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Should you buy refurbished electronics?

Welcome to Wednesday, my friends. Here in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, it has finally turned to what I call “pre-summer”. It’s nice.

As you probably know, the western half of Oregon (and Washington) gets a lot of rain. It’s not heavy rain like the southeastern U.S.; instead, it’s sort of a constant grey mist that sets in around October 15th and lasts until around May 15th. This year, the rain left precisely on schedule and now we have pleasant, sunny days. (The one difference this year? We didn’t really have a transitional spring period. April was the wettest on record, so we didn’t get any scattered sun breaks as we usually do.)

Anyhow, you’re not here for the meteorological conditions in my neck of the woods. You’re here for money news! Let’s get to it.

Should you buy refurbished electronics? [Consumer Reports] — “If you’re looking to save money, refurbished electronics can be a great option…The trick is making sure the product is genuinely refurbished, not simply cleaned up, repackaged, and repriced. And that requires asking some questions before you settle on a deal.” [I’ve purchased refurbished electronics with mixed success. Most of the time, I get a bargain. But a couple of times I’ve got burned — including on a major computer purchase directly from Apple. Still, I’ll do it again in the future.]

Should people get rid of their lawns? [BBC Future] — “The lawn’s long-standing, deep-seated cultural aesthetic is the product of the pastoral ideal of the British nobility in the 17th Century, which has since been exported worldwide. Since then, its influence has been compounded by rapid suburbanisation, which has allowed the middle classes to own a lawn too, as well as the power of advertising, which has reinforced the lawn as symbol of domestic contentment, and the interests of big business.”

Knowing when to stop. [American Scientist] — “Suppose you decide to marry, and to select your life partner you will interview at most 100 candidate spouses. The interviews are arranged in random order, and you have no information about candidates you haven’t yet spoken to. After each interview you must either marry that person or forever lose the chance to do so. If you have not married after interviewing candidate 99, you must marry candidate 100. Your objective, of course, is to marry the absolute best candidate of the lot. But how?” This article is longish and sometimes math-y, but it’s very very interesting.

Lastly, here’s a fun little four-minute skit from Adam Sandler on Saturday Night Live. In this clip, Sandler plays travel guide Joe Romano, who wants customers to know: “If you’re sad now, you might still feel sad there…You’re still going to be you on vacation.”

“We can take you on a wine tour of Tuscany. We cannot change why you drink…If you don’t like how you look back home, it’s not going to get any better on a gondola.”

See you tomorrow!