The Best Time I Sold My TV

I’d like to posit that there are few things more emotionally cathartic than expunging your ex’s left-behind belongings from your shared home after they move out and you stay put, but I can think of at least one: when shedding those items results in cold, hard cash.

I should have never bought the TV, but as he was moving into my place, not vice versa, I wanted to do everything in my power to make him to feel at home. Home is not where the heart is, guys, contrary to what you’ve heard. It’s where the screen is. And for some people depth of devotion can be measured in inches.

For him to be willing to move in, for us to really give ourselves a fighting chance, he said we’d need a bigger television, plus one in the bedroom, and we’d need to get cable or a satellite dish. Those were his deal-breakers. That is how I, who had been content with a Roku box and the big, sticky, non-digital-compatible 27-inch monstrosity left behind by a roommate, converted my 2011 tax return into a bright, shiny, brand-new $600 47-inch LED Vizio flatscreen. From Wal-Mart. Because I was an adult in a relationship and I was like OK, yes, this is what grown-ups do in a relationship, to make each other happy: compromise.

I admit this new television was beautiful, and my love for all things produced by Andy Cohen grew exponentially. The smaller, boxy set was relegated to the bedside bureau, and we fell asleep every night in the glow of 237 channels. All seemed right in our little world.

By 2013 we’d broken up (he wanted to take the nice TV. I believe my response was succinct and appropriate: “HA.”), and he’d moved out. Let me tell you this thing that I know about break-ups, lest you find yourself in similar straits: Few things offer better immediate pain relief for a busted heart than hermiting away in your house with your dogs for several weeks, talking to no one but your two best friends and watching hours of mindless fluffy television every night.

But then you move on, get busy; the sixth season of Mad Men comes and goes, and the last episode of Breaking Bad airs, and you don’t like the new cast member on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and you remember you like to read before you go to sleep, and you cancel Netflix out of spite when you realize your ex’s entire family is still using your account, and suddenly you find yourself not watching very much television. And you think: I was fine before, happier, really, with just one crappy old TV—why not again?

And that is how I made my best? favorite? Sort-of-inconsequential-but-infinitely-SATISFYING? financial decision of 2013. I sold that sucker—for $300 cash, the week before Thanksgiving—to a colleague, but only after my friends self-selected into surprisingly invested camps of, “Yeah, do it!” and “Vollbrecht, are you an idiot?”

See below.


The strangest response I received to the Craigslist post listing the TV for $375 obo:

“I’d like to buy your bozo tv.




My best friend from high school:

Me: Ways I will save/generate money in the coming year:

1) Sell my TV (the $600 one, that I bought because somebody couldn’t BEAR to not have a nice TV).

2) Get rid of Dish Network (waiting ’til Jan/Feb, when the two-year contract runs out, otherwise I have to pay a fee).

3) Put my car up for sale, in late Jan./early Feb. Walk everywhere. Dual purpose: get used to walking everywhere, save approximately $400 a month between gas/insurance/car payments.


You do know TVs depreciate the minute you buy them.


My other best friend from high school; I used the TV-selling funds to buy tickets for us to go to a Jay-Z concert for her 30thbirthday. [Verdict: WORTH IT.]:

Me: someone just offered me $250 for it.

I said “$300″ and he said yeah, ok, probably.

Her: Money in the bank!

I only use my TV for workout DVDs…I wish I could unbuy it.


One of my dude friends, a self-described “renaissance bro”:

Him: You really sold it? I told you I’d give you $200 and hold on to it until you wanted it back.

Me: What were you going to do with it?

Him: Put it in my dad’s garage.

Me: It’s too nice of a TV for a garage!

Him: You haven’t seen this garage.


One of my favorite college buddies (contextual side note: he turned me on to Peepshow, available in full on the internet, and we have since killed several hours together watching that particular British gem, so it’s not like either of us are one of THOSE people, all high-and-mighty about not watching TV. I love TV.):

Him: You have a TV? What is this 1985???!

Me: It was an ex-induced purchase.

Him: So you have an even better reason to get it out of your life.


My Alaskan friends, who visited this fall:

Me, all: I’m gonna sell this TV!

Them, all: Think of how nice that corner of the living room will look without it!


A guy with whom I went on one date this summer. He subsequently (and very nicely) lent me his entire boxed set of The Wire, of which I have watched exactly one season, for which I feel an inexplicable amount of guilt:

Before we went out:

Him: wait are you one of those sad people with like a 27-inch television from a flea market?

Me: hahaha YES

Him: and you make people crowd around it pretending like it’s nice?!

Me: Now I have 47 inches.

and it feels outrageously indulgent.

Him: well thank god for that

you at least have HD cable right?



Me: I forgot to mention that in the fine print it reads that people who mock Lynn for selling her television are not allowed. sorrrrrry.

