If you’ve ever had a cell phone croak right before your two-year contract was up, you’ve likely been the victim of planned obsolescence—an engineering gimmick that many tech companies use to keep customers coming back for the latest and greatest thing. And while planned obsolescence is legendary in the gadget industry, it’s hardly the only sector where it happens.
“Companies are basically making things so they break,” says Julie Kearns, who owns Junket Tossed and Found, a secondhand shop in Minneapolis, MN. In fact, built-to-fail is becoming such a problem that last year the French government mandated that companies give a suggested lifespan for their products—and replace them if they break within that time. (No plans yet to do that here in the U.S.)
Older items—especially those produced before midcentury—tend to be built with longevity in mind. “If you can access certain things on a secondhand basis you’re going to get a real quality benefit,” says Kearns. Not sure where to start? Here are eight items you'd do well to purchase secondhand.
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