The Big Question

What Is Your Biggest Buyer’s Remorse?

by Grace Bonney


We’ve been asking a lot of BIG QUESTIONS lately, like what your dirtiest (literally) housekeeping secret is and what your childhood bedroom looked like. But today we’re tackling a more serious topic: buyer’s remorse. Buyer’s remorse is defined as, “the sense of regret after having made a purchase. It may stem from fear of making the wrong choice, guilt over extravagance, or a suspicion of having been overly influenced by the seller.” It’s not a feeling any of us want to have, but it’s one we’ve all felt at one time or another. Maybe you bought a new pillow you didn’t need or splurged on a piece of furniture that you later found for a lower price elsewhere? No matter the item, the feeling stays the same, and it’s one of the reasons we’re focusing on mindful purchases this year. Remorse aside, there’s always a lesson to be learned from decisions like these, so today we’re sharing OUR biggest buyer’s remorse moments and want to hear yours, too.

SHARE YOUR STORY BELOW: What is your biggest buyer’s remorse item and what did you learn from the experience?

Grace: Last month, Julia and I bought our first (used) car together. The experience was incredibly frustrating – we had to call the dealership’s corporate number and file a BBB complaint at the end of the day – but I felt such a need to just get what we wanted and get out of the store that I still regret not standing up for myself and walking out without making the purchase. I got so excited about finally having a little car of our own that I let that urgency and desire cloud my judgment, causing me to not have the patience and resolve that may have ended with us finding a better dealership that would have respected us, and our purchase, more. In the end I’ve learned – just like when I’m at the grocery store – to never shop hungry. Not only did the salespeople see us coming from a mile away, but I let my eagerness outweigh my desire to have a pleasant and professional transaction happen. Lesson learned, I’m never buying anything on my first visit unless I feel treated well.

Amy: I’m pretty careful with my home and clothing purchases. I do have the odd dress that I don’t wear but I really do try to spend money on experiences rather than things. I’m a big fan of yoga and a couple of years ago, I started reading about Ayurveda and got interested in the whole philosophy. So I did some googling and scheduled an appointment with an Ayurvedic doctor. The appointment was a little expensive but I felt like my health was worth it so even though I was on a strict budget at the time, I splurged on the appointment. I was a little underwhelmed by the advice and then for some reason, at the end of the appointment, after the doctor wrote out an eating plan, she brought out the supplements that I should take and I bought all of them! I have no idea what possessed me to spend eighty dollars on Indian herbal supplements after spending money on an appointment! Even as I was pulling out my card, I knew that I was going to regret it. I ended up feeling too nervous about the strange supplements to even break the seal (AND I waited too long to even take them back). The whole experience, of my healing appointment, turning into a sales pitch) turned me off of Ayurveda – which is a little bit of a bummer.

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  • Although I have some clothes that I really didn’t need (and still haven’t worn), I suffer from lack-of-buying-remorse more often. You see something, it seems just right, and you wait just slightly too long to go back and buy it, and it’s gone. Never to be seen again except in longing moments or photos you took of it. This is especially bad when traveling; I still wish we’d asked the price of the iron pot in this little store in Japan, which we won’t be able to get back to for some time.

  • As a painter and seller of vintage furniture, I frequently use craigslist as a source for pieces. I fell in love with a particular dresser from the listing, asked all the questions, agreed on a price, went to pick it up, and it did not have a back! I guess I forgot to ask–who knew? I should have left it there, and the seller didn’t budge on the price, but I paid it anyway. Still regretting that transaction.

  • I agree with Susanna – I’m a very tentative shopper – sometimes to my regret. We just returned from a family trip to Morocco and – while it was probably a good decision at the time – I’m regretting not purchasing a rug, a bag, some ceramics that I loved – but just couldn’t pull the trigger in the moment. But they’re also just “things” and the experience and trip was the adventure of a lifetime – so for that, I will never regret.

  • I’ve had a lot of remorseful buys, but most expensive were: laser eye surgey (I’m still on the fence about it – 20/40 in one eye now with terrible permanent dry-eye and light halos, but am more functional than I was before with glasses…), a used car that turned out to be a lemon (similar experience as Grace), and a mountain bike I had built by a local bike shop that I rode twice (oy).

    Most recent experience: during an extremely bad bout of bad-body-image (don’t even get me started about American standards for beauty and bathing suit shopping), I paid for overnight shipping to get a one-piece swimsuit delivered in time for an upcoming beach trip. Because I felt so desperate to cover up my belly (rather than wear my bikini) and hated the idea of trying on swimsuits in the store, I paid $23 extra for what turned out to be an unflattering and uncomfortable swimsuit (80’s neon high-cut badness). I felt so ashamed of this intense self-criticism as I watched a beautiful woman 100+ pounds heavier than I rocking a teeny-tiny bikini and frolicking happily with her kids in the surf/sand. She looked great, and much happier than my sulky butt!

  • I’m pretty sure anyone who leaves a car dealership not feeling taken advantage of is fooling themselves. That sucks that you had that experience, Grace. All buyers, but especially nice people, should be treated with respect.

    I regret buying cheap stuff–clothes, bicycles, vacuums, kitchen equipment, furniture. I try to buy for the long term to save myself money and hassle down the road (and keep junk out of landfills). Sometimes I am trying to save money. Sometimes you really can’t tell which product is the better value.

