Debate: Should I Buy or Rent?

By Glenn and Jake

Every day you are faced with the choice of whether to rent or borrow something.  Whether it’s as big as a house or as small as a birth control pill, we constantly make decisions to pay less for temporary use or more for permanent ownership.  

Glenn: “Why rent when you can buy?”  That’s a famous quote?  I think Judd Hirsch said it on Taxi but it also might have been Thomas Jefferson.  No matter which member of the Illuminati said it, its veracity is clear.  It makes no sense to pay a $80 monthly rent payment on your house and have nothing to show for it at the end of five years when if you had been paying that same $80/month towards a mortgage you could own property - something your parents said you would never do.  Similarly, you can rent Royal Rumble 1993 from your local video store every month but why not just buy it, even used, for a few dollars at Circuit City?  Invest in your future.

Jake: Renting allows one to have the things they cannot afford, whether it be a house, apartment, boat or a loveseat.  If I wasn't renting, I would be living in the street and my only possession would be 30 one pound bags of lentils and 54 wrestling DVDs.  That life might sound good to a hippie like Glenn, but that is just not the way I choose to live.  I would not have a place to watch my wrestling DVDs, cook my lentils or write this debate about a topic I do not care about, and I would be sleeping in the parking lot of WalMart.  In this economic climate, you better have a winter coat because it is cold out there.  It is nearly impossible for a moderately young person like myself to find a job that pays well enough to buy anything, much less a domicile or boat.  Yet, I do have enough money to rent these things.  And I do.  I am writing this from my boat!

Glenn: I’m glad you’re on a boat.  Readers, if you have not seen the famous music video about being on a boat please click here.  A boat is a great example of something nice to rent but even better to own.  If I own my boat I can take it out every weekend to escape my same sex spouse and adopted children, without paying a rental fee.  Then when my kids grow up and find same sex partners of their own, I can sell the boat and get most of my money back.  This is a perfect arrangement!  Adopt this experience to the many CDs we bought from BMG and Columbia House in the 1990s.  We ordered the entire White Stripes catalog and listened to them over and over until there was nothing to hear anymore.  So we trade them in and get Sting albums instead!  Who could be against Sting of Police fame?

Jake: The only Sting I’m interested in is “the man called...”  The Police’s Sting is a tantric sex having new age jerkoff.  BMG/Columbia House is a great example of why not to buy.  Why would I need to OWN a Jeff Foxworthy CD when I can just rent one of his specials for $1.99 from Amazon?  I would only listen to it once.  I don’t want to own a Tesla CD, especially not one of their lesser albums, but that is exactly what happened when I was a member of BMG.  Renting allows you to try things out before settling on your purchase.  You have the option to own what you are renting or a facsimile of it.  It makes economical sense to try out things before you decide whether you want to spend the rest of your life with that product.  Bigger purchases are a huge decision that could end up ruining your life.  Why get a lemon?  Rent the item, try it out and if it is a lemon, make some lemonade.

Glenn: I am not suggesting that people move into a house or purchase a new VCR without trying to test it out, read product reviews on Free Republic, etc.  In the age of the internet, we can find out more information about products before we buy them than ever before.  Just the other day I posted a status on Facebook asking if anyone owned the Epson MX‑80 printer and got a bunch of comments saying it was thirty years old and don’t buy it are you a fucking idiot.  Comcast wanted me to rent their modem from them for a monthly fee but instead I bought a modem.  Once someone detonates an EMP and my cable account is canceled I’ll just sell the modem on eBay - making most of my money back and not having paid a bunch of blood suckers $5/month.

Jake: I rent a modem from Comcast and I couldn’t be happier.  Comcast are not “blood suckers,” they are essentially my best friends.  You are certainly not as nice or as helpful as them.  Renting give you all of the benefits of owning, but without any of the responsibility of ownership.  If your modem (or boat) breaks, you must fix it.  If my modem (or boat) breaks, then Comcast will send you a replacement and profusely apologize.  I could rent Wrestlemania 8 to see the Papa Shango/Ultimate Warrior run-in, or pay $20 to for the DVD that I would only watch once and only the very ending.  Fiscally, it seems irresponsible for me to purchase that DVD or a modem that is going to run like Archie’s jalopy.  Why buy when you can rent?  None of the Glenn’s points answer this question definitively.  Therefore, I will continue to frequent Rent-a-Center and get my picture taken with their Hulk Hogan standee.


  1. GlennyouarenotonFacebook!!! If you were the number of people who would read this very funny debate would increase by a negligible amount!!!!! Great debate guys, you've convinced me to steal!

  2. It just wouldn't be a OYIT post without referencing wrestling or Kevin Sorbo.

  3. I need the press! Drop some references to me.

  4. I owned a house and now look at me!

    sometimes i go back there and haunt it


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