Four More Things I Can’t Believe People Buy

Four ThingsNo, this list isn’t an attack on expensive wines, an admonishment of carry-out lunches, or a dismissal of brand-name products in favor of store brands. Nor is it an opportunity to remind you that Amazon sells a banana slicer. Okay, it’s kind of that. Instead, this is a list of four things that have come across my radar recently that I can’t believe people buy…and two things that I’ll cop to purchasing.

Four More Things I Can’t Believe People Buy

Fancy facial tissue. After kowtowing to pressure from a mob of drippy-nosed twelve-year-olds, I shelled out for Kleenex. Not just any Kleenex, but a box of Kleenex Cool Touch facial tissues designed to soothe on contact. Not only does this facial tissue cost three times as much as regular tissue, but as an added bonus, it feels like you’re blowing your nose into an already-been-used Kleenex. I have never regretted a purchase so much.

Microwaveable potatoes. Around Thanksgiving time, I noticed these potatoes at my local grocery store and sent this tweet. They’re not the 1-, 3-, or 5-lb bags. They’re not the loose potatoes that you weigh yourself. They’re individually wrapped in plastic with the bold proclamation that they can be microwaved and sold for $1 a pop. News flash: every potato is microwaveable. Admittedly, these fell off my radar for a while, but I actually observed them on the conveyor belt in the checkout line fairly recently.

Pre-potted seed pods. If you’re into gardening, congrats. It is my favorite pastime, and it also accounts for 80% of the reason I would one day consider moving. I dream of growing year round. But what I don’t dream of is spending $2 on a Miracle Gro Groables seed pod. If you’re going to go this route because you want a safe bet, buy a six-pack of plants for a buck or two. Or take a gamble with seeds. For two dollars, you can do a whole lot of experimenting, even if you don’t have a green thumb. While I had previously dismissed these as mostly impulse buys designed to appease kiddos who had spent far too long shopping with their families at home improvement stores and garden centers, I recently saw a woman scoop up an arm full and inform me that they make gardening a cinch.

Garbage disposal cleaning beads. Sometimes, I walk into Bed, Bath & Beyond and feel like I’m entering a parallel universe. A world where I understand these uses for twelve different forks and instinctively know how to fold fitted sheets. While I’ve resigned myself to the fact that many of the things they sell might simply be beyond my homemaking skill set*, I am utterly flummoxed by Plink garbage disposal beads. Not only are they really costly, but ice cubes and citrus fruit peels work just as well. And they’re free.

Two Things I Do Buy

Return shipping fees. I cannot even tell you how painful this is to write. When we were remodeling our bathroom, we needed an extended size tub spout. Try as I may, I could not find a store that carried one in our price range or a website that offered one at a reasonable price including free shipping or return fees. So, I caved. I bought a spout online for $50 less than I had seen it in stores. And then I paid $13 to ship it back to the company. While I still came out money ahead, I can no longer go to my grave boasting the fact that I’d never pay shipping fees.

Chai concentrate. For starters, I feel like Tazo gets a pass because they don’t call it chai tea; it’s simply chai. (I’m looking at you, Starbucks, and your insistence on offering me tea tea). But really, it’s carton of deliciousness that values convenience over reasonable sugar content. Seriously. There’s so much sugar in it. But every once in awhile, it makes the perfect start to my morning. While I could and usually do make a much healthier and cost effective version that is also more authentic, sometimes I just have a taste for my Tazo.

*And by homemaking skill set, I mean my ability to not give myself or my husband food poisoning. Yet. I do, however, peel off my fingernails on occasion when using the potato peeler.

Note: You can check out my original list here.

So Tell Me…What would you add to the “can’t believe” list? What are your favorite guilty pleasures?

Four More Things I Can’t Believe People Buy

27 thoughts on “Four More Things I Can’t Believe People Buy

  1. Chai concentrate is amazing. I only buy it a few times a year, mainly to keep myself from drinking it on a daily basis. Since I use soy or almond milk, it definitely fills a need when I want a chai latte.

    I’m a sucker for single serve portions to make putting together a lunch much easier and faster. I know that it’s cheaper to buy a bag/container/etc but it’s so much easier to use servings already portioned out.

    I also like the 90 second microwavable rice packets. Ridiculous, I know, but so easy!

