*Our Changing Times*
By: Arkit2
26 January 2008

The falling dollar and buying "Used Quality"

Our economy is falling and our dollar is shrinking. Then how is it that I can by a digital alarm radio at Wal-Mart for five dollars? The reason is simple. The quality is gone!
Wal-Mart like other corporate giants TELLS the producers what they will pay for the product and a team of engineers take out cost. What that means to Joe consumer is that you are buying crap for your dollar.

There were many products that were “over engineered” or overbuilt in the 1950’s and 1960’s, but that is a far cry better than under built. Many are still around working fine.

The emerging problem as I see it is the falling dollar. In order to keep cost within reason, even more quality will be removed. I see this today in the housing industry, automotive, firearms and now even dog food. This can be dangerous. Lead in toys and food serving vessels are only a few examples.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a dumpster diver and yard sale nut. Many of my preps were acquired that way. But I don’t buy or keep junk. Growing up I had the experience of working on the family tractor and truck. You quickly learn the value of having quality tools. Cheap ones will break and probably injure you.
That will present you with a large problem in a survival situation.

Today at almost 50 years young, every purchase I make I ask my self, “Will this outlast me?” If so I will buy it, if not I have to reason out why not and do I still need it.

Some times used may not last that long. If you are talking about a disposable item like clothing, who cares. I have purchased used clothes to work on a messy project... I grabbed an old pair of jeans, sneakers and a polo shirt for 2 dollars at a garage sale to tar a trailer roof. At two dollars I threw it out after the job. This preserved better clothing that did cost me more.

As our dollar falls and our purchasing power shrinks I recommend buying used quality over new any day. Look for flaws. The old adage “buyer beware” still applies.

Not only will you be getting better product for the money but the savings can allow you to buy other preps you need.

In addition to getting better products, you are not paying taxes on the items. That small percent adds up. I have paid serious dollars for used quality, but that's ok. The used item cost what a brand new one would have cost, but was 100 times stronger... But not 100 times the cost.

Recently I bought a table and 4 chairs for a friend in need. He is a BIG fellow and his cheap modern chairs broke, sending him on his butt. This would almost be funny except he just had his hip replaced. What I found was an old 1960’s rock maple set. It was wore down but solid. With some care, time and spray varnish it looks good as new. I gave 10 dollars for it.
I could go on and on, but you see where I am going with this. If possible Buy used quality before new any day.

Tips on used quality shopping

Locate every Goodwill and Salvation Army store in your area. Check them often.

Get a senior discount card if applicable (over 50).

Check them on Mondays and Tuesday’s as more items have arrived on Saturdays.

Get to know people there and let them know what you are looking for. Have an index card with your name on it and what you want. I will buy tents, sleeping bags and general camping or anything military.

Go to mission stores. You will be supporting a good cause as well as buying on the cheap.

Check moving sales in FRIDAY’s paper and stop on your lunch time Friday! Saturday may be too late.

Use freecycle.ORG (the ".com" site is a different site, and not the one being discussed here) or some of the other salvage.com sites that are local to you.
Much of this is just going to pick it up for free. I have an ongoing source of 6 gallon food grade buckets this way.

Locate out of the way dumpsters in strip malls that are about closed. Landlords often use these to toss entire tenants items away. Many nice finds, Leatherman tools, etc.

Look at construction sites and ask the GC if you can pick up and dispose of his scrap wood. You need it for scouts. I have seen entire (nice) garages built with this lumber.

Keep your eyes open. It is amazing what people throw out. I have several batteries from kid’s motorized scooters and big wheels. Just sitting on the curb with the chargers. Kids just outgrew or lost interest. Now they charge my ham gear.

Only grab things that you are sure have been discarded. Theft is bad even if not intentional.

Pay attention to businesses that are going out of business. Watch them closely because at some point they begin tossing items that you may want, especially if they rent the space.

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