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Jeruba's avatar

What really bad purchasing decision have you made? and were you able to fix your mistake, or did you just have to live with your regrets?

Asked by Jeruba (46094points) September 25th, 2011

To be really bad, it also has to be fairly big. How big is that? Big enough that you couldn’t just afford to ditch the poor choice and buy another whatever-it-was.

Whether that’s on the scale of a car for you or a pair of shoes, a TV or a house, the point is that it was an expensive and painful error.

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19 Answers

wildpotato's avatar

Laser hair removal. It was very expensive, it didn’t work well, I did not have good customer service experiences, and I ended up getting an extremely itchy skin rash just after going there for the final time.

I decided to live with the regret. I suppose I could probably go back in and demand more treatments, but the thought of the skin rash keeps me away. The etiology of pityriasis rosea is unknown, so there is not really an option to confront them about it – but even if the connection isn’t real, I’ll avoid anything that might possibly have been a cause in order to keep from experiencing that torment again.

Cruiser's avatar

I traded in my Ford Expedition for the Explorer thinking I would save big-time on gas. On paper it looked good and was pumped to finally spend less on gas….I got 1…ONE mpg more than my moose Expedition with a fraction of the room and performance. I was very pissed at Ford for this and still am.


I paid $1,500.00 for a heavy 10K men’s ring recently, and I think I overpaid for it. It’s not a really valuable ring, though the design is nice and masculine looking, but I still paid full retail price for it. I kind of regret buying it, but I’m stuck with it now. I bought it when the price of gold was at a high, so that was a mistake too! Oh well.

zenvelo's avatar

I bought a used 1968 Dodge Charger in 1976 for 1,000 dollars. It was worth about 500, needed work and was a gas guzzler. Plus I could have gotten it for 800 but I was terrible at haggling and didn’t “read” the seller. But I was naive and I needed a car.

In two months it would barely run, and I couldn’t afford to get it fixed. A friend helped, but it needed parts. I ended up selling it for scrap two years later.

Facade's avatar

The only thing I can think of is all the money I’ve spent on “hair care” in the past. Getting a relaxer every 5 weeks was at least $60 per salon visit, and I did that for over ten years. Not to mention the money I’ve spent on weave. Good weave is very expensive, around $50 a pack, and I always needed at least two packs. So that plus however much the hair stylist charges, results in an obscene amount of money wasted over the years. It’s embarrassing. Now I do my own hair =)

TexasDude's avatar

It wasn’t necessarily a huge deal, but I bought what I thought was a British no.5 Lee-Enfield “jungle carbine,” which is a rather rare-ish and highly desirable collectible rifle. When I disassembled it for cleaning and inspection, I discovered that it was very crudely made and likely a copy from the infamous Khyber Pass region which is known for producing knock-offs of weapons. The rifle is an interesting conversation piece, but it’s unsafe to fire and nobody wants to buy it from me, so I’m stuck with it as a $400 paperweight. It’s grown on me, but I still wish I hadn’t blown $400 on it and that I could at least shoot it without risking blowing my own face off.

lillycoyote's avatar

One more vehicle mistake. The Dodge Dakota. It really wasn’t a bad truck, beautifully cared for by the previous owner. I purchased a small travel trailer intending to tow it with my dad’s truck but when they went to install the tow package they couldn’t do it because the truck’s frame was rusted out and it wouldn’t be safe. My dad had towed a boat with the truck and backing it into the water to launch the boat over the years had cause the frame to rust. So, I suddenly found myself in the market for a new vehicle that I could tow the trailer with. I prefer a manual transmission and the pickings among used vehicles are kind of slim if you are looking for a standard. I bought the Dakota without looking around at my alternatives as much as I should have. It was a nice truck, just not the one for me. I test drove it in the fall, when the fall sun shines into your eyes and almost blinds you. After I purchased in and drove it around for a while I kind of realized I was a little too short to drive it and that it had a lot of blind spots that made it uncomfortable and awkward for me to drive. It sat around for a while, while I went back and forth about what to do with it. I had kind of paid too much for it to begin with and I only finally just sold it about two months ago and took a pretty good hit on it. I sold it at a real loss but the longer it sat around the less it was worth and I was paying for insurance on it every month so it was way past time to get rid of it and just take my licks. It’s gone now. Lesson learned.

Nimis's avatar

I bought a Leica DSLR on eBay. It was described as being in excellent condition, but it was always a little wonky. It also came without a cord. The seller had excellent feedback, but did not feel he was responsible because he was selling for a friend and he wasn’t familiar with the camera…blah, blah.

At the time, eBay didn’t have any of its Buy Protection Programs yet. Had to just bite the cost. Needless to say, I don’t buy electronics on eBay anymore.

XD's avatar

I bought a used ‘94 Pathfinder for $5,000 at a credit union sale, because it was the cheapest car available and at the time it was important to me not to have a car payment (although I did have to borrow from my dad). It was actually a trade that another buyer brought in that very day. I found out in the following weeks that I needed new tires, new brakes and a new head gasket, which added up to around $3,000 or $3,500 worth of fixing. Eventually, I paid back my dad and paid off the repair bills (which I had put on my credit card, and shortly after everything was paid, I totaled the car in a crash that was completely my fault. After that, I decided I might as well get something nice and have a car payment.

