Friday, February 27, 2009

What to look for

The truth is that manufacturing a good is only a very small portion of what the product is sold for. In business they call it unit cost. It is this variable that companies are always trying to reduce by putting labor overseas, mechanizing their factories thus eliminating workers, or cheapening up on the product quality to cut costs. We know that markup is a big factor in the final price of a product because of all we hear about buying factory direct. If you cut out the middle man in the supply chain, you cut out the middle man’s share of the profit. In many cases, we’re being taken for a ride on the price but we pay it anyway because its what we want and the alternative of searching around for a better deal isn’t appealing. But what happens when you do keep your ear to the ground and you do find some great cheap home furniture used? Do the proceeds go directly to a big corporation? Are they taxed heavily by the government? No, you put the proceeds in the hands of your fellow citizen and shake his hand. Then he helps you carry the slightly used and highly valuable find to your car or truck. Ok, this last part may not happen but sometimes the idealist in me comes out.
The important thing to remember here is that we could all do better in many ways, specifically in what we are willing to pay for cheap home furniture. Not everything you will see available in want ads or second hand furniture sites like craigslist will be worth your time. In fact, if you have a solid home and wish to keep your furniture for the next twenty years then maybe a more hefty investment is in order if you think it to be necessary. If you have an apartment, move around a lot, or just don’t have the money to spend thousands on financing and overpriced furniture then this strategy is for you. I spent months looking for a desk for my bedroom when I was using a bulky old Dell desktop. I had just destroyed two rather expensive pressboard computer desks when trying to move. Essentially, they exploded back into the sawdust they were created with. Never buy furniture made out of this material if you intend on moving around with it. It is very unforgiving during moving or with moisture or spilled drinks. Eventually I found the perfect solution, a used desk for 20 bucks from craigslist. It’s constructed with solid wood, fairly new, and had been inherited from a mother that passed away. The couple would have thrown it out as it was taking up too much space but couldn’t bring themselves to do it. If I told you I paid 200 or 300 dollars for this piece of furniture you’d probably believe me as this is what it probably cost. Again I ask, why buy new? I moved this desk without any problems from my last place and it still looks wonderful.

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