  • I used to be something of a spendthrift, I’m sorry to say. I’ve had a buy American, no sweatshop labor, natural/recyclable/biodegradable materials rule for years but still managed to buy lots and lots of things that I didn’t need and couldn’t really afford. Now, after realizing that being able to “afford” something =/= just being able to buy it and still pay rent that month, I’ve kind of swung to the opposite end of the spectrum and I despise shopping. Similarly to the commenters above, I have a great deal of trouble “pulling the trigger” on purchases even if I know they are smart, essential even, and that I can comfortably, actually, afford them. This is particularly true of clothes and shoes. The result is that I only have about one or two outfits in my closet at a time and put off replacing clothes until it’s an emergency (like, holes in the crotch of my only pair of pants; nothing–and not just “nothing” but truly nothing–to wear to a job interview, etc.) Then, under pressure, I have to buy something super quick and it’s not always the best value or something I really love. So, I guess, everything in moderation, especially moderation! But I’ll still take my minimalist penny-pinching neuroses over credit-card debt and a home full of stuff I don’t need ANY day of the week. My balance is remaining at zero.

  • I spent a stupid amount of money on my prom dress, in anticipation of the magical night that you always hear about. I was pretty disappointed with the mediocrity of it all, and I think I would have been much happier if I didn’t have such high expectations. However, I did learn a valuable lesson about myself. I’m a more down-to-earth person who prefers simpler pleasures and experiences, and I don’t much care for pomp and circumstance. So at least I won’t be making the same mistake twice.

  • The purchase I regret the most is a house my husband and I bought several years ago. We lived there less than 5 years bc of job relocation. At the time, I was pregnant and we were making good money and just felt we HAD to have a house. House = American dream had been drilled into both of us. In the end, it was a real lemon and more than we could afford. We had been climbing out of a credit card debt hole and were almost there when the house purchase undid a lot of our progress. Now, older and wiser, I get that a “home” is much more important than an actual house, and we love our little 2-br apartment.

  • A pair of shoes. I’ve had regrets about not buying things in the moment (never to have the opportunity again) and I’ve probably spent more money on bad purchases however this one pair of shoes haunts me. They are one Euro size too big (and still big with ‘thick socks’) and though on a sale rack, more money than I spend on the typical pair of shoes (especially just ’cause). Obviously I was in a mood to buy and all sales are final, so they sit in my closet taunting me each time I open it. I think I’ve worn them once.

  • I just bought a Toyota Avalon Limited, which is a gorgeous car and exactly what I wanted. But I had enormous buyers remorse after the purchase because it was so clean and beautiful (cream leather interior!) and I have two small boys and two dogs. I actually felt I had made an irresponsible purchase because I would be always worried about keeping it clean. Some of the feeling wore off with time, and some was taken care of with some excellent cleaning products that I keep ready. Still haven’t let the dogs in the car though.

  • Mine is our car – I agree with Grace, I wish we hadn’t bought it on our first visit! While I like our car and the dealership was great, I wish we had shopped around more and bargained better. Now we know for next time!

  • I could have written Grace’s anecdote VERBATIM with the addition that we traveled out of state to go see and drive what I was already convinced was going to be our new-to-us car. I was too gushy about the car in front of the salespeople and we let one of them ride in the car during out test drive. Major mistake, as she prattled on and on the whole time so we weren’t really focusing on the quality of the car’s performance and able to have a frank discussion in private. Our experience with the sales team was pretty unpleasant overall but in spite of that I felt a weird obligation to take the plunge and BUY A WHOLE CAR right then. Instead of using the distance we traveled to our advantage, as in “once we drive away we’re never coming back”, we totally gave off “well we should buy it since we came all this way” vibes. It turns out, our new-to-us used car had a major, very expensive problem within a week of purchase. We were able to sue the dealership under the lemon law (and won) but the whole experience was uneccesarily draining and drawn out, all because I thought the car was cute and didn’t want to go home empty-handed. I’ve learned now to force myself to take time to consider such a big decision, not worry about offending salespeople for “wasting their time”, and to test-drive cars without a salesperson riding along!

  • My most recent story of buyers remorse is a really silly one. During the recession, my husband and I hit some lean times. Those times have improved over the last three years, but there are still small household things we used up during that period and haven’t gotten around to replacing. For example, we need to replace power adapters for both of our macs, my husband needs an entirely new laptop, etc.

    One thing we have both really needed is to refresh our wardrobes with quality items. We hit a point where our sturdiest staples were done with, but only get replaced with cheap, temporary items. So I’ve FINALLY begun replacing those things a few pieces each month.

    Now to my sever case of buyer’s remorse: a couple months ago we committed to attend a certain type of party with some friends and we all purchased tickets. The event required that I have a tropical outfit. I never wear things like this, but I was determined to find something I’d feel comfortable in and enjoy. I ended up buying seven different garments from ebay trying to come up with something that looked good. The one that worked was a skirt that I bought in a size 28 (!) and had altered down to a normal size to fit me. All in all, I probably spent more than $200 on various bids and the alteration. And that’s not counting the accessories! What was I thinking????

  • I learned the hard way that purchases on the internet should be made judiciously. I used to follow a site that rhymes with jab.com and got suckered into buying a blanket made of recycled saris. I fell in love with the description and variety of blankets to choose from, how each one was unique, and dropped 200 bucks on what I thought was a sari blanket made of cream and white patterned fabrics. The thing comes in the mail and it’s blue with terrible splotches everywhere, with a tag that said that the quilting fabrics were usually sourced from faulty dye baths. The online description did not mention the way the fabrics were sourced, so if I had known that was the case I might have been less surprised. The photo only showed a corner of the blanket and I felt was quite deceptive in what I saw vs what I got. On top of that, the quilt was non-refundable. I was devastated and embarrassed. So I held onto it for almost 3 years, until a couple weeks ago when I took it to Goodwill as a donation. Hopefully someone will come across it and think of a cool way to repurpose it.

