There are some thrift store purchases that are no bargains. There are certain things you should never shop for at a thrift store because they are usually more trouble than they are worth.
A few items you should stay away from when you see them at a thrift store include:
- Electronics get donated to thrift stores because they’re obsolete or don’t work. To make matters worse, a lot of thrift stores take the cords off items like printers, which can make them unusable. If you’re looking for bargains in electronics, try pawnshops or used electronics stores or simply buy refurbished electronics online. You can get items like printers and scanners direct from manufacturers with a warranty, often for under $100 or $50 online.
- Commonly used small appliances. I’ve found that items like coffeemakers, blenders, microwave ovens, hairdryers, and toaster ovens are often worn out by the time they reach a thrift store. Save yourself the trouble and shop around instead. You can usually find good bargains on these items new at a regular store you can take them back to.
- Large appliances, such as washing machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators. These are often worn out by the time they reach a thrift store. The selection of these can also be very poor at a thrift store. Buy from a used appliance store or Craigslist instead.
- Men’s shoes. I’ve never seen a thrift store with a good selection of these.
- Powered outdoor tools, such as lawnmowers, chainsaws, and weed eaters. These are usually worn out by the time they reach a thrift store. If you’re looking for a real bargain here, check garage sales and pawnshops instead.
- Men’s work clothes. These usually disappear as soon as they reach most thrift stores.
- Exercise equipment. If it’s at a thrift store, it’s because somebody is not using it. Chances are you will not either, so don’t waste your money.
One more piece of advice here is to always be skeptical of thrift store items, no matter how good they look. If it is at a thrift store and somebody got rid of it, ask yourself why.