Pished purchases. Blunted buys. Spur of the moment splurges. What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever bought? Whether alcohol, weed or a complete lack of self-control are to blame, we’ve all made purchases we later regret.
You know the format by now: I’ll tell you mine, then, if you’re still trying to shirk work, you tell me yours in the comments.
Although this article slots into EU’s shiny new Best/Worst section, it’s actually a vintage piece which first appeared in my old weblog.
I’m reproducing it here because I think you’ll enjoy it and because the introduction that originally accompanied it seems timelier than ever. In September 2006 (when this article was composed in Craiginches prison), it began:
Everyone loves lists. I know this because I read it in an article about weblogs. To keep readers interested in your blog, it said, include the occasional list. Not of the shopping or things-to-do variety, but thematic: My Top 10 Female Sports or Partners Who Gave Me The Clap.
Fast forward to 2013 and the ‘listicle’ as it’s now known is the default format for entire media organisations. What I’m trying to say is that I’m partially to blame for the rise of Buzzfeed. Soz guys. I was just trying to make a funny list. If I’d known I was going to break the internet, I wouldn’t have bothered.
The Four Most Pointless Purchases Ever
Yeah, I bought a piñata. I might still have it somewhere, though I’ve yet to assail its papier-mâché ass with a blunt object.
I suppose I bought it because I was stoned and, like all stoned impulse buys, it seemed like a good idea at the time. It was purchased, along with a helium gas bottle for inflating balloons and £300 of other crap, during a 3am shopping trip to Asda. In mitigation, I think my flatmate and I had the munchies. OK, so that doesn’t explain the piñata, but then I shouldn’t have to explain it. It’s a Hispanic donkey made out of paper. It is what it is.
Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
Unlike the piñata, this was an inspired purchase if I say so myself. Completely, utterly pointless, but inspired nonetheless.
The RoboVac was a disc-like device that resembled a squashed Dalek. Once charged up and switched on, the £200 hoover would whine into life and embark on a haphazard journey across the living room. When it had finished the cleaning cycle, RoboVac would switch itself off and beep proudly to announce another job well done.
Although the RoboVac was meant as a labour-saving device, it saved no time at all because I used to sit and watch it go about its work, transfixed by this marvel of technology. Perhaps the most pointless thing about the RoboVac was that I already employed a cleaner, paying her £25 a week to maintain the flat. I assured her, however, that her job was still safe. She wasn’t being replaced by a machine, but rather complemented by one. Although as a hoover the RoboVac was superfluous, it made a great joint-passing device. Because of the random algorithms that controlled the motor, you could never be sure who would be next to receive the jook.
Taxi Ride to Nowhere
One Saturday, while chilling in my city centre flat, I decided to check out a beach party I’d heard about. It was reputedly being held near Stonehaven, 20 miles away. Flagging down a taxi, my flatmate, then-girlfriend and I jumped in and set off in search of this nebulous beach party. Because drinking in the taxi was prohibited, we decided to liven things up by necking a pill.
Halfway through the journey, we began coming up, much to the bemusement of the elderly driver, who must have been wondering why we had suddenly become so rowdy. Commandeering the old boy’s CD player, we began singing along to his Rod Stewart collection at full volume.
By the time we reached the rumoured location of the beach party, we were well and truly lost. Judging by all the other cars performing U-turns, we weren’t the only ones. After stopping near a lighthouse for an emergency piss, we got back into the taxi and instructed the driver to return to Aberdeen. The party on the beach was proving too elusive, but thankfully the party in our pockets had already done the trick. We arrived back at the flat 90 minutes after setting off, party-less but partying hard. Total cost of the taxi ride to nowhere? £67.
Reinforced Front Door
At the height of my weed dealing, I decided that it would be a good idea to get a reinforced front door. That way if the police tried to bust in, it would take them so long to get through the door I would have ample time in which to dispose of all the drugs. Given the quantities that were occasionally held in the flat, I have no idea how I would have gotten rid of it all; smoking the lot would have been impossible without whiteying out, while flushing it down the toilet would have blocked the pipes. Still, even if the police didn’t come knocking, a reinforced front door ought to deter other unwelcome visitors.
The door, which cost £900 to buy and install, was a monster. On the outside it looked like any other white PVC door but on the inside it was solid steel and as thick as a bank vault. Four stout locks secured it at top, bottom and middle, ensuring that if you ever lost your keys, it would be simpler to just abandon the flat and find a new one. The company who installed the door were the first to import them into Scotland, with their clients including then-Rangers boss Alex McLeish. If the door was strong enough to keep baying Celtic fans out of his abode, I figured, it was good enough for me. And so it proved to be.
When the police finally came to bust the flat, it took them 25 minutes to get through the door. I returned from town to find them still trying to get in, each one of the eight-strong drug squad taking turns with the battering ram. The po-po were exhausted and mightily pissed off, which explains why they didn’t cut me any slack down at the station.
Just as they were contemplating busting a hole in the wall, the door finally yielded. Had I put all four locks on when I left that morning, instead of just one, they’d probably still be trying to get in now. The filth later conceded that it was the toughest door they’d ever put in, a statistic I was quite proud of.
Although the door did its job admirably, unfortunately I didn’t do mine, having left three and a half grand lying on my bedroom floor because I couldn’t be bothered dropping it off at my safe house 100 yards away. Reinforced front doors can protect against police battering rams but they can’t protect against lazy drug dealers. Two weeks after the raid, I had a replacement reinforced door fitted, partly because I needed a new door and partly to ensure that the police earned their crust next time they came knocking.
The second reinforced door never had a chance to repel the hordes, for I moved out of the flat two weeks later, deciding that it had been compromised. Total cost of both front doors? £1,800. Total amount of drug money they prevented from falling into police hands? Minus £3,500.