The Girlfriend and I are worried that our apartment is going to be pretty empty at first, as I am leaving most of my stuff in Kalamazoo for now and we only have so much room in our budget for new furniture. We looked at a second-hand shop last weekend and found that many of the pieces seemed quite expensive. Talking about it afterward, though, we drifted toward the conclusion that the reason IKEA and other particle-board self-assemble furniture is cheaper is because it’s basically cheap crap — disposable furniture.
Often no thought seems to be given to moving the piece (particularly with desks), because the expectation is basically that you won’t move it. In a stationary position, they’re basically solid, but any shift of orientation is risky. Taking it apart with the intention of putting it back together again is either impossible or causes permanent damage, particularly with those weird connectors where you have a round piece in one board that connects with a rod in another board (what are those called?) — they’re not meant to be reversible.
I wonder how much one really saves in the long run with such stuff. In my case, I think of the Bose Wave Radio that I got in college — ten years later, it’s still going strong, and I probably would’ve bought several cheaper units during that period. And that was a factory refurbished model!
The need to pay for quality can be overdone — for instance, it’s unclear to me that a household could possibly need the old Kirby vacuum or a Dyson rather than a “disposable” brand — but as I think about the fact that most of us spend our time in homes and businesses full of crappy particle-board furniture and that the average piece from a second-hand store will likely outlast something you buy new from Target or IKEA, it makes me kind of sad.
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