    1. Realistically, I think most people have a splurge that’s convenience based. It’s important to recognize them…and then move on. Enjoy your rice! 🙂

  2. Hahaha — that potato! As though *every* potato isn’t microwaveable without that toxin-leaking plastic wrapper. And on the Kleenex front, not to sound all sanctimonious, but we bought washable cloths last year that are actually meant as reusable baby wipes, but we find that they work great for wiping our noses. So now I’m in the camp of not believing that people spend money on disposable tissues at all, because the reusable ones are so much softer, less wasteful, and far cheaper over time. But I know we’re not normal. 🙂

    1. My dad uses handkerchiefs (thank goodness…I don’t know what else I’d buy him for holidays! Ha!), and I have in the past. I’m actually going to play around with this on a personal level over the summer. As for my students, I know some teachers who put out rolls of TP or those brown paper towels. The TP I’m fine with…but the paper towels make me sad for their little noses!

  3. HA HA HA HA. I’ve totally actually bought those beads before in an apartment that had a terrible stench coming from the garbage disposal. I buy dishwasher pods… because I can get them in the dishwasher and shut the door before Lui comes over and starts taking dishes out. A bit of a luxury item, but worth it for us. 🙂

    1. That seems really pricey, but I think gourmet cupcakes are still quite trendy. I would be in trouble if we had food trucks near my school. I already purposefully keep cash out of my wallet so I can’t give in to vending machines!

  4. The potato thing kills me!

    I do a lot of gardening and always either by a bag of seeds, or the 6 packs. Occasionally I will buy a few single pepper plants if we get a late spring because our growing season in MN isn’t long enough.

    1. Ahhh, peppers. They are my nemesis. Or maybe to borrow a page from my students, they are my frenemy. This is the first year I’ve been able to get pepper seeds to germinate. We shall see how or if the plants produce this year!

  5. Allison says:

    I buy name-brand tissues (Kleenex or Puffs) because when I have a cold, generic tissues feel like sandpaper…But, I agree that the super-soft lotion-covered tissues just feel really gross!

  6. I can’t believe people pay extra for pre-cut onions when it takes about 60 seconds to cut an onion. The microwaveable rice also seems crazy to me (sorry Kate).

    I do spend way too much money eating out though, so I’m in no position to judge.

    1. I was all “pre-cut everything is stupid” until I had a really enlightening Twitter convo earlier in the year. Someone explained to me that for people with severe arthritis and similar degenerative diseases, the options are to buy it pre-cut, wait for someone else to cut it, or live without it. Now, I do believe based on my snooping in the checkout line that a lot of those items are bought for convenience sake. But it did open my eyes to other possibilities!

    1. It does! 🙂 One of my friends taught me that in HS, and I’ve been confusing my Starbucks baristas ever since. “I’d like a chai latte.” “You mean a chai tea latte?”

    1. Okay, I thought the boogie wipes were stupid, too. Then i was given some, and actually they are great.

      They have saline, which is good for clearing baby’s little nose. More importantly, though, with a regular wipe I have to scrub the little one’s nose to get it all. It wipes right off with a boogie wipe. So, I’m a buy-on-sale convert. I also have the same two packs I initially bought over a year ago, so they last if you’re careful.

  7. I’m a sucker for individually packaged chips and similar snacks. While they are more expensive, we do eat smaller portions when we have them, so I think we end up breaking even. And juice boxes. As Kate mentioned, they make lunch and snack packing a lot easier. But, on a dollar per ounce basis, I feel silly.

    1. I’m starting to struggle with my smaller portioned items. For instance, I am currently having a mad love affair with snap pea crisps from Aldi. I only get three servings per bag (unless I eat them – did that once!). And I feel like it’s so wasteful to have all that packaging. Better for my health, bad for the environment.

  8. Hey, Penny. This might be a bit off base, but I’m constantly amazed at the people who buy pets. It seems the more dire one’s financial position is, the greater the likelihood one has a dog or a cat or a bird or a snake. Many people struggling financially have multiple pets. I just don’t get it. Am I a curmudgeon?

  9. I have literally never seen or heard of some of these things! I suspect we don’t have them here…

    This is slightly different as I would totally buy one if I had a kid, but I just learned about these things (don’t know the proper name) where you put in dirty diapers and it apparently turns them into a tidy trash sausage? Some sort of disposal gizmo?

    1. Ha. A tidy trash sausage! They should use that in their marketing. I think they’re called Diaper Genies. And I only know because someone I used to babysit for had one. It might make disposal easier, but this one hadn’t been emptied in so long that I thought I was going to have to evacuate the house when I used it!

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