August 29, 2010 a cheaper sort of Consumer Reports

Steve, a Chicago reader, sent us a link about a new service: a sort of Consumer Reports, but for cheaper stuff.

Blogger Jennifer Saranow Schultz tells of journalist Max Levitte: All Levitte simply wanted an inexpensive (let's just say cheap) vacuum to clean the solitary rug in his apartment. His took a pass on costlier $150 - $250 vacuums to settle on a $60 vacuum--that turned out not to do the job.

Spotting a greater vacuum in the market, Mr. Levitte was compelled to create It offers budget product reviews, satisfying your inner, cheaper buyer.

My strategy varies a bit: I like to have somebody else pay for a high-end product, try it out a couple of times, donate it to a local thrift store, and leave it--still in box and original wrapper, for me to find and buy, really on the cheap. Another reader of the above article agrees:
My strategy for finding cheap, quality products is to keep an eye out for things I'm generally looking for (in my case, cookware) in thrift stores. Recently found a Le Creuset casserole pot, 10 bucks, Salvation Army. Yay.
Put another way, I tend to trail really rich people (or medium-to-poor people who have huge debt--anyone who is a big spender, actually) to pick up their castoffs. When they want to upgrade to a bigger, shinier espresso machine, I'm happy to buy the old.

Do note: I don't like buying my items very much used, however, especially something for food and the kitchen. The last Braun espresso maker I bought was new, completely in wrapper, at a garage sale. It even had two unopened packages of coffee beans which I threw out because they were so old. The machine was a wedding gift to a couple who had apparently never, and no intent to ever, espresso-anything in their future together. Their bad, my good.

Anyway, Give it a try. Let us know how it works for you.

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