Monday, April 28, 2008

Don't Buy It

Last year was all about shopping. Now the economy is bad and it's no fun to shop anymore. I hate that, because in general I like to buy stuff. I am highly susceptible to advertising and suggestions on blogs. 2007 was all about buying everything every blog and magazine told me to. Three-dollar-gas has taken the wind out of my sails. A few years ago I read Judith Levine's book, Not Buying It. It's not a very good book, by the way. Just another spoiled richie congratulating herself for not replacing her SmartWool socks. I liked the idea of the book though and it sounded compelling when I heard about it on NPR (what doesn't!) Judith Levine decides to not buy stuff (except for necessities, like wine) for a year so she can write a book about it. You can check it out at the library to see if you like it. I am confident she will bug you though. Whatever you do, don't buy the book.

At any rate, there are enough blogs out there telling you what to buy. I'm here to tell you what not to buy. You can stop reading now if you want. I know it's a lot more fun to hang out with the friend who says, "YOU SHOULD TOTALLY GET THAT!" instead of the stick in the mud who says, "MOSES BASKET? ARE YOU CRAZY! DON'T YOU KNOW THAT BABIES CAN SLEEP IN A LAUNDRY BASKET FOR THE FIRST 6 MONTHS?"

Don't buy an old red phone, even if Domino magazine talks you into it.
You will be tempted because it reminds you of the phone you had growing up but when you try to hang it up you will slice through the wiring in the back and it will never work again. There is a certain charm to "wireless."

Don't buy one of these either:
I know what you are thinking. Listen to me--it will not change your life. Please believe me when I tell you that it's only going to make things worse to see it hanging there ignored and empty or overflowing and bowed under the weight of a rock collection. I succumbed to Lillian Vernon's enticements myself--I have bought this three times. Learn from my mistakes.

Don't buy chalk dots even though you think they will make your kids play quietly yet creatively in their rooms at night:They do peel off and kids don't enjoy them. Sorry dude.

Don't buy this book, even if you want to know what Jerry Seinfeld eats:
Long story short, put veggie purees in everything. But you don't have to take my word for it.

Whatever you do, do NOT buy Electrasol powerballs. They are the worst! They don't work at all:The one thing you should buy is Cascade Complete. But do not buy a baby sling and do not make your own organic cleaner from vinegar and baking soda, even if a Green Blog tells you to. Hello? Have you smelled vinegar! If I spill vinegar on the counter I clean it up with something, I don't rub it around on more things. It's the mess. I made some of this home-made cleaner last night and it doesn't work at all. So I guess I would say that you should buy 409.

Since I've been in a frugal mood I checked out The Complete Tightwad's Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn from the library. You would not believe how cheap this woman is! It sort of made me sick. She suggested rinsing out an old jam jar with milk and making a Popsicle out of the jam-dregs-flavored milk. That made me want to buy something, and fast. But still, she has some good ideas and I can relate to her a lot more than Judithe Levine, even if she does eat garbage.


  1. I bought the coolest retro looking wall phone.

    A month later we got Vonage and the phone is completely useless.

    I'm such a good buyer.

  2. kacy, I hate to say this because you just jumped up to the number one spot in my blog-checking queue, but you are completely wrong about the electrasol tabs. They are amazing. Plus they are sold at costco (usually with a coupon). Whatever you do, don't buy those little packets of liquid that dissolve in the dishwasher, because they start dissolving immediately upon touching something wet: Your hands, your toddler's mouth (twice, because he didn't think they tasted awful enough the first time, and I didn't learn my lesson about baby-proofing.)

  3. Anonymous6:40 AM

    I will support you in your anti electrasol tabs stand. I also think they are are total crap. Plus, my dishwasher just broke down and the repairman told me not to use them because they are too much soap. You only need to fill your soap cups to about half of what they say. Otherwise they mess up your machine, and I would know.

  4. What exactly IS that 'Week of Crap' thing? Just a useless knick knack? I hate knick knacks. HATE THEM. The word alone is retarded. 'knick knack'. Who the hell made that up?? Knick knack? Keep saying it and think how stupid it sounds. Knick knack. It gets worse and worse every time. Knick knack. You ever notice how people who LOVE knick knacks have them on every possible shelf and square foot of wall space? It ends up looking like the walls at Red Robin or TGIF. Hey, let's go eat at Knick Knack HELL.

