Some of the Weirdest Impulse Buys People Made During the Pandemic

Some of the Weirdest Impulse Buys People Made During the Pandemic

A massive puzzle, fake insects, and… a cow?

The pandemic, and being flung into an apocalyptic world, have made us all a bit bizarre. 

Our dreams got weird, our eating habits were disrupted, and some of us lost our precious social skills. The pandemic also made us click “Order Now” on stuff we never considered bringing home before 2020.

Kathryn Smerling, a New York-based psychotherapist, explains why.

“I think it's so easy to just push a button,” Smerling tells VICE. “It's especially easy if your credit card is logged in and all you have to do is press send. You may be having a glass of wine, feeling sorry for yourself, having a fight with your partner. A click of a button then and you feel better.” 


But Smerling warns of a common consequence. “However, you often regret it later. While one item may appear to be a bargain, accumulating 20 bargain items adds up.”

But we’re only human, and hence, fallible. To make you feel less shitty about your impulse pandemic buys, we asked VICE readers to send in their own dubious purchases.


walkie talkies  shopping impulse buy coronavirus

“When cases began rising in India, my parents decided to stay indoors all the time. We decided to self-isolate in two different rooms but we needed to talk to each other too. So, I ordered a set of walkie-talkies through which we still talk. They could’ve called me on my cell phone, but I’m often busy with work-related calls or there are mobile network issues. Also, they remind me of playing cops-and-robbers as a child.” - Mehul Newaskar

Fake insects

fake insects shopping impulse buy coronavirus

“The lockdown boredom got the better of me so I ordered a fake cockroach and named it Kevin. I had a lot of fun posting funny Instagram stories with Kevin. Some people even thought Kevin was a real cockroach I’d adopted. I recently bought a new friend for Kevin too. Now we also have Peter, a fake lizard.” - Aditya Arora 

A plastic sheet


“The lockdown gave me the opportunity to take care of my hair. I’d frequently oil my hair, and use hair masks. But along with the added benefits came the issue of oil-stained and smelly pillow covers, cushions and bed sheets. That is when the plastic pillow cover came to my rescue. Now, I can chill all day on my bed with oily hair, without staining my sheets.” - Harshita Batra


Body massager

body massager shopping impulse buy coronavirus

”I bought this off Amazon where it’s sold as a body massager, but I actually use it as a vibrator. I was discussing the legality and availability of sex toys in India due to our strict laws, when a friend told me that I could buy this. When I saw it, I knew I had to buy it.” - Shivani

Litter pickers

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“My children asked to go litter picking after noticing how much rubbish was left in the woods where they like to play. Mindful of the current situation, I ordered some litter pickers. We then went back out with gloves, rubbish bags and the litter pickers to clean up everything we could. The children really enjoyed it and now we go out every few weeks, filling a bag of rubbish every time. It was entirely their idea; I just do as I’m told.” - Kim Johnson

A cow


“My family and I live on a farm. This March, after my mother’s persistent pleas, we bought a cow and its calf. My mother was under the impression that buying a cow would mean free milk, or at least cheaper milk. We used to pay 4,000 rupees ($54.58) for milk per month before we got the cow. Thanks to the cow’s medical care and fodder costs, we now spend 7,000 rupees ($95.52) per month. But hey, at least we get fresh milk.” - Ajeet Singh

A 1,000-piece puzzle

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“I felt like the puzzle was fun and looked like a smart person's hobby. An hour into doing it, I started crying because 1) the starry night pattern is a real bitch to piece together, 2) I cannot make a sound logistical plan to check if the pieces are complete and if I’m not going insane for not finding one of the edges, and 3) I might really be dumb.” - Corn Cornelio 


A kalimba


“I bought a kalimba on Amazon after a friend’s recommendation. I fell in love with the sound when I first got my hands on it and I’d play it to calm my nerves. I quit playing after the first wave tapered, but now that my city is back under lockdown, I’m thinking I’ll get back to it.” - Ankit Singh 

Granny panties

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“I bought five of these high-waisted combo packs, so like 40 granny panties. They’re soft, comfortable, perfect to wear as the only thing at home or under an oversized T-shirt. My ex loved thongs or lacy underwear which can be such a pain to wear. Thankfully, I’ve thrown her out along with that ridiculous underwear, and am thoroughly enjoying these ‘unsexy’ panties now.” - Anusha Ganesh

A foam roller

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“I bought a skipping rope last year but never used it. I also bought a foam roller after binge-watching Shark Tank. In one episode, a contestant tried pitching the foam roller as a fitness equipment and I immediately wanted to try it. I wanted to lose all the weight I’d gained during the lockdown but I only ended up pulling a muscle. I never used it again.” - Samyak Jain

A shit ton of eyeliners and rings

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“Online shopping gave me something to look forward to. The anticipation of the parcel and the temporary happiness of acquiring something new were a great way to distract myself from my mental health issues. I got obsessed with rings, jewellery, and eyeliners. I don't really know how and why but now I have a ton of brand new eyeliners in different colours lying around.” - Mudita Verma




“I ordered two kilos of clay last year to make terracotta jewellery. I was bored at home and I needed something to do. My family thought I was insane but I really enjoyed making jewellery. Unfortunately, making terracotta jewellery takes time and effort, and is also super messy, which is why I kinda gave up on it. But now, I have lots of clay just lying around.” - Aishwarya Nambiar

Hundreds of childhood favourite books

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“Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, Jeff Kinney, Meg Cabot… over the past year, I’ve been reading and reading the books and authors I grew up with. While I got some books from friends and online, I bought hundreds of books from pavement booksellers and even a local library that was shutting down. It’s been comforting to read these familiar names in such strange times.” - Saanvi Mehta

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