Oct 30, 2011

Freshly "Pre-owned" stocks

First it was "pre-owned cars". Now its "pre-owned video games" (seen at Landmark, Pune). Further proof that the world of marketing is often in bed with the dictionary of euphemisms (this last phrase was a metaphor, by the way).

Suddenly, no one wants to say it like it is: the car is second-hand, the game was sold to us by someone else, that is just something the previous diner threw up. "Pre-owned" simply sounds corny. Before it was owned, it was manufactured, assembled, retailed, distributed, displayed, packed, thrown-away-at-never-before-seen-rates-at-export-material-reject-sales.

But before it was owned, it was never owned.

Try saying: "Oh, this is my post-owned car. I've had it for three years now. I'm thinking of selling it to a new post-owner and become a proud owner of a pre-owned car".

Soon everything will achieve new pre-ownership. The raddi-wallah, previously mistaken for a mere recycler, is actually an enabler of pre-owned items, a mobile purveyor of modern antiques. If information from 'trusted sources' is first-hand then grapevine data is no longer rumour, but 'pre-owned' gossip.

Try saying: "Oh, these undies are not second-hand, they are merely pre-worn".

We have an old car at home - we are its 3rd owner. That makes it a pre-pre-owned vehicle. It also sounds like a spiritual guru.

I suppose there is no point in continuing these rants; after all this is the land that also gave "prepone" to the world. I will wait to recycle them another day. Maybe the day I see matrimonial ads for "second marriages" claiming:

"Dynamic, fair, 42 (looks 30) /5"8', IIT-IIM. Innocent, issueless pre-married."

Till then, this is just pre-post-erous.


Sandip said...

keeping aside literal meaning(or lack ;)) of the idiom i noticed there's a subtle difference between pre-owned and second hand (or "used" ones as they call it here in USA) pre-owned things usually carries a sense of trust looking at the "pre"vious "own"er e.g. pre-owned cars undergoes a extensive certification, 50 or 125 points check for safety and functionality by authorised dealers or the owner, usually has extended warranty and gives prospective buyer a sense of faith in the car as against that of used car from a private party (who sort of say 'buy at your own risk!').

Unknown said...

Sandip: I see. I didn't know all this :)

Ajay said...

The problem that I think these stores now face is that "second-hand" comes with all the connotations it does, and is a derogatory term in other circumstances.

I actually like the word 'used' as it's commonly...used in the US. I've seen items (furniture, electronics) described as 'gently used', for instance, which makes it sound friendly, even a tad cute.

Unknown said...

Ajay: I dunno, I personally smell no undertones with "secondhand". OTOH, thanks to pop American culture, "used" seems to evoke the "I feel so used" sense :)