When second-hand is only second-best
By Amyline Quien Ching for Yahoo! Southeast Asia
No doubt, thrift shopping has its advantages, primary of which is its items’ dirt-cheap prices. Where else can you buy quality stuff at less than 10 percent of their original cost?
Then again, not everyone seems to be rushing off to buy items that strangers have discarded. The common argument: you don’t know what sort of health problems these second-hand stuff may give you, either from the chemicals they use on the items, the bugs and lice that hide in them or the allergens that your skin may react to.
Before you shop for your summer trip, click through for the items that we suggest you buy brand-new in the mall.
Thrift-store clothes can harbor lice and bugs that you will only be able to get rid of by washing and heating at high temperature. Some also contain chemical and smoke residue that can cause skin irritations and allergies.
Thus, the decision to buy depends on your comfort level at wearing someone else’s clothes and your willingness to go the extra mile. Some who are a bit fastidious would only buy blouses that have loose fit, are made from thin and non-clingy fabrics and are sleeveless. Their reason: the less contact to their skin, the better. Some would not buy blouses at all, just maxi skirts.
If it’s not worth the trouble (made from cheap fabric, not branded, not too cheap), buy a new one instead. There are cheap but good quality clothes in malls, too.
Shoes and socks
You don’t want your feet to get in contact with wherever the previous owner has gone before, right? Like underwear, shoes are too personal to share with strangers. Besides, like clothes, previously loved footwear may also be home to bugs that are too small to detect when you give it the once-over in the thrift shop.
It will be difficult to resist: thrift shops have mounds of shoes, many of them at 75 percent off their original cost. But think hygiene. The next time your feet get itchy, you wouldn’t know if it’s just because of some random itch or if you’ve just caught someone else’s foot allergy.
You may argue that after a couple of washdays, previously owned underwear should already be good as new. But wearing someone else’s underwear, even if it’s been scrubbed clean and disinfected with bleach, just has too many health risks.
Items that are worn close to the body are best bought new, even if the owner does not wear it often as in the case of a swimsuit (although you wouldn’t know this for sure). Like underwear, a swimsuit is too personal an item to buy second-hand. Besides, the fabric of swimsuits cannot be exposed to high temperature so there is no way to completely “disinfect” it.
Vintage luggage may be a good find but you may also be giving the bed bugs and lice that are hiding in corners, pockets and zippers a one-way ticket to your destination. Unlike clothes and bags, luggage could not be easily put into the dryer or washed. Remember too, that people do not throw their luggage unless something’s wrong with it. You might just end up paying more if your second-hand luggage falls apart and you’ll be forced to buy another one.
The author is the editor of Manila Bulletin’s parenting section under Lifestyle, Moms&Kids and MB’s junior magazine, Funpage.Share
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