  • This post makes me so, so grateful that I am VERY realistic about what I do and do not like. Working retail throughout high school and buying every little thing I liked, taught me some valuable lessons regarding the idea of wanting/needing something vs. simply coveting the item.

    I bought my car on a whim when I wasn’t even planning on car shopping but I’m a hard bargain and know what I’m willing to pay and didn’t budge an inch on the deal but also made it very clear that I was willing to walk away. It was such a pleasant surprise to leave for a day of errands and come home in a new car! Also, the sourpuss on the salesman’s face was priceless as we drove away knowing we got a very strict deal on the car.

    But in my opinion, with modern day return policies, it seems almost impossible to have buyer’s remorse. Sure there are caveats with large ticket items but for the most part, just about anything can be returned. I will never comprehend the mentality of not wanting to return something even though you’re are entirely within your rights to do so.

  • A few years ago I saw a Pottery Barn rug on Craigslist that was just what I wanted, but not cheap. We drove across town to look at it. The room was dimly lit and it wasn’t until we got the damn thing home and got a good look at it we saw that it had candle wax drips all over it and smelled really nasty. We spent more money having it professionally cleaned, but nothing helped and it ended up at the curb on garbage day.

  • Anthropologie pillows. I love the idea of them and how they look, but they aren’t exactly USEFUL. We don’t need more decorative pillows in our lives and even though the ones we have our beautiful they are no longer practical for our life with a four year old and my husband’s desperate plea to not have things lying on the floor after we go to bed. I want to give them away to someone who will love them, but so far no one will claim them, and I still find myself drooling over the pillow offerings on the Anthro website, even now! SO silly!

  • Oh man, I got a digital perm a month ago at a little Korean salon a friend had recommended. It’s amazing how many bad decisions come from places of insecurity! I’d been feeling ugly and gross, and felt I needed a change. I thought glamorous waves would do it, but I ended up looking like white trash. Four hours and $200 later, the woman who did it kept telling me how pretty I looked, but I was dubious. The curl didn’t take, and my hair was flat by the next day. It was a blessing and a curse I paid WAY too much for.

  • Well – I bought a white leather couch and chairs when I had a dying dog and an infertility problem. The dog rallied, and I had another baby and then got a puppy and the white furniture has not aged well. The salesmen kept talking about how easy it was to clean, not about how often I’d have to clean it! I must have also had shorter hair at the time because now my hair is getting caught in the buttons. Impractical! It still looks pretty good from across the room, but I would have done things differently if I was a smarter and more practical person.

  • Like Maeve, I also got suckered by “jab.com”. I spent $450 on a hand-stitched quilt that I just loved online. It was a hot mess in person. The stitches were crooked, uneven, and a bunch of them have pulled through the fabric. The fabric itself is also an absolute hair and fuzz magnet. I hid the thing in the closet for 2 years before I could bear to bring it out and force myself to use it.

  • Yep….the first house my husband and I bought. We were fresh out of grad school with good jobs in a mid-sized city and hopes to start a family in a few years. So, we found a cute cookie-cutter house out in the suburbs and while it was nice, we should have rented something downtown and spent the latter part of our 20s walking to brunch on Saturday and meeting friends at concerts in the park down the street instead of driving to whatever mini-mall or staying in and watching Netflix for fun because often it felt “too far” to drive downtown where exciting things were happening. Plus, when we ended up relocating three years later it took 9 months to sell it. Agh! Now, being mid-thirty-ish with two little kids in tow we’re finally taking that risk and moving to Chicago, to the CITY not the suburbs, because we’ve always wanted to experience urban living. In the past month we’ve sold one of our cars, half of our furniture, our current house (which is an incredibly beautiful old farmhouse with literally a view of a field and red barn outside our window…..I called it my dream house but have realized that, you know, it’s just a house) and are moving into an apartment with no yard. In the past month I’ve had moments where I’m like, “wow, it’s nice here and safe and spacious” but that’s what everyone says when they move to the suburbs and never end up anywhere interesting (nothing against suburban living and it surely can be interesting but…..you know what I mean). I guess I don’t want to get trapped by doing what is “right” according to whatever current standard instead of doing what feels “right” on the inside. It will be an adventure for sure….maybe our next stop will by NYC….or maybe Europe….who knows! But, no more mortgage for now….yippeee!

  • With buyer’s remorse hopefully comes a lesson learned. Mine lesson is that if you have a strong feeling for a design decision, don’t let someone talk you into something else. I regret the marble countertop I bought for our master bathroom. I wanted something different but getting it was proving difficult so I let our contractor talk me into going with the marble. I hate it but changing it would mean $$ and a waste of a perfectly good piece of marble, so I’m living with it.

  • My husband is somewhat of a car fiend so whenever we are preparing to make a purchase we do a lot of research to determine what fair market value of the car is in different regions by finding similar vehicles, what the blue book value is and what we’re willing to pay before we ever step foot on the lot. So we automatically reject any online ads we see for cars that are overly priced. Sure, the dealership knows we want a specific car and we don’t usually talk them down too much but we are comfortable with the deal we’re getting before we even speak with dealers.

    My biggest buyers remorse has been paint that I bought by the gallon without buying a test pot, specifically the Benjamin Moore Advance paint for our kitchen cabinets. The worst part was we couldn’t remix the nearly full can because the new paint color needed a different base. I’ll never buy the pricey BM paint for a project like that again without testing it first.

