These days, "High Fashion" is just as likely to live at the bottom of a Salvation Army bin as in a boutique. Remakes reign at the box office. Seinfeld and Friends clog streaming queues. Truly, everything old can be made new again.
Well, almost everything.
There is one old thing that deserves to stay buried in the past. It's a deceptive serpent. It's an old wolf in new sheep's clothing (and we know sheep). It's a harbinger of pestilence and disease. And as if those problems weren't biblical enough, you should know that it's probably just plain lumpy.
We mean, of course an old mattress. A mattress is among the worst used purchases you can ever make. There are so many reasons you could come to regret a secondhand mattress that even an honest, well-meaning reseller may not know what exactly he or she is pushing onto an unsuspecting buyer. Not the least of these issues is a simple detriment to your sleep quality. A mattress should be replaced around every five to seven years. If the bed is worn to the point that someone else is all-too-happy to be rid of it, it likely isn't rendering adequate levels of support and cushion. This is especially true if you're 40 or older. Think of your mattress like a butler or a maid; it's a servant that literally and, in this case, figuratively supports you through a third of your life. As you get older, you'll come to rely more and more on that service. But, if your caretaker ages with you, it will naturally provide less and less capable help. As your body ages, it just can't tolerate as much of the pressure that an older mattress imposes, and eventually the both of you will be in a bad way1. Kick your used mattress to the curb before it kicks you into a back brace.
If we continue to assume that your reseller is benevolently ignorant of the issues with his or her product, and the bed you're eyeing is still properly supportive, it may still present a problem in some undesirable occupants. A used mattress may multiply whom you're sharing your bed with by several thousand, and even in a California King, those are cramped quarters. These free riders are bed bugs, and they don't just live in the rhyme we tell our kids as we tuck them in. These parasites are a very real threat, and the past couple of decades have seen them make a comeback of epic proportions in the United States. They're almost impossible to get rid of without some extreme, pricey extermination. They're survivors because an adult can lay hundreds of eggs in a lifetime, and the pests can survive up to a year without food. And speaking of their eating habits, bed bugs don't even have the table manners of other household pests. It's true, spiders aren't much to look at, but they do offer the benefit of eating other bugs that invade your home. Termites are dangerous, sure, but at least they stick to a diet of your 2x4s. Bed bugs aren't satisfied with your baseboards, though. They look to you for all the nourishment they need. The bugs gorge themselves on your blood, producing itchy bites wherever they choose to sink their beaks2. Between skin cream, exterminator fees and lost peace of mind, that cut-rate bed isn't looking too cheap anymore.
And all of that potential grief is assuming your seller is honest. Shocking, we know, but not everyone on Craigslist has your best interests at heart. Think about it. How could those "new" mattresses be sold at liquidation prices online? The answer is they're the furthest thing from factory fresh. We've all had the "Aha!" moment when you slam on the brakes because you've spotted a pristine furniture score off the side of the road. "People will throw anything away," you think as you load a couch that smells only slightly of mildew into the back of your truck. Mattresses are no different. We said it before, and we'll say it again: at the end of their lives, they should be dragged to the curb (or responsibly recycled as Jennifer Grayson mentions). It stands to reason, as Danny Seo points out, that these old beds by the roadside are as enticing a target for furniture poachers as was your only-slightly-sour couch to you. Except these snatchers aren't in the hunt to furnish their studio, they're in it to rip you off. All the pickers have to do is throw some new fabric on top, wrap the bed in plastic and like magic, they become "never used! Warehouse liquidation closeout!!!1! !"
Be aware that all new beds have a law tag. If the bed does not have a law tag hanging off the side telling who the manufacture is, then it is used.
Of course, this isn't to say that every offer out there is a scam. We just think that when it comes to the piece of furniture you'll spend more time in than any other--the thing that quite literally makes your day--it's just too important to chance it. Before you seal the deal and PayPal your way into a bedbug's Trojan Horse, come by your local Bedzzz Express. You'll get straight-up service, a competitive price and the assurance that "brand new" is just that.