Circular Economy and the New Bargain Basement

This is my new home office setup. I bought the 27inch HD curved monitor, gaming chair, desk, HD webcam, wireless keyboard/mouse, wireless printer and multi-dimension monitor mount arm for less than $170 thanks to the Circular Economy. Let me explain. BTW, I’m still looking for the car in the wallpaper. Unfortunately, people don’t seem to want to sell me one at $20 😊

In 2015, I published an article on LinkedIn titled “The Future of Technology is Throwaway Technology” where I said

“…we have no other option but to throwaway our old (6 month old) TV and buy a new one. Thus, this technology becomes throwaway technology as there is no other option available other than to throw it away in order to keep up with the lightning speed of evolution and innovation in modern day technologies.”

I also said “In the case of software, what will you do with your old Windows 98 CDs without throwing them away? Do you think you would be able to give them away?

Fast forward to 2022 where the world survived one of the worst (probably the worst) pandemics in history. The world we live in now is a completely new one where online education, working from home, digital publications and cashless economy have become the new normal. With rising inflation and cost of living, many of us in this new world are struggling to make ends meet. Add to that the new burden of setting up a home office with all the latest tech capable of facilitating your work from home arrangements satisfying your contractual obligations and buying computers for all your kids because they now need them for school. All of a sudden, we can’t afford to throw away technology or anything for that matter. Enter the Circular Economy or CE.

Wikipedia defines the CE as “a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible” resulting in many benefits such as minimizing emissions and consumption of raw materials, opening up new market prospects, increasing the sustainability of consumption, improving resource efficiency, combating global warming and facilitating long-term growth. However, from a strictly personal standpoint, the CE to me is a way of buying the best stuff I can with the money I have. When money becomes tight, people tend to get creative.

Online flea markets such as ebay, Craigslist, Kijiji etc. have existed for a while now. However, I’ve always considered these to be dodgy places where shady deals took place. So, historically, I never used them to buy and/or sell anything. However, in the current economy, these market palaces have become goldmines if you are a savvy wheeler-dealer. With that said, I believe that the CE will only be successful if both buyers and sellers are willing to compromise, or in other words, open to bartering.

From my own experience selling and buying some stuff on one of these online flea markets, I’ve realized that

You will never get what you ask for: although you think the item you are selling is worth the price you are quoting, it is only worth the money a buyer is willing to spend for that item. Since it was my first time selling, I rejected many offers which were only $20-30 off of my asking price. As a result, I still have those items collecting dust in my garage.

Bartering is an essential part of the process and can be a lot of fun: on the flip side, I learned how to make an initial low offer and haggle my way into a good deal. I usually start at less than half the price. Most sellers are open to negotiation. However, there are some who will say that their price is firm, and then there are others who will tell you off for lowballing. If we are unable to come to a deal, I just say thanks and move on.

There is an abundance of choice: I’ve realized that I don’t need to negotiate too hard because there are plenty of similar items listed. So, if the haggling is lacking the magic, just move on to the next listing.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Happy shopping!


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