Items from Strangers.


As an upcycler, I’m all about getting the most out of my money. If I know that I can get an item or a product I need at a cheaper price, I am more than willing to go out of my way to make it happen. Now…Some people may call that being frugal. I say no. I’m gonna go ahead and blame it on still having the “poor college kid” mindset. Although, let’s be real…I’ll probably always be this way.

With that said, lets talk about where I get a lot of my used items. My preferred method for searching for awesome pieces, is a good old thrift store. Whether that’s a big chain store like Goodwill, Value Village, or the Salvation Army…or a small second hand shop or flea market. All these options are great because they offer a bit more security. Although, sometimes the big stores absolutely refuse to haggle prices with you. And frankly, I think that’s dumb. (Frugal Mindset Example A)

Another great option is searching the internet for used items. I’ve used Craigslist and the app Offer Up many times. Here, you can also find a bunch of free stuff that is just waiting for someone to show it some love! HOWEVER using sites like these require proceeding with caution, because you are dealing with strangers. You may recall the man labeled as “The Craigslist Killer”…..enough said.

So, now that I’ve put a bad taste in your mouth when it comes to buying from strangers…..I’d like to give you some reassurance. Not everyone is out to trap and kill you. But, here is some advise in regard to approaching a buying (or selling) situation with ease.

NEVER SEND ANYONE MONEY FOR THEM TO SHIP IT TO YOU – When it comes to buying form strangers, your best bet is to buy from someone that lives within a close enough area so that you can pick it up yourself. Never trust someone to ship the item to you. 9 times out of 10, they will take your money and you will never see the actual item.

USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM – I know this sounds dumb, but don’t go alone. You have no idea who this person is that you’re buying from, or what they are capable of. And along the same line, make sure someone knows where you’re going and who you are going to meet.

BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS – If the person wants you to enter their house to see the item, ask them politely to bring it outside. This should not be an odd request. If they protest and seem eager to get you into their home or space, the LAST thing you should do is enter.

COME PREPARED – Other than the obvious fact that you’ll need to have the money with you if you decide you like it, but make sure you’re prepared to haul the item away. No one likes a lingerer. And in terms of safety, bring a phone and any sort of protectional device that you are legally aloud and licensed to cary. (Which can be as simple as pepper spray or an alert whistle) Feel free to overlook this piece of advice…if you do not wish to utilize your legal right to do so.

TRUST YOUR GUT – Listen to your heart. If you feel uncomfortable, or sketched out by a person or situation, LEAVE! You do not need to follow through if you do not feel right about a situation. As an example, I adopted my rabbit from a gal on craigslist. I used all of the advise listed above….but this girl gave me the most sketch feeling. And low and behold….she wanted me to stay and do drugs with her after. Luckily, she wasn’t pushy about it and had no problem when I declined her offer. But had she been more of a creep, that could have gone horribly wrong.

After going through these safely precautions, I hope I haven’t scared you away from buying used items in the future. Like I said, not everyone is out to trap and kill you. I just want everyone to be prepared when it comes to buying from strangers. And hopefully some of this advice will help you feel a bit more at ease…because lets face it, buying something from a stranger can be an awkward situation.

But, to make a long story short…be safe and use your better judgement when it comes to dealing with strangers.

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