  5. Oh dear. I read the Tightwads Gazette but I missed that jam popcicle. My kids would laugh in my face.

    One thing I would not, and DID not buy was tutoring at Sylvan. They charge 150.00 for testing and 45 dollars an hour to help a 2nd grader with multiplication! Yikes!
    and the worst part was the hard sell they gave me on the phone. Give us money now or you will let your daughter down and she'll never catch up. Thanks but no thanks Sylvan.

    Now, who knows a good tutor?

  6. Informative, informative blog! I think you're on to something. . . what not to buy is the new featured item! Take that [insert trendy blog here]!

    I'm a tightwad, but the jam/milk popcicle is an idea I just can't get behind. I mean, is Kool-Aid really that expensive?

  7. I own:
    ~red rotary-dial telephone (bought it on ebay a few years ago from some woman in Iowa)
    ~one of those Lillian Vernon pieces of crap

    I use:
    ~the Cascade version of those dishwasher things, and I love that they also have Dawn dish soap in them. Do you know they use Dawn to clean up oil spills on highways and ducks?

  8. I, too, purchased a ridiculous days of the week closet hanger and it has spent most of its time wadded up under my bed. TOTAL waste. That popsicle thing makes me feel sick inside.

  9. Oh, I love the Tightwad Gazette books. Too bad she isn't writing anymore. I do admit I feel guilty rinsing out that perfectly good grape jelly residue from my jars. I always think, "I should be making a grape milkshake right now." But somehow it just never seems appetizing enough to be worth all the effort. I just discovered the "America's Cheapest Family" book by the Economides (yes, their real name) family. You should check it out. All those blogs are fun to look at, but honestly I don't think I've ever bought anything recommended there. I see those kind of blogs as a replacement for recreational window shopping at the mall!

  10. I am not a witty commenter, so I won't try. But I do love your writing, so I always come look. Who do I believe on the electrasol tabs? I'm a cascade complete girl, but my father in law just brought over three huge containers--free--of the tabs...what should I do?

  11. Anonymous6:34 PM

    Where were you last summer when I bought the red phone? It looked great in the kitchen until it quit working. Now I have a giant red clothespin there instead--something had to cover the hole in the wall . . .

    You are so ahead of the curve--thrifty is the new black. Next you'll be telling us all to give up Costco. Where did we used to shop? I don't even remember.

  12. you gotta love jessica seinfeld -
    "it's SO EASY! Just set aside an entire day to cook and puree vegetables so you can make your own chicken nuggets that have CAULIFLOWER in them." Like, where's the motivation in THAT?

  13. Would you believe The Mending Shed doesn't fix phones?

    Jim, I think Electrasol works so well for you because of the prewash you use--the prewash called Janice.

  14. I just love your Don't Buy list. Shopping lists are overrrated. So are faux finishes.

  15. Anonymous7:53 PM

    I could be highly susceptible to shopping online.

  16. I don't mind tightwads that keep it private, but when they brag about how dang cheap they are I go cuckoo. Because I live in Ut, you can imagine I go cuckoo quite a bit.
    And so it is a nutty circle, they make me crazy with their Target clearance finds and I in turn aim to make them crazy with a pair of $15 Juicy socks.
    Worth every penny, by the way.

  17. Anonymous10:29 PM

    I agree on the day of the week thing being a very bad buy.

    I disagree about the Electrasol tabs. They work for me. However, Cascade also works well. I like the convenience of the tabs.

  18. Jam-dregs-flavored milk popcicles?!? EEEWWWW!!!!

  19. Anonymous10:36 PM

    Have to disagree on not buying a baby sling. Loved it. Called it the hands-free baby kit. Sure, you might get a few weird looks at Wal-mart, but it makes for a more peaceful shopping experience. Plus it's easier to play the Sims while holding a baby.

    And my dad, who does repair appliances, just bought some Electrasol tabs for himself because every time I help him with the dishes I dump too much powdered detergent in the tray and then it won't close.

  20. Let me tell you about the Walmart brand of detergent. It was recommended by our dishwasher repair guy. Something to do with the enzymes. Check the side of the box for the % of enzymes with it and the other brands. Great Value is higher, and SUPER great. And cheap, because I am cheap.

  21. Who makes creamsicles out of milk? Is there a shortage of cream? I think you should make this "don't buy it" a regular edition. We all need to warn each other of the ALL THE CRAP out there.

  22. I do not know, I do not know


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