  • re: Craigslist purchases. Never assume that just because something is in its original package that it’s perfect. I bought some shelves off Craigslist that were in the original box, sealed with tape and everything (the seller claimed he had no use for it), and when I opened the box the next morning I found a bunch of extra parts I didn’t need, parts I actually needed nowhere to be found, and an entire missing shelf! Don’t think I have to tell you which company the shelves were from.

    Thought I was getting a good deal, but getting the necessary parts was a nightmare, and one of the shelves is still missing to this day, making my purchase only sort of useful.

  • It’s not a surprise that so many of these are car related. My biggest regret is the purchase of a 1987 Toyota Tercel when I was desperate for a car. It had a bum catalytic converter that I even knew about when I purchased it. It wouldn’t pass smog no matter how much I tried. It was by far the dumbest purchase I’ve ever made. I agree with the advice to never shop hungry. So true!

  • My most recent regret was an art class I took from a good friend. I found out that his teaching style totally did not match my learning style and I ended up skipping out on class a lot. I felt bad because he’d been very happy that I wanted to take the class and was very excited to share his knowledge. The friendship survived but I’m hoping no one asks me about the class.

  • My largest piece of buyer’s remorse, aside from the occasional dress or pair of shoes, is something I call “my $1400 mistake.” After helping my mom out during a rough time, she wanted to give me a gift and offered to pay to re-upholster the 1945 lounge chair that I had inherited from my grandfather and still had the original (badly worn) fabric. I agonized over what fabric to choose, knowing I wouldn’t be able to afford to change it for years, and ordered all kinds of fabric samples – being an architect gave me WAY too many options for sweet free fabric swatches! But whenever I decided on something that I loved and thought was appropriate for the chair, someone else would voice a dissenting opinion and sway me away from it. In the end, I punted and let my boyfriend make the final choice from a handful of fabrics. He picked a green-on-green pattern that sort of looks like huge, pixelated flowers, giving it a bit of a camouflage feel. Its super durable – and he is a carpenter, and would frequently come home and sit in the chair in dusty clothes – so I agreed that it was a practical choice and letting him make the decision was my way of showing that it was his chair, too, since we were planning on getting married. Well, the chair finally arrived after I paid for an expensive, cross-country trip from my mom’s house, and I realized instantly that I had made the wrong decision. On the scale of the chair and matching ottoman, the fabric looked really garish and 70s, and I knew it would look dated far too soon. I was heart-broken when I re-visited the fabrics that I had been drawn to (a classic Knoll check, a dark plaid that reminded me of my grandfather’s shirts, etc….) but that friends had talked me out of. And to top it all off, my boyfriend and I broke up only a few months later, leaving me with my favorite chair as a glaring reminder of my mistake – both in choosing a fabric and a mate! It’s still my favorite place in the house to sit, but here’s hoping that slip covers come back into style soon….

  • My couch. It’s a futon, really. I had to put it together and I did it wrong and I can’t be bothered to fix it. So it’s the most uncomfortable thing to ever sit on. It’s white and it has wooden arms and it’s pretty, but so, so hard on your bum. URGH.

  • So many cabinets and bookshelves that ended in DIY fails! I blame D*S ;) Not really, I blame major procrastination and a lack of patience.

  • One of my biggest regrets is purchasing two rugs under the influence of mint tea and a persuasive sales man at a Marrakech rug emporium. I knew I would buy a rug while in Morocco, but I spent more than I’ve ever spent on any one home item ever. When the rugs finally arrived, I realized I didn’t even like them and should have splurged on a Beni Ourain instead, which is what I really wanted. I learned to trust your gut and get what you really want. Don’t let a sales person steer you another way because they really want to sell that particular item.

  • I’m very familiar with buyers remorse and have experienced many of the things folks are talking about! Grace, I also had a bad experience with a VW dealership (about 10 years ago) and vowed I’d never buy from a dealership again. But I did. I love the car we have now (it is a used pre-owned Scion), but I left the sales floor feeling horrible. That I didn’t negotiate enough. That I made a whim of a decision on something so important. My wife was out of town and I called her in tears (bawling, actually) that we made a terrible decision and that I hated the car. That it was ugly and that the engine was too small. And that we spent too much. After several weeks, I eventually got over it (and now I get along with the car just fine), but I sure learned my lesson. Do not let an adorable car sway you. Do your research and only pay with what you are comfortable with. And negotiate even to the point of walking away. Believe me, the sales guys will always come back with a counter offer…..

  • I’m mildly obsessive about researching the heck out of anything I buy/invest in, so by the time I’m ready to plop down money, I am almost always 100% in and end up happy with my purchase. This bit me in the butt when I decided to have a custom wedding dress made by a tailor several friends had used to alter theirs (note alter =/= create from scratch). Months of waiting for her to start making it and time spent going in for fittings ended in a silk dress that fit like a glove and looked…not at all like anything I would ever, ever choose to wear. This, only two weeks before my wedding. I ended up frantically searching for a dress online and found the perfect one at Neiman Marcus, which thanfully fit like a glove and I still love it (doesn’t hurt that it was 50% off!). It ended well, but the original custom dress still sits in my closet as a reminder to stick to what I know (which isn’t fashion design).

  • My buyer’s remorse almost always comes from shoe purchases. I’m a size 10.5, but many women’s shoes aren’t made in half sizes above size 10, so I’m often either squeezing into a 10 and hoping the shoes stretch, or wearing thick socks with size 11’s. So unfortunately there are a couple of nice pairs of shoes sitting in the back of my closet that have those fit issues, and it took me a couple of wears (rendering them past a returnable state) to realize it.

