We all have those things that make us wonder, “Why did I buy that?!” Whether it is an item that underperforms or just never gets used, some purchases are just plain regrettable.
I generally stay pretty frugal and discerning when I buy things. I have avoided some of America’s most-regretted purchases such as a boat, timeshare, or piece of workout equipment. I have never related to the advice that you should never go to a grocery store on an empty stomach. If I don’t go on an empty stomach—I won’t buy anything! However, there are several past purchases that, in hindsight, make me facepalm.
Air Purifier – $80
Do you ever get sucked into reading about the “best things to buy under $100?” or comments from people about the item they never realized they needed until they had it? I came across one of these lists and the enthusiasm of some people’s recommendations made my wish list start to swell.
One standout was a product that had the approval of hundreds of people. When I went on Amazon to research more, I found that it had 8,273 customer reviews and a 4 star rating. This air purifier was a must-have. It would rid the odors of smokers, or cats, and dust would meet its match. After reading through the reviews, I passed along the information to Mr. Mechanic, who did his own reading, and I found a deal that would bring our desired purifier down to $70 (it’s currently ~$80).
A couple things were wrong about buying this product. First off, neither of us smoke. Secondly, we don’t have a pet. Lastly, we have a tiny apartment that we air out frequently as we get wind coming off the nearby river. We live in a place with great air quality and little dust. The only time it really felt useful was when smoke from nearby wildfires made the air hazardous to breathe, but otherwise we haven’t noticed any significant benefits.
Sam Edelman Petty Suede Shoes – $135
I had been living in my new apartment with a new job for six months. I figured it was time to up my game fashion-wise. I wore sneakers for every outfit. The only exception was if I was interviewing, when I would wear the one pair of 3-year-old black flats. When I started researching the best shoe you can comfortably walk in all day (that was not a sneaker) it was not a rushed or last minute purchase. I scoured internet forums and narrowed down the top 4 shoes where people proclaimed their durability for walking long distances. The Sam Edelman Petty shoe was recommended for walking all around London, a pretty good endorsement! I drove to the store to try them on. I bought the pair, wore them around, and ended up going back to swap them for a different size. I bought them full-price (why past me, why.) This– from someone who rarely paid more than $20 for a pair of sneakers at a sport’s store downtown. I asked friends and family for their opinions. I asked my significant other if I was crazy for considering spending so much money on these shoes (I think he said yes, why didn’t I listen).
The end result is a pair of shoes that uncomfortably squeezes around the top of my foot after a couple hours of wear, that I really need to get around to trying to resell, but instead they sit in my closet as a ghost of bad decisions past.
Betta Fish – $20
Mr. Mechanic and I had been living together for two months and thought it would be nice to get a little pet to take care of together. We bought him spontaneously on a two hour ride between cities, and I lovingly balanced him on my lap, trying to reduce any spillage. We put him in a tank that looks like a little apartment, but he didn’t seem very happy there. We did more research to find out that betta fish require much more space and began looking for new tanks, that would bring the cost for our lil guy up to $50.
We ended up getting an old fish tank from the recesses of a parent’s attic, and he seemed much happier there. However, for every vacation we had to find someone to feed him, and after a couple years passed he came up for food less and less often. He became despondent and instead of a little lively piece of joy in our living room, we had a depressed little fish. We shared a small bit of his sadness as we tried to nurse him back to health and felt guilt for not being able to cheer him up. When he eventually died, we felt even more guilty for feeling some relief. We will definitely think again before buying another betta.
Mr. Mechanic’s Mention
Leap Motion Controller – $40
I sat refreshing the page every half hour, staring at the screen. I was waffling over a Leap Motion controller that would track your hand gestures and translate it to motion in-game. It was scheduled for a price hike from $40 to $80 at midnight, and I was contemplating hard whether or not to get it. Finally, at 11:30pm, half an hour before the inevitable spike, I clicked ‘Buy’. I’ve used it once and ever since it has languished in a drawer of tech gear that I never use.
We have a lot of purchases we are quite happy with, which I will write up in a post to come! However, looking back, these are the purchases that we rather regret.
Do you have something that upon reflection, you wish you never bought? What languishes in your closet, or sits unused in the basement? Share in the comments below!