Alice’s vegetable steamer
Alice’s vegetable steamer. (Alice Burdick Schweiger)

Impulsive purchases produce only buyer’s remorse during COVID.

Between boredom from spending so much time at home and fear of getting COVID-19, I, like many Americans, have taken to excessive online ordering. Not socializing with anyone except my husband, not being able to see my family or friends, not eating in restaurants or shopping in stores, I have resorted to COVID compulsive online buying. (Could this be a new syndrome?!) 

While some of my purchases have been practical, some are things I never would have considered paying for in the past. Last week, I ordered an electric vegetable steamer. It arrived with multiple parts — not only will I never be able to assemble or use it, I hate steamed vegetables! It seems I am not the only one with a houseload of outrageous, impractical items getting delivered to the door. Here is what seven Michiganders impulsively bought during COVID: 

Judy Federbush, psychologist, Ann Arbor: Indoor humidity monitor. “It sounded essential, but I can’t find any use for it. What will I do with the information? I haven’t looked at it since I took it out of the box a month ago!”

Karen Lindenberg, retired professor, Ann Arbor: Electronic egg cooker that poaches eggs in triangular shapes “Do I need it? No. Can I boil an egg by myself? Of course. When I begin entertaining again for brunch, will my guests request triangular eggs? Highly doubtful!” 

Emilie (EJ) Martin Palef, who lives in New York City but is from Detroit: A riding coat. “I bought a riding coat from Portugal. I had been eyeing it online and when it went on sale, I could not resist. Thankfully, it didn’t fit because a riding coat without a horse doesn’t work. Had the coat fit, my next step would have been looking online for a horse!”

Lizzie Kompus, student at Michigan State University, Beverly Hills, Mich.: Adult coloring books. “My roommates and I all bought coloring books, Crayola markers and colored pencils. It was a spur of the moment purchase during lockdown. We only used them once and never picked them up again — and I am not even sure where I put mine!”

John Shultz, photographer, Ann Arbor: Swimming hand fins. “They looked really glamourous in the photo. They slip over your hands like an amphibious, webbed hand. Unfortunately, they were rather useless in the water — $20 out the window!”

Linda Bennett, art museum docent, Ann Arbor: Inverted umbrella/cape to catch hair during a haircut. “I thought it would be a clever way to keep my hair from falling everywhere during a home haircut. Not only didn’t it fit around me, but it also didn’t fit around my 5-year-old grandson. It might have been better turned around used as an umbrella!”

Fran Becket-Shell, business owner, Royal Oak: Weird humorous T-shirts. “I found a website that sells unusual T-shirts with sayings. Normally, I would not have bought any, but I wound up buying a bunch for myself and my family. The one for my husband reads, ‘Being a trophy husband is exhausting.’ Don’t know when or if we will be wearing them in public!”  

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