    And then when it comes to actually splurging on and ordering really nice size 10.5 shoes, often (like several posters above) I’m too cheap to pull the trigger!

  • Buyer’s remorse is pretty rare for me these days, since I’m an obsessive researcher (former grad student!) and decent deal hunter. But I’ve got a pair of shoes sitting in my office that make me sad, despite my best efforts. They’re from a very reputable Canadian shoe company that apparently started outsourcing their manufacturing just before I bought a (rather expensive) pair, at least in part because my style-icon lady friend exclusively wears their stuff and swears by them. They seemed great in the store, but they’re not at all the quality that I was expecting, now that I’ve worn them for a few months, and they’re not holding up well. Makes me super mad that I bought them for myself as a “congrats on your first real job!” present and instead of making me feel fabulous, they disappoint me every time I put them on.

  • My house. It was 2009 and my then-fiance and I had an opportunity to take advantage of the real estate depression. We’d been shopping for a year and couldn’t find what we needed in our price range. He said one Wednesday evening in August, “I’m done looking for this year. Let’s try again next spring.” I agreed … but had been in the habit of checking the new listings and logged on one more time to validate that there just wasn’t anything on the market we wanted. Lo and behold! a home had just dropped into our price range after 18 months on the market. It looked perfect in every way, plus it was on a mountaintop. I showed him, with the caveat, “just look…. and I will never say another word.” He looked. He reached for his car keys and said, “call the realtor and tell him we’re on our way to look at it. Now.” We signed the contract that night. Later I learned that we could have had our cake and extra frosting if I’d been just a little more patient and not afraid of losing the good deal to another bargain hunter… as it turns out, about 50% of the neighborhood was for sale and for the same price we could have gotten all we had, plus a picture postcard view worth $100K more. This is particularly agonizing for me today because I don’t watch TV … but I do sit on the patio or at the kitchen table and stare out the window to decompress. If I could be lounging of the sofa looking up at the nearby mountain peak or out over the lake, I know I’d love my home even more… but to this day, I regret our $375K purchase, in spite of how lovely my home actually is. I suppose if I had the view, there would be something else to covet, but this purchase taught me a hard lesson.

  • I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments and can relate to many. Aleisha, my ex and I built our dream home and then split up less than a year later. So, regret? Ya! I’m also a little funny about buying myself things even when I can afford them. I will often return things because I change my mind when I get home. I thought I have a case of ‘shopitis’. Yet, I really enjoy shopping and seeing new stuff.

  • I have two big ones… (1) Going to grad school at an out-of-state public university entirely on student loans. I graduated with $60k in loans that will take me 30 years to repay. I wish I had considered attending a cheaper school or tried harder (which would have required me waiting another year) for scholarships. (2) My husband and I bought a house we love on a busy street in a neighborhood we don’t love. The first time we walked in we saw stained glass windows, gleaming hardwood floors, French doors, etc and didn’t even consider the traffic or sketchy houses just outside. Now I dream about moving to a quiet street in a different neighborhood. If I didn’t have those student loans, maybe we would be living in a better location by now!

  • A dog. I think it was a reaction to the, “OMG, all my friends are starting to have babies!” fever, but I woke up one day and decided I HAD to get a dog. Never mind all those reasonable voices in my head saying that our finances are shifting sand and we are never home. Or that we already have a cat who does all the shedding and inappropriate urination we can handle (and more!).

    We ended up getting a rescue dog with tons of issues that we just weren’t ready for. Our little apartment in an unfamiliar city was terrifying for him, which led to mounting aggression on his part. Our breaking point came after 5 months when our vet recommended a $200/hr. “dog whisperer” as a last resort (after the dog tried to maim everyone in her office). We called the rescue agency for advice and they said to bring him back. I cried the entire way there, but on the way home we were so relieved!

    Now we’re waiting until we’re out of this apartment and my husband is done with school to get another dog. Next time we’ll wait until we have time, money, and space, and probably cough up the cash for a well-bred puppy.

  • Grace, thanks for sharing this. It hits particularly close to home b/c my hubs and I are actually going to test drive a “new used” VW tomorrow, we are indeed in a pinch b/c our old car just died.

    I would love to hear more details about your story and what happened or advice you would offer. I couldn’t load all the comments on your IG post so I feel like there are important details I’m missing that could be potentially very helpful in our situation!



  • My wedding dress. I really hate to say it, because our wedding day was so beautiful and wonderful, but I hated, hated my dress and it was an awful fit. It ended up making the entire night so uncomfortable, and the bustle broke to top it all off. I didn’t like it when I put it on, but my mom burst into tears and all I could do was offer up my credit card. My mom had just been through the hardest five or six years of her life, and I wanted so badly for her to be happy. But now I don’t have a single photo from the wedding that I like, despite an amazing photographer. I regret so much not having the guts to find a dress that I loved (my mom would never have cared what I picked so long as I was happy), and now I’ll never have that perfect wedding photo. However, I have the most amazing husband and four years later, I can still say that the whole wedding could have gone wrong and it still would be the best day of my life!

