Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What is a Bargain?

Have you ever wandered through a thrift or discount store and thought, “Oooh, only $2 (or $10, or whatever) for that wonderful _______!”, only to get it home and find it broken, damaged, or even worse, ugly?  I’ve fallen into that trap - buying things simply because they were cheap - and I’m sure y’all have, too.  Dear D would tell you that I am an indiscriminate buyer; he hates the unstarted unfinished pieces that accumulate in our storage areas.  Now, if he only saw all the things I pass up... he’d sing a different tune.  A tune of gratitude, that I don’t cart home all the crap I see...  There actually IS a thought process that goes into my buying!
Lately, I have been trying to purge - clothes, furniture, accessories, it’s equal opportunity mayhem as I fill boxes, bins, and garbage bags to get ‘em out of this seriously overfilled home.  I have one excuse in that there are several major pieces of furniture that are earmarked for our oldest when he’s ready to move (back) out into his own place.  Oh, my!  The space we will have when that happens!  And the plans we have made for those spaces...   :)
What does any of this have to do with bargains?  I’m getting there, I promise!
Since we are currently stalled with our plans to get new carpet for our living room (can’t do it with the furniture removal on hold - Gah!), I could no longer look at the nasty stains that feature prominently on our ancient used-to-be cream carpet.  The stains were bad enough in the short term, when I thought the carpet was not long for this world, but knowing we may be stuck with it for months had me searching for a carpet cleaner that I can keep, instead of renting one regularly.  Hoover & Bissell make home versions that have a decent reputation, but everyone I know who owned or has owned ANY brand has had fairly serious gripes, so I was hesitant to spend until I tried. This isn’t even about being cheap - it’s about being careful!  So, when I found this lonely baby sittin’ around this morning, I had my doubts. 
First: It’s used.  How used, I don’t know.  Second:  Why was it given up?  Does it not work at all?  I personally NEVER donate something that doesn’t work, but the proof says... other people do it all the time.  Last: There’s no way to test it in the store (water, detergent, etc), and the store doesn’t accept returns, no exceptions.  
So, what is this worth? had it listed at $139.99, before they sold out.  Is it worth $49.94, if you have to take it apart, down to the guts, in order to get it to work? (1 hour of my precious time)

What if it got a  Consumer Guide “Best Buy” recommendation? 

Is it only worth $39.93 if it’s also so dirty on the internals that you kinda want to gag as you’re cleaning it out?
I don’t know what it’s worth to you.  I know that now that it’s clean, and working brilliantly (never even needed to “fix” it, just should’ve looked up a manual before I tinkered with it!), it is worth every penny of the $9.99 I paid.  Yes, there are some spots that are being really stubborn, but they live at the crazy house, so what can one expect!  Using leftover Rug Doctor detergent, I took one of the nastiest areas from this
to this.
In about half an hour.  More passes are needed, it's true.  However, I can do them when I want, with my own machine.
And that, my people, is a BARGAIN!

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