Thursday, 1 March 2012

The Joys and Perils of Buying stuff Second Hand

I've always been a fan of buying second hand and I'm also regularly finding things around our house that we no longer need to sell on eBay. I've bagged many a bargain on eBay but I've also come a cropper a couple of times.

The good:

My best purchase on eBay was this Dutailer nursing chair. It was listed on eBay with a starting price of £80. Now there's something about a listing that starts high to put people off bidding and that's exactly what happened in this case. I was watching its progress and in the morning after the listing finished I saw it was unsold, so I contacted the seller to find out if she would be prepared to sell the chair for a flat £80 and she said yes. As she was local I was able to collect. It's worth saying that this chair was immaculate and it became a godsend. I initially bought it to help me be more comfortable when breast feeding Isla. It was comfortable but it never ceased to be when I changed feeding method. I spent many a bad night sitting in that chair while Isla was teething or feeling poorly. All her bedtime stories were read to her in it and now the same goes for Noah. This chair really was a great find and I now feel quite sentimental about it as it holds lots of memories. This purchase was a WIN!

Another good purchase was an Ikea table and chairs, £16 for all 3 items. WIN!

I purchased two items last year which on getting them home I had to re-contact the seller about my disappointment. They are now good purchases but they wouldn't have been had I not have braved it and told the seller I didn't think their descriptions were fair. The first was a Little Tikes slide, described as in excellent condition and not faded by the weather. I bought it for £80 and new it would have cost £125. My husband collected it and on getting it home I looked at it and was really disappointed. It wasn't excellent condition and it most definitely was faded and weather worn - it would be a bit weird if it wasn't being an outside toy. So I contacted the seller and told her that realistically to me it was not worth any more than £50. She  apologised, agreed and refunded me £30. WIN.

The other item was a Bumbo, again described as in excellent condition but on closer inspection at home, the foam was cracked. Again I recontacted the seller and got half my money back. A WIN of sorts. I say that because I really don't get the fuss about Bumbo seats. We borrowed one first time round and Isla hardly used it - the same happened this time round after we bought this one with Noah. They really have the shortest shelf life of any baby product we've ever bought.

The bad:

The downside of buying second hand is that sometimes the items aren't in good condition but you end up with them anyway. One of my worst purchases was a Chicco Walker I bought from an ad on Gumtree. It was advertised in good condition and was only £5. I thought I couldn't go wrong. I collected it and when I walked out of the flat I knew I shouldn't have handed over the money but I kept walking. I didn't have the guts to say no. The walker was filthy, the material of the seat was disgusting. I put it in the boot of the car and within about 5 minutes the entire car stank. Needless to say on getting it home it went in a bin bag and was taken to the dump, there was no way it could be revived.

My tip is to always check on eBay or the free ads (Gumtree/ Preloved) before buying something brand new for the kids. Most toys and play equipment for the under 1's gets used for about 3 months max. A friend of mine bought an immaculate stand up activity station for £1 on eBay for her twins. £1! It was £80 new. As it was she handed over a fiver as she was too embarrassed to give a quid, you would though wouldn't you!

However one thing beats buying second hand and that is getting a complete freebie! I was looking out for a playhouse for Isla last summer and my sister told me a friend of hers wanted rid of a Little Tikes one that was in his garden as he was moving house. It was a bit weather worn but it scrubbed up well and Isla has had the best time playing in it and I'm sure she will again this summer. It always pays to mention to people if you're on the look out for something as someone may just point you in the right direction!


  1. Oh I love a good bargain, there is nothing better. I got some great things from car boot sales last year, a walker, wooden toys but the best buys have to be books. I definitely haven't bought any new books, all the ones I have got have been pristine! Looking forward to the season starting again soon :)

    I obviously also haven't been to your blog on the computer for a while. Loving the (maybe not so) new look!

    Lucy x