  • What a unique, insightful topic you’ve chosen – excellent. I know this is not a unique reply, but have to say, my 1904 farmhouse. And very, very difficult to admit. Located in Northern California and very gorgeous – wide plank floors, wood windows, white walls. It’s used for photo shoots by several of those home decor companies that send out too many catalogues. We have five acres, room between our neighbors. We have farm to table, a tire swing and an epic view of the sunset. We have two miniature donkeys. We are a quick drive from my hometown of San Francisco and every public school in our district is excellent. My husband and I are self employed creatives. If you’ve had any experience with entrepreneurship, you are familiar with the uncertain economic lifestyle that often accompanies this career choice. Combine that with spendy California and two kids….I can read all the Pema Chodron out there, but I still often freak out about next month’s mortgage. The house serves many purposes (we pimp it out whenever possible). I have filled it with my favorite objects culled from twenty five years of Bay Area estate sales (being self employed, I could go on Fridays, the best day to score). Would I trade it all for lower cost of living/peace of mind, while I take the road less traveled ? Maybe. And on some days, absolutely. Thank you, Design*Sponge. You guys are a daily inspiration to me. PS I had to ditch my aesthetic pleasing VW after just a few year’s ownership, because it was a piece of crap. Now I drive a Prius, like everyone else around here.

  • My Dyson animal! I hate it and it was the most I have ever spent on a vacuum! I really was expecting a lot because of Dyson brand but, it really failed to clean my floors to the standard I was hoping for.

  • Here is another vote for a Dyson vacuum. A 2007 era cannister. I know it won all sorts of design awards, but honestly…did any of those judges try using it? I hated that peice of junk and finally donated it the goodwill last year and got a bissell bagles upright. IT works so much better than the Dyson, easy to empty, very intuitive (unlike the dyson). And I think my son and husbnad would say the Roomba they got me for Mothes Day a few years back (knowing how much i hated the Dyson). That sucked too. More work getting the room ready than vacuuming with a real vacuum. Now I (almost) enjoy vacuuming with the upright.

  • I regret using our wedding photographer. We hired him because I liked the funny photos he took of our best man at another friend’s wedding. I figured he had a great sense of humor and timing. No, he was just obsessed with our best man.

    We have more nice, usable photos of the best man than we have of me and my husband! It’s shot after shot after shot of Cal. Cal with the guys. Cal with a fishing pole. Cal dancing with friends. I may be exaggerating a LITTLE, but he spent so much time shooting the guys that I don’t even have a bridal portrait or a picture of me and my bridesmaids in our dresses.

  • To Amy who had to return her rescue dog: May I ask why you won’t consider another rescue dog? I understand you didn’t have a good experience the first time around, but maybe there is another rescue out there who would be a better fit with your lifestyle and not have so many behaviour issues. Every dog is different. It saddens me to hear about people purchasing from breeders just because things didn’t work out with a rescue.

    Sorry, this is a sensitive area for me because I volunteer at a shelter and see so many unwanted dogs that will be euthanized if they don’t find homes! I always encourage people to adopt a dog rather than buying one from a pet store or breeder.

  • Unfortunately I regret many of my Etsy purchases. With the wonderful seller photography the site should come with a warning “Objects are smaller than they appear”. I’ve bought ceramic ‘planters’ that can maybe fit a tiny succulent and earrings that I’ve given to my niece. Even when the measurements are given I still can’t envision the size. And it’s hard to give constructive feedback to the sellers because it starts World War 3.
    I’ll still keep buying though!

  • I have a buyer’s remorse story that Amy is responsible for (just kidding). After I saw the video D*S posted about those women skating down the mountain on their longboards and saw that Amy had a longboard I really wanted one. I saw myself wearing skirts and cool skater shoes skating around town. I got on it once, was terrified I was going to fall and it’s been sitting around ever since. I think I paid like $150 for it. I keep telling myself that one day I’ll get elbow pads and learn to ride it, but I’m afraid of blood.

    • Rose

      You and me both. I still love long boarding in theory, but got too scared of skating on our pothole-filled streets in Brooklyn. My board is now living with Amy ;)


    • Rose! You can do it! Honestly, it’s just practice. I don’t skate down huge hills like that. I just started skating a little every day – and slowly but it is so fun. You can totally do it! xoAmy

  • I bought a $300 “outdoor” camera to carry along climbing, hiking, paddling etc so I didn’t have to lug around (and worry about) my SLR everywhere. The specs sounded good and the first few images were great – but the panel over the lens scratched immediately, it turned on and off in my pack with no warning, and after its first immersion the battery quit working properly. It also had a weird interface, which I could have worked with if everything else had been fine, and a hard gate (instead of a flexible silicone one like on every other camera ever) on the charging cord/USB plug area that had to stay open while charging, making me fear I’d snap it off every time. By the time I got ahold of the seller to ask for a return, I was one day past the 30 day return. So I’m stuck with the thing.

  • I’ll add my own “jab.com” remorse story. I bought a horn bracelet in cream and white, but received one in black. When I called, I got the “horn is a natural material that includes a variety of hues” story, and it stuck to its no-return policy. Also, it was incredibly small and so didn’t fit — even if I’d wanted a black bracelet.

    But the remorse has less to do with the purchase itself than my reaction to it. In hindsight, I don’t feel I stood up for myself or for future customers. I accepted the “policy” and hung up, figuring there wasn’t a way around it. But there’s almost always a way to make a return these days, and I should have stuck to my guns about the fact that they’d made a deceptive sale.

  • I don’t buy much, I don’t enjoy shopping at all and I’m rather frugal with my money. I only have one incidence of buyer’s remorse. Many years ago, when I was still in high school, I had to pick my brother up after he got off work. I stopped by Burger King, because I thought he would be hungry and got him a sandwich. I was hungry as well, so I got one for myself too. After I got home, my mother questioned why I got a sandwich after we had already eaten dinner? I had no real answer and I know her reasoning stemmed from her struggles with weight, but it made my question my motives and my possible lack of self control. I still don’t eat at Burger King and will forever remember that damned sandwich.

