Last year I looked back with fond memories at the ten best things I ever bought.
At the time, I had intended to immediately publish a follow-up article up on the ten worst things I ever bought, but as you can see I got a bit side-tracked.
Anyway, after a lot of thought, I’m happy to say I finally finished.
Interestingly, this list was a lot more difficult to compile; unlike my ten best list, I really had to dig deep and think hard about the purchases that gave me the worst cases of buyer’s remorse.
So without further ado, here’s my list — in no particular order, of course. How does it compare to yours?
1. My first house
Purchase Date: 1990
Purchase Price: $114,000
Why it’s in my bottom ten: Okay, I said these items were in no particular order — but this one takes the cake. I bought my first house at the top of the market. As a result, I spent the next seven years owing more than it was worth — which meant I couldn’t sell it unless I wanted to shell out about $20,000 to the make my lender whole. So I chose to ride out the downturn, which is a reasonable strategy for most people. Unfortunately for me, this house was in a less-than-desirable neighborhood, just 100 yards from a very busy — and extremely loud — rail line that carried freight and commuter trains 24/7. I know.
2. Our ottoman
Purchase Date: 2000
Purchase Price: $400
Why it’s in my bottom ten: When we finally replaced our hand-me-down sectional with a brand new leather sofa and love seat set, the Honeybee insisted on getting the optional wheeled-ottoman too. “It’ll never get used,” I said. She insisted otherwise. Of course, she was right; but only because the kids used to pretend it was a car and “drive” it around the house. Now that the kids are older, the ottoman just sits in the corner, collecting dust.
3. A double stack guitar amplifier
Purchase Date: 1993
Purchase Price: $995
Why it’s in my bottom ten: When I was in my twenties, I had big dreams: I was going to be a rock and roll star! Of course, that meant playing the part — so I grew my hair out and bought a double stack guitar amplifier. Talk about overkill. I could have played Dodger Stadium with that thing if I wanted to. The trouble is, most of the time we were playing small bars and other venues that required more compact equipment with half the power — or less. Here’s a picture of it, with the cabinets actually sitting side-by-side in the right-hand side of the photograph:
4. A vacation in the Bahamas
Purchase Date: 1990
Purchase Price: $1000 (approximate)
Why it’s in my bottom ten: An ex-girlfriend decided to surprise me with a ridiculously-priced travel package “deal” to the Bahamas. For $199 we got a romantic “cruise” to our destination in Freeport, and seven days and six nights of lodging at a local “resort.” Of course, the airfare, food, and other expenses weren’t included but we didn’t care because we got the deal of a lifetime! Or so we thought. The “cruise” was on a rickety old glorified fishing boat and the “resort” was a run-down old apartment in the worst part of Freeport — miles from the beach. And it rained incessantly. Without a doubt, it was my worst vacation ever.
5. My Sony 400 CD player
Purchase Date: 2001
Purchase Price: $295
Why it’s in my bottom ten: Remember these things? The first time I laid eyes on Sony’s CDP-CX400, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Yes, the machines were humongous and bulky — after all, they tipped the scales at 9 pounds. True, they also had a clumsy programming interface. But this baby allowed me to store, play and shuffle 400 (!) music discs, which meant I could finally dump my space-wasting CD racks in the trash. Even so, my love affair with the CDP-CX400 ended less than a year after I bought it. That’s because Apple unleashed a brand new invention called the iPod, which essentially rendered the CDP-CX400 obsolete.
6. My backyard irrigation system
Purchase Date: 1998
Purchase Price: $1500 (approximate)
Why it’s in my bottom ten: When evaluating multiple contractor bids for anything, the lowest price is not necessarily the best deal — especially if the lowest price is significantly less than the other offers. To this day I’m occasionally reminded exactly why I was able to get such a “great” deal on my irrigation system, the answer revealed every time a sprinkler pipe bursts thanks to the shoddy material the contractor used to cut corners.
7. Movie rental: “The Good German”
Purchase Date: 2009
Purchase Price: $1 (rental price)
Why it’s in my bottom ten: Laugh all you want. This movie was so bad that if I had snuck into the theater to see it I’d still demand my money back. Anyway, if you’re a glutton for punishment, you can check out my official movie review here.
8. My Los Angeles Kings Alexei Zhitnik hockey jersey
Purchase Date: 1994
Purchase Price: $120
Why it’s in my bottom ten: Back in 1994, it was time to buy myself a new Los Angeles Kings hockey jersey. Of course, being the
contrarian doofus that I am, I decided it would be cooler to have promising young defenseman Alexei Zhitnik’s name and number (2) sewed onto the back of it. After all, everybody had a Kings jersey with the great Wayne Gretzky’s name and number (99) on it. Dumb move. Less than a year later, the Kings traded Zhitnik to the Buffalo Sabres for a Zamboni machine and a couple of old hockey pucks. I still wear the jersey on occasion — but I’ll always regret not putting Gretzky’s name on the back when I had the chance.
9. My whirlpool tub
Purchase Date: 1997
Purchase Price: $600
Why it’s in my bottom ten: When we bought our current home, the builder asked us if we wanted to “upgrade” our master bath with a whirlpool tub. Being young and naive, I jumped at the chance. Big mistake. Within a few months of moving into our new home, it was painfully obvious that the disadvantages of whirlpool tubs far outweigh their advantages. So much so that we never use ours anymore. Trust me: whirlpool tubs are for suckers.
10. A very disappointing dinner in Maui
Purchase Date: 2011
Purchase Price: $150.00 (tip included)
Why it’s in my bottom ten: The Honeybee and I were vacationing in Wailea, Hawaii and happened upon a fine dining place that was showcasing photos of the owner posing with rocker Steven Tyler in the restaurant’s dining room. Cool! Naturally, we figured if Steven Tyler was willing to pose for pictures with the owner, the food there must be fabulous, right? Wrong. To make a long story short, the food was terrible — not to mention over-priced. You can bet that’s the last time I ever go to any restaurant with photos of Steven Tyler at the front door.
Photo Credit (truck): p. Gordon