I am an unforgiving consumer of physical stuff. Sometimes I am ashamed to acknowledge it and other times I feel tremendous guilt over my gluttony (I’m lucky I can even support such a habit). But mostly, I am so wrapped up in the actual consumption process that these emotions take a very desperate backseat. More than the actual product, I love the ritual of the hunt — of finding a pair of shoes that have seemingly gone extinct, a bag that is so wildly on sale it feels like a crime that it hasn’t sold yet, a set of vintage Plexiglas elephant tusks that were, until located, seemingly mythical at best and the sum of my imagination at worst.
Often, once the product is found and I have acquired it, it is relegated to “conquest complete,” and then I’m just sitting in a pile of cardboard boxes, wondering how I got here, recalling that time Carrie Bradshaw finally realized that she will probably die alone among her shoes.
I may feel guilt around my purported gluttony, but I am an addict — an addict who never had control of what was or was not given to me as a child, so now that I have a credit card and some agency, by golly, I must use it! But I will say that every so often, my compulsion to buy shit (and it is shit, I will be the first, last and middle person to admit it) pays off, and I take home something I don’t need only to find unexpected value or delight in it.
So in the spirit of presenting a counter to Mariah Adcox’s list of things she regrets buying, below is a list of some of those purchases, which weren’t particularly necessary but which I didn’t find regrettable either. A rare and special combination, no?
(My one disclaimer is this: I am soooooooooo not suggesting that you replace doing good for other people with doing good for yourself. If you have 10 extra bucks in your pocket to play with, consider donating half to a cause you care about. It is, after all, Love Month.)
This one is not my fault. After reading our February 1st edition of the MR Picks newsletter, I couldn’t stop thinking about marble fruit, which our visual manager and prop stylist extraordinaire, Emily Zirimis, brought to my attention. Here I’ve been buying interesting-looking local produce and flowers that die after, like, 20 minutes to decorate the bowls and vases and containers that populate my surfaces, only to find that I have to throw them away every 20 minutes. What will I do with these fruits when they arrive? Probably just look at them, take pictures and upload them to Instagram. They’re the definition of useless. But so is so much of what I do, so I guess we have that in common.
Like I said, I’ve been buying a lot of produce to stick in jars and bowls and shit to decorate my apartment. And even though I like clementines, I have been eating them so slowly because I know I need to reserve them for the bowls, which means they often go bad before I finish them. I’m pretty sure one of my most recent decor-produce purchases is generating puss on my dining room table. I don’t want to get too close to it.
Yes, I can drink out of them, but I also have 10 other glasses I can drink from. Was ordering a set of six gigantic Mason jars truly necessary? And while we’re on the topic of Amazon! Those padded headbands. I’ve worn them around my apartment but never out into the wild. I do believe that constitutes said accessory as a useless purchase. To be honest, I wish I had used that $4.99 to buy a cinnamon raisin bagel with blueberry cream cheese, but no regrets. So a home headband, possibly residing in a large Mason jar, it is.
This feels like a completely indulgent purchase given that tissues already come in boxes. Granted, the creative direction on the wrapping is so bad it could send a pair of eyes into the E.R. (Kleenex, maybe you want to hire us to make cool packaging for you?), but where genuine usefulness is concerned, does a brushed, stainless steel box cover actually serve a utilitarian purpose? No. But I am an aesthete, which is different from an athlete, btw.
5. Subscription to the Headspace app
I bought this on January 1st of last year, which is most likely when it experiences its largest acquisition surge. Did you know the annual fee is like $90? I, for one, did not. So maybe I would have thought twice before allowing Apple Pay to deplete my account, but all things considered — including the (in)frequency with which I use the app — I’m comfortable with where I’m at. Why? The narrator has a delightful accent. It puts me at ease.
I have never used nutmeg to cook. I don’t even actually know what it tastes like. I didn’t know it was a burnt shade of orange until I saw a bottle at Whole Foods one fateful afternoon last December. But man, the packaging was good. So, you know, I bought it. And now it sits, unopened and nestled between a small cylindrical container of cumin and another of tagine powder. They look great together.
Sometimes I feel like I am married to Inspector Gadget because he is mad about gimmicks and convenience and the bullshit gimmicks that ostensibly make life more convenient. Lately, we have become transfixed by essential oils. They are great. We even made our own, but did we need a diffuser in addition to the abundant rollers of actual oil we already have to generate more Zen in our room? No. But then again, I practically fall asleep at initial contact with the lavender when I walk in.
…at eight months pregnant. It gives me peace of mind! I have attempted to remain fairly active through the duration of incubation, but purchasing one class as opposed to five would likely have made greater fiscal sense given that I have only utilized one class. And these fuckers expire after 45 days, which I did not know.
9. A movie ticket to go see I, Tonya
Apparently, you can stream the movie at home, which I now know to be true because using the same mechanism that makes this possible, I watched Ladybird for free three weeks ago. I don’t even have MoviePass. I paid retail, which now seems like a crime. But it was about the experience, people. The popcorn and the Milk Duds and the salient sound of crunch interrupting time on ice.
Not listed: one pair of Balenciaga mules that I whine about in every single issue of Should I Buy This and a pair of cowboy boots (these will be neither the first nor second pair that I own), which the greater good of Instagram helped me to find at a whopping 75% off.
Your turn!!! What “unnecessary” things do you buy but never regret?
Collage by Emily Zirimis.