The other purchase was an $1,100 or $1,200 mini-DV HD camcorder, which I picked because flash memory camcorders weren’t quite up to the same picture quality as mini-DV and because the camera filmed in 1080i which was the same specs as our HD TV and iMovie ‘06. Sometime thereafter, I discovered the immediate relevance of the distribution channel and made a mess of a very decent video by trying to compress everything to 360p or whatever YouTube was before it went hi-def. I also discovered how much of a drag it is to capture an hour of mini-DV to a hard drive, and also enjoyed the subsequent rise in quality and drop in price of flash memory camcorders, not to mention the ascendance of the Flip and its clones. Sadly, it has not paid for itself and sees very little use.

john65pennington's avatar

My purchase was not really that big, but because of the interesting circumstances surrounding it, I thought it might be interesting for everyone to read.

I went to a yard sale. I really had no intentions of buying anything, but this one item, caught my eye. It was an electronic bingo game. Since my wife and I play bingo often, I thought this electronic bingo game would suffice for us on rainy days, when we stayed home.

I read all the directions on the box. The game had no batteries in it, so I had to trust the seller, that the game worked. I paid $3.00 for it.

On the way home, I stopped and purchased the four batteries it required. We were all set to play a home-bound version of bingo, a couple of nights later.

I flipped on the switch to the game and was ready to be a winner. The game made several strange noises, as it warmed up.

The first number was about to be called. I hear a strange voice in another language, that I did not understand.

IT WAS JAPANESE! The whole electronic bingo game was in the Japanese language.

The seller did not lie in the sale of this game. It did work, but he failed to tell me that the electronic bingo caller was only in the Japanese language.

We headed out the door to see a movie.


@john65pennington I would have gladly helped. lol….wink

Jeruba's avatar

Our 13-year-old refrigerator was making death rattles. One day the ice cream was soupy, and the next it was like a rock. The repairman said it would cost $400 to replace the whatever-it-was (compressor, maybe?) that was about to fail completely.

We went shopping, somewhat grimly, because we already knew from the last time that our choices were limited. The one and only space where the unit will fit in our old kitchen is too narrow for contemporary models. We simply can’t buy a top-quality refrigerator that is also narrow enough for the space.

We actually contemplated completely redoing our kitchen to get away from this limitation once and for all. But we balked at the expense as well as the utter disruption.

Ultimately we settled for one that I knew was less than satisfactory but that would fit in our carefully measured space with ¼” to spare. The salesman said that was enough for ventilation.

The delivery men took out our dying fridge and brought in the new one. They sized up the space, and the foreman said, “Even if it doesn’t fit, it’s yours. We don’t take it back.” My heart sank right then. I wanted to call the whole thing off and get our old one back in and pay the $400 repair bill.

But I didn’t.

Alas, alas. When we’d measured the space, we didn’t take into account the lip of the tile counter.

Already I hated the new refrigerator. Now it sat in the middle of the kitchen floor, nearly filling the room, and our stored food sat in coolers with melting ice while we made frantic phone calls, trying to find a handyman who could trim the counter. After half a day a guy came in with a special saw and sliced off the edge of the counter, inevitably ruining the tile. The refrigerator went in with a big scratch along its side, making it irreversibly ours, while we tried and failed to recover our old one from the delivery service.

Now we have a too-small refrigerator with an awkwardly designed, space-wasting interior and a big scratch down the side, a unit that will be almost impossible to remove and even harder to replace when it wears out in its turn. I hate it and am stuck with it. So I punish it by refusing to adopt it emotionally. I won’t even put my magnets on it. I’m just waiting for it to fail in another decade or so, and I won’t be sorry to see it go.

skfinkel's avatar

So funny Jeruba, although only in the telling, I realize. What frustration!

Jeruba's avatar

@skfinkel, and I didn’t even put in the part about the automatic icemaker, which takes up about ¼ of the small freezer space and which we can’t even use because there is no way to hook it up to a water source.

Wish I could figure out how to make lemonade out of this lemon. Really the only satisfaction I am getting out of it is indulging guilt-free in wholehearted loathing and mentally and verbally abusing the thing every chance I get.

Judi's avatar

I had a 128 unit apartment building painted and chose a color that turned out hideous. It was so bad that we had a hard time renting apartments because of it. We repainted in less than a year.

Jeruba's avatar

@Judi, what color was it?

I once withdrew my application from a company where I’d gone for a job interview because the facade was such an ugly color that I knew I couldn’t stand to see it every day. When I called and withdrew, I told them why, too.

Judi's avatar

It was a really dark blue green. Please don’t make me tink about it to long. It just makes me want to crawl up in a ball ~

Jeruba's avatar

The building I didn’t want to work in was a very dark shade of green, what would have been a true paintbox green but with enough black in it to make it look really evil, especially on a large and very shiny surface. <shudder> I didn’t need the job that much.

zensky's avatar

I bought a relatively inexpensive recliner – hoping to get what I wanted but not pay the big bucks of the name brand leather lazyboys.


Next time I am paying the big bucks. You get what you pay for.

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