  • Mine was a silver necklace from Tiffany I bought myself when I got my first big raise. It was cute, but definitely not worth the price I paid–if I had seen it in a store and not on the Tiffany website I wouldn’t have paid more than half of what I did. But I was suckered into the cachet of the brand. The worst was that it broke after only a couple of wears and Tiffany wanted $55 to fix and polish it.

    Also, I agree with Amanda, re: Amy and the rescue dog. Just because one rescue dog had special needs doesn’t mean they all do. Many breeders aren’t scrupulous and breed dogs that are sick or prone to illness because they don’t truly care about the dogs’ welfare. But even good breeders can’t overcome the many health problems that we have bred into purebreds at this point. And if you have your heart set on a purebred, there are countless rescues out there for every breed. Honestly, I think adoption is the only way to go if you are a true animal lover.

  • I know I’m late…but my toddler kept me crazy busy this week! Anyhoot, buyers remorse = our couches!! They were the first expensive furniture piece, and I absolutely regret them! They look nice, but are really uncomfortable and not very functional! Pre-baby they weren’t so bad because we both wanted more formal couches that wouldn’t make us super lazy(haha!). Bad idea! Now, I’ve hinted at my husband that we should sell them on Craigstlist and get new ones, but it doesn’t seem like he’s ready to bite the bullet. So for now, I am stuck with them :( I would love to see a post about family-friendly comfortable long lasting couches that don’t look like they belong in my grandma’s house! Also a reasonable price would be nice. (I’ve been eyeing the Lovesac couches–would love some feedback).

  • I bought my first and last brand-new car (a Buick Rendezvous) in 2005. Love it so much to this very day! But…… They wanted an extra 200.00 to activate the fuse in the cigarette lighter in the front dash. Apparently you have to take off the console or some stupid drama. I don’t smoke and didn’t think I’d need to charge my phone there, so I said to skip it. What an idiotic mistake. I should have said, no fuse, no sale, and do NOT even think of charging me extra for your stupid engineering. They would have done it to save the sale, I’m positive. Burns me to this day.

  • My new glasses. They’re not even made yet nad I regret the order! I’ve bought a new pair of glasses instead of getting my favourite ones repaired. And I really can’t afford it now… Because of this stupid purchase I have to rethink my keenly awaited trip to Berlin. I hate myself for this.

  • Our house. It has a great garden which is what made us so eager to buy it, but we’ve had a lot of problems with it; I didn’t notice the lack of natural light or doors (it’s three rooms in a row, over two floors, in a Brussels townhouse), and I think we could have found something better if we’d waited longer. Otherwise, in terms of buyer’s remorse (I’m better than I used to be, but still), shoes – because I am European size 41/42, and too often something that seems fine in the store, ends up cutting my heels to shreds the first time I walk to the tram stop. Also clothes. I have bought too many clothes that I think fit the image of the office worker I am, but then I have this dissonant feeling when I look in the mirror and do not see ‘me’, so I end up giving them to my sister/mother/Oxfam. Also: in terms of buyers’ remorse for what I didn’t buy? I regret not going all out for a big wedding dress and a wedding photographer. I wore a white linen suit, which I thought would be more practical and less flashy, but I don’t like how I look in a single one of the wedding pictures and I’ve missed the opportunity to have a big blow-out frock and fun pictures to frame. That was five years ago and I’m blissfully happily married, but I sometimes get a pang of envy when I look at other people’s wedding shots. Thanks for writing about this, it’s been v. therapeutic!

  • I’ve wasted money on a lot of dumb things, but my biggest buyers remorse was getting suckered into a multi-level marketing sales gig for jewelry. I knew my gut was hurting as I entered my credit card to pay for $1,300 worth of “samples”, which by the way, still didn’t give me enough to host a “trunk show”, but I felt bad telling my friend I had changed my mind after showing so much enthusiasm. Plus, I was in an awful job I hated, and she was making great money and I thought this was my ticket out. Turns out, I was too embarrassed to tell people about my “new career” and I had one pitiful show that about 6 people came to, made $97, (actually -$45 after all the snacks and wine I bought) and then sold all the junk on eBay, still losing money. I still get sick thinking about it!!

  • My fitness pole. Booked a 10 class beginners pass for my local pole studio and fell in love with the idea of being a toned muscular pole goddess after watching the teacher show us amazing tricks. Rushed into buying the pole online and didn’t slow down to read the measurement instructions properly to ensure we got the right sized parts for our ceiling height. Pole arrived and didn’t fit, so we ordered another piece. That part arrived and it still wasn’t right, so had to get yet another part. On the bright side I now have a full kit that can suit whatever ceiling height the next house we move to has, but it set me back about $1100 AUD. The pole that I “needed” so badly has had maybe 10 workouts over the last 2 years.

  • Here are some things I regret buying: 85% of all the shoes I’ve ever owned, a pressure cooker, and a rug for my office.

    First, the shoes! Womens’ shoes never seem to fit my feet, which are wide at the ball of the foot and narrow at the heel, SO, most shoes are uncomfortable for me EXCEPT for tall boots (somehow, the top of the boot around my calf keeps the rest of the shoe from slipping off my ankle). Other than my boots and my wedding shoes (some gloriously impractical steel blue heels), I regret all of my shoe purchases because they never, ever fit. This includes running shoes – I’ve bought ’em too small or too big and nothing ever works for my stupid feet.

    Second, the pressure cooker, which I registered for as a wedding present (so, technically, I didn’t buy it). I have never, ever used it. I’m too afraid to operate it, yet I feel too guilty to donate it since it was a present and since I don’t know for sure that I won’t some day muster up the courage to try it.