Him: Is there finer print that says people who sell their televisions BEFORE FINISHING THE WIRE are fools??


Me: HAHAHA. I still have a television. It’s just very…old.

and not connected to the DVD player, because I’ve been too lazy to move either.

Him: Life is full of poor choices…all of them being made by you right now.


Three of my best friends IRL, showing their approval via Twitter: (<3 you, Erin, Bubs, and broski):


Lynn Vollbrecht is a writer and editor in a committed relationship with her credit score. Photo: Geoff Stearns


15 Comments / Post A Comment

aetataureate (#1,310)

Lynnnn, $300 for that two-year-old TV is a gift from god. Take it and run.

elVollbrechto (#4,347)

@aetataureate I did. I ran straight to Ticketmaster and, subsequently, Jay-Z. :-) SO WORTH IT.

jquick (#3,730)

@elVollbrechto Just curious (sp?)… Spending all that money on a 90 minute concert was worth it? Are you a huge fan or was part of the “worth it” based on your singledom and moving on and having fun again?

elVollbrechto (#4,347)

@jquick Valid question! I didn’t spend all $300 on it, and I am a pretty big fan; aside from that, it was an amazing night with my best friend–that alone made it worth it. And I’d rather accumulate experiences over things any day.

gl (#5,458)

GOOD FOR YOU. TVS ARE THE WORST. The actual objects I mean, not necessarily the shows that reside therein. They take up WAY TOO MUCH SPACE and they are EXPENSIVE and if you are just watching something to watch something that is what the internet is for, get on that, computers all the way, down with tvs.

Also, seriously anyone who wants a tv in the bedroom as a deal-breaker is a prime DTMF candidate*. Whyyyyyyyy. Also, anyone who always needs the tv on (several ex-roommates I am looking at you) are the worst and should only live with others like them, so as not to inflict their television fails on other people**.

*wtf, since when are there two d’s in that word. Spelling is the worst.
**by which I partially mean tv shows I dislike but which I MOSTLY mean: if you leave the room there is no world in which the tv needs to still be on. I PROMISE. If I am alone in the room and turn the tv off because it is annoying as hell then you don’t need to walk back into the room from a totally different room to turn the tv back on and then leave again. If you are having sex that is why I have headphones and also the ability to leave my apartment or even use my computer in lieu of a television! But you weren’t having sex. Except maybe for that one time when I stepped on your used condom on the floor of the kitchen. Seriously, really?

elVollbrechto (#4,347)

@gl “The actual objects I mean, not necessarily the shows that reside therein.” Totally agree. I love love love television SHOWS, but don’t really care about the medium. When I was sick with a stomach bug last winter I watched the entirety of Girls on my iPod.

gl (#5,458)

@elVollbrechto Right, I love tv shows! They are great! Except when they are horrible! And even then they are sometimes great in a horrible way! But I hate televisions and how rooms are built around them like they are shrines. And I hate hate hate how when they are in shared space it means that I have to put up with other people’s taste in tv shows if I want to sit somewhere besides my bed to eat dinner. I have idiosyncratic tv tastes, ok?! And I am a judgmental bitch about the things that I dislike so it’s really just better for everyone if you don’t have to watch my tv and I don’t have to watch your tv unless it is mutually agreed upon before hand, sort of like kinks in the bedroom. Ipods, ipads, laptops, etc are the way to go. That way no one has to deal with my terrible television obsessions and I don’t have to deal with anyone else’s.

@gl Ugh, TVs are the worst. Big and delicate and expensive and breaky and (if you’re not on the newest generation) heavy as hell. We don’t have a TV, not for snobby reasons (I marathon terrible television on Netflix like it’s my job), but because projectors are 10,000x easier to move, and cheap crappy apartments always have white walls on which to project.

Projectors ALL THE WAY.

elVollbrechto (#4,347)

Addendum: the day after I submitted this to the Billfold, my roommate, who’s traveling for the holidays, texted me and said “A friend of mine is offering me a flat-screen TV for free. Would it be ok to put it in the living room? Feel free to say no if you’d prefer a living room that’s less Tv-centric.”

So I will not even be flat-screen-TV-less for long, it seems.

honey cowl (#1,510)

@elVollbrechto Best possible ending to this story.

jquick (#3,730)

@elVollbrechto Now, renew netflix streaming (new account…NO ex family members allowed) and watch “The IT Crowd”.

BuffLiteraryBuff (#5,679)

Great article! I’m curious how one defines a “renaissance bro”. Would you care to elaborate?

elVollbrechto (#4,347)

@BuffLiteraryBuff This is a self-assigned designation, mind you, but I think he culled it from this:

Fig. 1 (#632)

I will absolve you of your sin of not Wire-watching because you gave us this delightful little post.

elVollbrechto (#4,347)

it’s so good! I’ll finish it eventually.

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