Used or not used? Differences between Taiwan and US.

Since we are moving to Chicago in 1.5 month, me and Nik started to sell things on craigslist. It is definitely quite a time-consuming project to name every little thing you owned,  including checking the brand of each item or the original price of each. However, right after I posted my moving-sale ad, I received quite a lot of responses. On the night I posted, a gentlemen even came to pick up couple things for his son who is moving out to a flat recently.

This really got me thinking, why in US re-selling your properties is so common compare to in Taiwan? Craigslist will not succeed at all, well, probably, in Taiwan.

In Taiwan, no one really buys used stuff. People usually talk about an used items with a “disgusted” face. The only second-hand market that worths mention is probably the antique market.  A lot of people believe that once an object is owned, it will have a little bit of “the owner’s spirit” on the object. Therefore, you can always hear people saying “Many people who owned that second-hand car were all killed by accidents…it’s a very unlucky car. ” When buying used things, say a house or cars, people always check who the previous owner is, and how his/her’s health and financial condition is right now. I may sound like joking, but I am darn serious. When my parents were thinking to buy a house, they spent lots of money and time checking the Feng Shui. Is the house 坐北朝南 (facing the south) ?or is the living room the first thing you see when you walk in a house (it is considered unlucky to see the kitchen and the bathroom first when entering a house)? The list can go on and on. Every little detail has some kind of Feng Shui rule associated with it. It is really rarely that people would buy second-hand car in Taiwan. The thought about someone has been killed or injured in the car just cannot get passed by Taiwanese’s Feng Shuis/ Luck standards.Not even the furniture! When I told my aunt about our sell on craigslist, she (an 40-ish lady) couldn’t believe that anyone would want a used furniture. In my memories, the only second-hand things that my parents ever bought is the scooters and bikes. That’s really all.

In US, selling/buying a used items is really common. The used items for sale can range from flight mileage to floor lamp. Some people even posted just to ask if there are free things to pick up. When I went to college in US, all the ads in the bus stops about used cars and furnitures startled me.  I couldn’t believe anyone thinks they can sell a used couch, or wants a used bed. The idea scared me. Years after, being an experienced “mover,” I started to get used to getting rid of things on craigslist and salvation army. We donated books, clothes, kitchen-wares and all other sorts of things. It really makes me feel good about contributing to the whole society, by circling these good but used items instead of throwing them away due to the owners’ relocation.

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