    Third, the rug for my office. It sheds like crazy, and it’s probably too small for the space. I will never buy a rug that is less than 7 feet in any direction – just not practical if you don’t want to keep stepping on the rug to floor transition area every 5 minutes.

  • To the person who is afraid to leave constructive feedback on Etsy, I TOTALLY understand. At this point, I am afraid to leave any feedback on Etsy that isn’t 100% stellar. I would love an objective post on the Etsy rules of engagement. Recently, I purchased something and the seller was a complete jerk – in the scary kind of way that makes you want to lock your doors and regret thoroughly that they have your home address. And, there was nothing that I could do about it. I contacted Etsy but all they said was for me to stop talking to the seller, which I did, but then he kept messaging me with hateful comments. The kicker is that I didn’t leave negative feedback because I was afraid of him, and because I didn’t want retalatory feedback from him.

  • My car…we’re in a commuting situation so I thought, ok, a brand new one will be the best thing for us. I will put ALL the miles on it from the beginning, I’ll know where it’s been, and that will be so comforting. With dealer incentives and 0% interest I’ll only pay about $1,000 more in actual payments than we would on payments for a similar car with 25,000 miles on it. (Still true.) I’ve had it for a couple months now and already: 7500 miles. I just want to cry every time I drive it…which is OFTEN…and for HOURS. I cannot stop calculating what I will owe on the car when it rolls over to 100,000 miles. In the last 2 months I’ve had at least 2 crying jags when I could not stop thinking about the issue. Wish I would’ve just fixed my old beater and kept rolling.

    Also a few years ago I bought an enormous sectional couch. Still love to look at it, but it’s way too big and I found manufacturing tags after it was delivered that suggest it was made under terrible standards in another country and is probably the most poorly built item I’ve ever spent $3000 bucks on. I don’t know it didn’t occur to me to ask about manufacturing origins.

  • My worst experience was signing with a contractor out of fear and anxiety after a fire. The cleanup crew and adjuster recommended someone (who, as it turned out, had a stake in both businesses), and despite red flags (giving me a weird look when I said I wanted my kitchen cabinets to be solid wood and painted as they were before, because he wanted to sell me crappy prefab ones) hired him and his awful crew anyway. Four months of renovation torture ensued–and we had JUST renovated our house a year before. The moral of the story is this: when it’s something important that you will be living with for years, if not the rest of your life, SLOW DOWN. There is no emergency. Once the house was boarded up, everyone was safe, no one died, and we had an alternate place to stay, I should have told myself to STOP, take a deep breath, and stop panicking. I should have done my due diligence and interviewed several contractors and heard what they had to say (the contractors who had done the first renovation had gone out of business and couldn’t do the fire remediation). Our beautiful 1930’s Brooklyn house deserved the right contractors, instead of the ham-handed, unskilled, awful workers we basically lived with for four months. It’s completely worth getting a little sanity and distance from the event instead of feeling frantic and pressured. If, god forbid, anything like this ever happens again, I’m going to institute a 48-hour cooling-off period before signing anything.

  • I’m reading all these and feel so much better from my buyers remorse! I wanted a new car because I had too many issues with the 2011 Honda accord SE (special edition) I had. Plus an upgrade – i’m a techie fan. So I researched and knew what my car was worth and was so firm and stern when I dealt with two dealers in teh process. I went to a third dealer that was out of town and I guess I was tired and ready just to be done with the process. I probably had more of I didn’t negotiate a better deal on trade-in and stick to my guns on lowered paymetn. Oh I”ll be okay but just ticked that I let myself talk me into this 2014 honda accord EX-L. I love the car but I think I could have done better in negotiations. The other factor is my father lives with me and I’m dependent on his part to help with household expenses. If he moves out or passes away then I will have to get rid of the car but hopefully I will have it paid off before that ever happens. I’m still trying to get over my remorse. Still angry with myself. Does it ever go away! My dad ttells me I had the same remorse over the 2011 car but he’s happy and proud of me for getting a new car that is just GORGEOUS. Go figure.

  • Oh my goodness! Thank you for this post!!

    I am swamped with buyers remorse over my new car. I didn’t want to buy as it was only the second dealership we’d been to and kept trying to leave, but allowed myself to be pressured into buying a suv that is too big and I don’t feel safe driving….so, now we’re stuck exchanging it with zero leverage to make a good deal and I can’t even find a car I like. I’m just sick over it, I lost sleep and have been a weepy mess (I’m also five months pregnant). I know it’s such a first world problem, as I just don’t like the low mileage vehicle I bought and can afford…but I know I will never set foot in a dealership without a third party to stop me from buying anything on the first visit!

    Thank you for this post! I feel so much better!!

  • I am still dealing with my remorse. I bought a new SUV after being upside down on the loan and only in my old car for a year. I got ripped off on the first car. Yet I still went back to the same dealership figuring I’d get the best tade in offer. I actually got a great deal on this second one. It’s a complete upgrade from what I had. But I just wish I had been able to think about my desision overnight, instead of jumping into it that day. I even said I wanted to sleep on it. I almost left the dealership. I only pay $100 more a month but I keep worrying about if it’s too much. Even though my friend who works with me, pays more for her simular but older different brand of SUV. I know I can afford it but I keep having these panic attacks. The night after I bought the SUV I cried and cried. The next day I cried and finally got some sleep but I felt sick. I’m finally feeling mostly better but every once in a wile I still get that crappy feeling I had the first day.

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