You shouldn’t have…

Back when I was young and very foolish, I bought a car. I’d never owned a car before, wasn’t looking for a car and had no intention of buying a car. However, somewhere I came across this cute little ancient Austin 1100 – I can’t even remember where – and they were selling it for only $200.

 I have no explanation except that I must have fallen so completely in love with it that I’d lost my mind. It looked just like this:austin1

 Isn’t it adorable? So teensy tiny, I felt like I could just pick it up and tuck it in amongst the stuffed animals on my bed…..if I’d had stuffed animals on my bed, which I didn’t….. and never have had, even when I was a kid. Because I don’t like stuffed animals. I think they’re creepy and collect dust. I never bought my daughter a stuffed animal either…. ever…. though I let her keep one or two that she got as gifts….

Anyway, this car was just a bit bigger than a mini. It was a 4-speed automatic and surprisingly roomy inside (roomy enough for car sex if I’d been that way inclined) and had leather seats.  I knew nothing about cars and consulted no one about the purchase — just paid cash and drove it home.

Of course it was a disaster. There were so many things wrong with it, that I barely ever got to drive it.

Which was probably a good thing since I didn’t have a license – not even a learner’s permit.

I was reminded of this extraordinarily ridiculous purchase the other day when I read Anne Hines’ column about the “stupidest thing she ever bought”. Her stupidest thing she ever bought was a birdbath heater. Some of her readers said the stupidest things they ever bought were:

  • A marriage license;
  • A book about the Grapefruit Diet, followed closely by 20 pounds of grapefruit;
  • A gadget called the Tile Titan which was supposed to steam scum off her bathroom tiles and ended up steaming all the labels off her bathroom products and the wallpaper off her bathroom walls, but left the scum intact; and,
  • One woman said the stupidest thing she ever bought was her ex-boyfriend’s story about where he spent every Friday night.

In this season, the season of stupid purchases, what’s the stupidest thing you ever bought?

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28 responses to “You shouldn’t have…

  1. We bought a membership in a campground about 20 years ago. The campground was affiliated with a national camping system where we would be able to camp at campgrounds around the US and Canada for a nominal nightly fee. We bought because of the national affiliation, which we have used a few times over the years. Then, just as we were planning to really start using the system a lot, the campground lost its affiliation with the national group. We still have our campground membership, but really don’t feel like camping more than a few nights a year in Branson, Missouri, which is where it’s at. And, of course, no one is going to want to buy our membership, especially in this economy.

  2. Oh god, do you want a list. I am sure if I sit here, I’d come up with some stuff.

    There are a pair of cowboys, worn twice. They were expensive and they really hurt my feet. I think they may have cost as much as your car. Since I had The Boy. They no longer fit. But I refuse to throw them out.

  3. I guess I’ve been lucky and have not had a lot of buyer’s remorse. I think that’s because I hate shopping. I did once have a car that was a lemon, though. I have to ask since you think that stuffed animals are dust magnets: Do you have any drapes or curtains? I think those are dust magnets. I have mini-blinds.

  4. Mike – Well that, at least, sounded like a good deal at the time and made sense. I know some people who would gladly spend most of their year at Branson…

    Bandobras – Ouch. I hope you got them back and least and can, if not get your money back, at least start a little shiny collection.

    Nat – Ya, what is it about cowboy boots that seems like such a hot idea until you own them?

    Geewits – I’m usually a very frugal and careful shopper, too. This was a serious abberation. I do have curtains but they’re very washable and I wash them often. Mini blinds always get all gunky and I hate cleaning them.

  5. Oh, I love your little matchbox cars!

    I have a long list of mistakes, including my own cute car (64 VW bug convertible) that ran twice but was so darling I just wanted to keep it as a yard planter.

    There was also a very stupid investment in a company that was going to revolutionize oyster farming with some hydroponic seaweed bed system that I never understood. I took a hydroponic bath.

  6. Nat reminds me of what, in hindsight, was probably my stupidest purchase. In late summer 1975, I was in Toronto visiting a friend who was working there for the summer. We went into a shoe store on Weston Rd. and I bought the coolest pair of platform boots ever made — two-inch sole and three-inch heel. I paid $35 for them.
    Remember, this was 1975, right in the midst of the Disco era.
    The damned things gave me the worst shin splints but man, they were the coolest platform boots ever made.
    In March, 1976, it rained and then the rain froze as the temperature dipped below zero (it might have still been 32F — I can’t remember when the metric system took over). I was leaving my part-time job at the local movie theatre wearing the coolest pair of platform boots ever made, slipped on the ice, and fell face first, using both hands to break my fall. The next morning, I couldn’t move my left hand. It turns out I had broken a small bone in my wrist, and spent a month in a cast from my fingertips to my elbow, with my fingers at a 90-degree angle to the palm.
    I never wore the damned boots again, but they were the coolest platform boots ever made.

  7. oh man, you should see my kijiji listings – it’s all a result of buyers remorse! (yes, the white cowboy boots with pink and green flowers currently listed are mine, all mine)

  8. that is a very cool car 🙂

    trying to think of something substantial that i regretted buying. typically if something is very expensive, i think about it for a long time, and then research the pro’s and con’s before i purchase it.

    i do, buy a lot of small dumb stuff. more now, having children than i ever did single.

  9. A juicer. Yes, I will make lots of lovely fresh healthy fruit and vegetable juices and feel all vital and lively and wonderful.

    Or I could just stick it under the sink and curse it every time I have to move it to get my food processor out.

