The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

For Prime Day, here’s a list of Amazon purchases that fill us with regret

Via Jess Stahl, whose Amazon history reads like an End Times prophecy.

Not everyone has an Amazon purchase horror story. My worst purchase, for instance, was when I ended up with four extra shower curtains for my one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment. But many do.

Whether they were fooled by one of the fake reviews flooding Amazon lately, or duped by their own human weakness into purchasing something they absolutely did not need, there are a ton of regrettable Amazon purchases out there in the world.

To celebrate Prime Day, we asked our colleagues and friends to tell us some of their most embarrassing Amazon order history items. And, we collected regrets from our readers to add to the collection.

Below is a list of the best regrets we received, some edited for length and clarity.

(And yes, The Washington Post is owned by Jeffrey P. Bezos, who founded Amazon.)

Two pounds of Old Bay seasoning

I had decided Old Bay is the best dry rub for grilled chicken (either beer can or butterflied whole chicken), and I was running low. Instead of going to the grocery store, I decided to see how much it was on Amazon, because I had previously got good deals on relatively big containers of soy sauce or mustard. The best unit price was on this two pound container of Old Bay, but it was an add-on item. So, I ended up buying these Peruvian sauces that were like $20 to get the Old Bay, which made the Old Bay not a very good deal anymore. Also, two pounds of Old Bay is only necessary if you own a crab shack. I’ll never use this much. — Brendan Mahoney (@brendanmahoney) 

A printout of a Kindle book, 3 different drain covers, eye stickers, unwearable pants and so many more bad ideas

  • I preordered the paperback version of “The Female Persuasion” and instead got a printout of the Kindle.
  • I bought these harem pants for a hip-hop class that had a bunch of hippie symbols on them and when they arrived they had that Buddhist symbol that looks exactly like a swastika all over them and I decided they were unwearable.
  • I bought a postcard book of horse paintings for reasons I can’t remember but I definitely don’t own such an item today.
  • I bought a roll of 1,000 eye stickers because I thought it would be funny, but they’re still sitting in my kitchen closet unused.
  • I bought a flapper dress.
  • Oh, and like four different corsets, none of which I’ve ever worn.
  • In 2012, I bought a 50-pack of multicolored CD jewel cases.

— Jess Stahl, director of audio at The Washington Post

A warmer for baby wipes

Not recommended. Yes, your brand new baby cries when the wipes are cold. However, the warmer never works as intended; it will evaporate all the liquid from the wipes while only heating half of them, rendering them useless. — Sidney in Connecticut, via Facebook

120 feet of fairy lights, 12-inch floating moon night light, a giant Virgin Mary throw blanket, books on hand lettering, $400 in dog toys

For the lights, I decided to make my room look like the night sky. It looked stupid and I took it all down. I bought the giant Virgin Mary throw blanket even though I’m an atheist. It looked warm. Bought the books on hand lettering because it looked fun. I have not hand-lettered anything yet. And I spent $400 on dog toys in two months out of guilt. — Marissa Janczewska, via Facebook

An empty box

Dumbest thing I’ve ever purchased is this. The description says its an empty box, and I totally didn’t read it. — Twitter user @LTesta via direct message

A book of 19th century ephemera

There have been lots of dumb impulse buys over the years, but this one was last week and vivid in my memory. I’m a fan of old pulp fiction, so when I ran across a book called “A Bit of Brundage,” I ordered it without reading the description. Margaret Brundage was a pulp artist known for her covers for magazines like Weird Tales.

The book arrived very promptly, but this Brundage was Frances. She painted mostly adorable tots for late 19th century advertising. Very not what I wanted! —  submitted by Edith Gill, 72, Clifton, Va. 

Bad labels, a terrible guitar pedal, too many green folders

2009: Sukie Box of Labels. $15. I used maybe three because they were actually very expensive, when I thought about it. Also the glue wasn’t very good. But they were pretty and if I used a glue stick they almost worked.

2011: Danelectro DJ-16 Bacon & Eggs Mini Amp/Distortion Effects Pedal. $20. It smelled like warm pâté and made my son’s guitar sound like it was being played through same.

2013: Avery Two-Pocket Portfolios, Embossed Paper, 30-Sheet Capacity, Green, Box of 25. $11. Because I needed ONE green folder. — submitted by Lucy Cash, 47, Winston-Salem, N.C. 

400 praying mantis eggs

I ordered 400 praying mantis eggs, because I thought they would be neat and I hadn’t ever seen any in Seattle since moving here. Apparently they wouldn’t have lasted more than one season due to climate, but I also watched a swarm of hornets devour every nymph as they emerged from the egg casing. It was horrifying. — submitted by Michael Paradis, 35, Seattle 

Dog boots, never worn

My Chihuahua was having issues with going out to potty in the winter because her paws got too cold. So I’m thinking these cute boots (UGG boot style, even) would be great! She refused to wear them and it was more expensive to return them then to just keep them . . . So needless to say, I have dog boots at home that will never be used. — submitted by Rachael West, 27, Sioux Falls, S.D. 

An inadequately ridiculous peacock feather hat, an excessively ridiculous pair of sunglasses

Twice I have purchased phone cases that were the wrong size. Apparently, I can’t read. I bought Jessica Simpson sunglasses that look absolutely ridiculous on me. I bought a peacock feather hat for a Royal Wedding Party but then decided it wasn’t ridiculous enough and bought a different one. These purchases were all within the last 6 months. — submitted by Beth Gilkey, 50,  Fredericksburg, VA

An Amazon odyssey that resulted in a single, $17 mug

I bought some Le Creuset mugs at Williams Sonoma on sale for $11 each. I wanted more colors and individually packaged, but Williams Sonoma sold only sets of 4, all the same color. I checked Amazon and found everything I wanted from two vendors: one Amazon, and one a third party. The mugs I ordered directly from Amazon came broken but, no problem because Amazon said they would re-send. The mugs came broken again. Amazon told me to toss them, then a week later wanted them mailed back. Luckily I still had the pieces so no problem. Gave up on those. However the other vendor was not Amazon. By the time it was all over, I had one mug that I didn’t want that I paid $17 for. If I wanted to send it back to the third-party vendor, it would have cost me $11 to do so. Now I know: no third party vendors. I try to buy local and only resort to Amazon when I can’t find it locally. – submitted by Helen Phippen, 70, Palm Springs, CA

A single plastic ant

My son had a school project that required two plastic ants, ideally about an inch long. I purchased what I thought was a container full of plastic ants, but what I received was a regular letter-sized envelope with one plastic ant inside. I checked, and sure enough, I hadn’t read the description thoroughly enough on the Amazon listing to realize that someone was selling one plastic ant (the image was of one plastic ant in front of a container full of plastic ants). —  submitted by Alan Clark, 49, Petaluma, CA

A closet full of Amazon regrets

Stashed in my closet: a little Peavy guitar amp despite not owning a guitar, an unused Kindle Fire tablet, dozens of elastic laces for running shoes even though I can’t run anymore. I did throw out the Water Pik because it kept shooting water into my eyes. —submitted by Tom Quiggle, 60, Washington DC. 

This post, originally published on July 16, has been updated with new entries.