Buyers, beware of bogus bargains

By Melissa Martin, Ph.D - Contributing Columnist

One way to save money is to buy used stuff. But avoid being burnt by being aware of bogus bargains, deceptive duds, and painted pigs.

“There are over 5,000 flea market type operations in North America, of which at least 1,000 are considered semipermanent. These markets are also referred to as swap meets, trash and treasure, boot sales, and outdoor markets.”

Watch out for new paint on old items at yard sales, flea markets, auctions, and Craigslist. Heads up on a fantastic deal that’s just too good to be true. Pay attention to the long-winded sale’s pitch.

I bought an outdoor wooden bench at a flea market. I knew it was older, but I didn’t know it was rotten. Within a year when the paint started peeling, I spied the decaying lumber.

Same thing happened when I purchased a used concrete water fountain. The shiny paint job fooled me. The following summer the crumbling concrete was revealed as the weather wore off the paint.

The next item was a small trailer. Duped again. As the gray paint peeled the rotting wood become apparent.

Sometimes decent people go through tough and tight times and bamboozle for a buck. Desperate people do desperate things.

Others have a ‘God bless us two and not you’ mentality and sell strangers a pig with lipstick. They wouldn’t dare sell a dud to friends, neighbors, and acquaintances.

And knockoffs are out there —a copy that looks like the original. The copycat economy thrives. Knockout the counterfeit clothes, shoes, and handbags. Just say, “NO.” FYI on bootleg toys. Fake is not fair. Phony is baloney.

And some items are a real steal (pun intended). Stolen items can be found anywhere people buy and sell and wheel and deal. Thieves with drug addictions take from the rich and poor and unload at outdoor markets and pawn shops. Some customers think buying stolen goods is okay because they didn’t personally filch the stuff. And look out for porch privates (package thieves). Summer is a prime-time for crime.

Let the buyer beware. “When a sale is subject to this warning the purchaser assumes the risk that the product might be either defective or unsuitable to his or her needs…It merely summarizes the concept that a purchaser must examine, judge, and test a product considered for purchase himself or herself,” according to the legal dictionary.

“Sold!” Sometimes a shopper goes into a frenzy and plops down the pesos too soon. Step back and turn on the logical part of your brain. Turn off greed, instant gratification, and emotional ecstasy.

However, I’ve also bought quality used items over the years from trustworthy vendors, hard-working dealers, and fun flea-marketers. Shop local and shop Ohio.

Remember, the deal of the century may be the dud of the decade. A bogus bargain is a bummer. A painted pig is still a pig. Shop, swap, and save, but let the buyer beware.

By Melissa Martin, Ph.D

Contributing Columnist

Melissa Martin, Ph.D, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She resides in southern Ohio.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She resides in southern Ohio.