  10. Deb – How could you go wrong with hydrophonics? They’re magic and can solve all problems. Bummer

    Bob – Did you wear them with your elephant pants? You’re such a slave to fashion…

    Meanie – Isn’t it strange that almost everyone has bought cowboy boots at some point in their lives and almost never worn them? What’s that all about I wonder? Could it be that they’re damn uncomfortable and almost impossible to get on or off?

    Violetsky – Sounds like a nice coat. Was this pre-suede and leather protectors? Now everyone is wearing those hideous faux suede boots all winter long and they seem to survive somehow.

    DP – Me too. I’m a VERY careful shopper ordinarily. This was completely out of character. But I remember the car fondly.

    Loth – I fear buying larger kitchen appliances for that very reason. Even food processors and blenders that involve a lot of assembling and disassembling to make them go and to wash and put them away.

  11. A $4000 platinum ring for my partner. Three months later he had an affair. I had to pay off the rest of the ring debt using money from my half of the sale of the house. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  12. Of course I wore them with my elephant pants, puffy-sleeved shirts and the three-quarter-length pea coat that my buddy bought in England, and then gave to me.
    I really WAS a slave to fashion.
    Of my closest friends, four or five of us all wore the same size clothes in high school (not now, but let’s not go there). Our parents called us “the girls” because we were always trading and/or borrowing clothes. If I couldn’t find something in my closet, I knew it was in one of the other guys’.
    Confession here: I was a Reach for the Top geek. The year I was in Grade 13, our team made it to the national final. Thanks to the other “girls”, I had an extensive TV wardrobe, and hardly ever had to wear the same outfit twice. Best-dressed geek in Canada, I was.

  13. I can’t for the life of me remember my stupidest purchase. Not because I have none. More likely because I’m still in complete denial.

  14. Hm…I honestly can’t think of anything really big that I regret buying. Most of my regrets have to do with clothes that I was too annoyed or tired to actually try on at the store, so I just brought them home, and then I was too mortified or tired to take them back, so I tried to force them to work on my body, before finally caving in and giving them to charity about 10 years later.

    Nothing major, though.

  15. UP – Big ouch. You’re very generous and I hope you got to keep the ring?

    Bob – You’re really worrying me now. I have 3 brothers and have known many male persons both casually and in various levels of friendship and never once have I know a guy who swaps clothes with other guys. Never. Not ever. Not once. Ever. I think this is worthy of a blog post and if you don’t do it, I will.

    Jazz – Well, maybe you really don’t have any. I don’t think I have any aside from that car. That car was so insanely stupid. I’ve never matched it for consumer stupidism.

    Lynn – Ya, I’ve bought clothes that I actually did try on and hated when I brought them home. Or hated after washing them once. Oh well, it’s a good thing I don’t spend too much on clothes.

  16. All my purchases have been quite sensible, of course, but I have noticed some howlers bought by various friends and relatives over the years.

    Nehru jackets, wide whale cordery pants, ascots, lapels or shirt collars so wide you’d need runway clearance, Gremlins and Pintos, pet rocks, Nothing Books, just about any bridesmaid dress for an Italian or Latino wedding, Pierre Trudeau-style knitted caps for men, toupees that look like something blew of a ledge and landed on their heads, “tan in a can” that turned people orange, spray-on hair, very expensive exercise equipment that is used for a week and then miraculously transforms into very expensive clothing racks or basement dust collectors, the Segue, electric blue velour yarmulkes with tinsel trimming and designs, mohawk haircuts (unless you an actual Iroquois Indian), mohawk haircuts lacquered into long spikes, pants with the crotch at the knees…the list goes on…

    And yes, I know…many of things on this very brief list date me. 🙂

  17. Falstaff – You have always been so wise and grown-up. How do you do it? How have you avoided all these awful trends and fads over the years?

  18. My darling XUP….

    At a very young age I was burdened with style, class and good taste. Growing up where I did and under the circumstances I did, it was a curse, believe me. But I managed to rise above it all.

    As you know, I balance all the above-noted admirable qualities with my selfless dedication to representing the local villians before the great human woodchipper that is our criminal justice system.

    Having flipped out ages ago also helps.

    That an dinner dates with glamourous female writers and international women of mystery. 😉

  19. I KNOW I have made many the dumb purchase, yet i can think of nothing in particular that really stands out. I think I have made a lot of small, stupid ones that – if I could remember – would add up to equal one, gigantic stupid one! Like Jazz, I think I must be in denial!

  20. Falstaff – You’re off your meds again, aren’t you?

    Cedar – Huh? I can’t find the reference…

    Lesley – No, you may just be totally delighted with all your purchases ever in your whole life and that’s totally cool!

  21. I’m embarrassed about some of my more recent stupid purchases so I’m not even going to say. They’re awful. Worse than the gym membership that I didn’t even use once in 3 months. But I am so not sorry I got my new car! Still love it.

  22. damn i couldn’t have actually bought more than 100 items in my lifetime, of which mostly chapstick and clothing.

    But i think it must have been when I was in third grade and bought a book at the “book fair” (really the cartoons and pen fair) that had a pony on the cover and that came with a necklace I thought was pretty for 5 dollars. I still have the necklace, so considering that it was a good deal, but I never read that damn book. I read two lines and almost died. It was a stupid, and seemingly shallow buy, which I regretted but regret no more, for I still could read that book if I really wanted to and I have that necklace and I have this story. So hah, maybe it wasn’t so stupid after all, eh?

  23. Aziza – Let’s hope that’s the stupidest thing you’ll ever buy. It’s cute that you still have the necklace from so long ago — do you still wear it?

  24. Well, really I have the charm from it transferred to a bracelet. The chain is probably long broken and gone, the piece of bleep… It’s a little horseshoe with half of the pink gems missing from it. Came in handy at my middle school, the mascot being a horse-like thing.