Outdoor and Kitchen Store– Shopping in stores is great because it gives you a chance to see and handle the product. If you have questions about the product, there are knowledgeable employees walking the aisles who can help you. Other customers are great sources of advice if they have used the product and can give you an impromptu review or recommend something. Another bonus is return/exchange policies! Downside? You’ll pay top dollar at these places unless you catch a killer sale.
Sample Sale/ Used Gear Sale– Some retailers have used gear sales where all goods that have been returned or exchanged are on sale for extremely low prices (we’re talking 40% to 80% off). Some of them have outlet stores with lower prices. Downside? These tend to be crowded and if you’re looking for a specific item, it can be a bit of a crap shoot, but if you are lucky enough to find it, you’ll score!
Direct Online Store– Shop from home in your pajamas! Online shopping is now one of the most frequent ways to shop. Direct online shopping from a preferred manufacturer gives you a chance to score brand new goods first to market. Plus if you can’t make it into the store, it gives you a chance to show your support for your favorite brands. Downside? Depending on what you’re buying, shipping can be expensive.
Amazon– Amazon is amazing because of its low prices and economical shipping! You can’t find a better deal out there and their return/exchange policy is good! Downside? You don’t get to try or see anything in person before you buy. Plus, people tend to only review products when they’re not satisfied so it’s hard to find good, consistent reviews.
Craigslist– I liken Craigslist to an online garage sale. You see something you like, call up the owner, go check it out, and negotiate (usually) a price. Downside? Craigslist is not for everybody. It could get you a great deal, get scammed, or leave you a little creeped out. Never allow someone to deliver to your home. If you can, always agree to meet in a public place and always have a buddy or two with you. Buyer beware.
Garage/Yard/Estate Sales– I would almost prefer a garage sale over Craigslist because you can find cool stuff and the fact that you can buy and receive instantly is totally worth it! This is a great place to find used and/or vintage cast iron because people either don’t realize what they have or they think it’s too much of a hassle to care for or they think it’s damaged beyond repair and they are just trying to unload it. Whatever the reason, their loss is your gain! Downside? You don’t know what you’re going to find. You could spend all day at it and come home empty handed.
Goodwill/Salvation Army/Value Village– Just like garage sales, these are great places to find used equipment on the cheap. You can often find gear that is in good condition and still has a lot of life in it. Downside? Just like garage sales, you never know what you are going to find.
Friends/Family– People are always upgrading their equipment and what they are replacing may still have a lot of life in it. In addition, these are the people who can give you an honest opinion of the product. They can talk about longevity and quality and also give you a fair price! Downside? Most equipment tends to be worn but at least you know who owned it.
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