Mid-2020, after COVID-19 had spread across the whole world, people were still learning ways to keep themselves busy. With countries announcing full lockdown measures, while others imposed curfews, many were forced to stay at home for weeks. At a time of complete uncertainty, the assured arrival of a new parcel was something to look forward to, and while we couldn’t leave our houses, many resorted to online shopping as a form of stress relief and a way to pass time.
Egyptian Streets asked its audience about their worst financial decisions, and the most useless purchases they made during lockdown. From sports equipment to self-care products, we guarantee that you’re going to relate to at least one of these answers, if not more.
Omnia Medhat, 27, Content Creator, lives in Egypt
“I bought magnetic lashes that had terrible reviews on their website, but, for some reason, I thought I’m going to be able to use them, at a time when I didn’t even go out because we were in lockdown.
I also bought 12 candles, and I still buy candles every time there’s an offer, although I can’t even smell because I lost my sense of smell from COVID-19 in July 2020. I’m telling you, I’m a sucker for useless purchases!
I bought a Huawei smart watch because it measures blood oxygen levels, and at the beginning of the spread of COVID-19, people were saying that this was important. I don’t even work out, or walk daily, yet I bought it. And then, I bought another smartwatch from Michael Kors because it looked better than the one I have. These two watches cost a total of EGP 8,000.”
Mohamed Hassan, 28, Project Engineer, lives in the UAE
“Honestly, I was really bored, and my only source of entertainment was Amazon and the ads that I kept getting. I bought a beard oil, beard shampoo, and a beard straightener, and all of these beard care products were useless because I shave every week.
Then I bought solar eclipse glasses, and those were also useless because I’ll only wear them again in like 50 years. I even bought a keychain since it had a handle, and I thought I could use it to pull doors instead of using my hands, but when we got back to the office, I realized that all the doors I use are ‘push’ not ‘pull’.
Oh, and I bought an air purifier that turned out to be too small, and didn’t really do anything.”
Toka Omar, 26, Multimedia Journalist, lives in Egypt
“I don’t believe in the idea of ‘subscriptions’, whether for newspapers, movies, or anything that works to inform or to entertain people; I believe these should be free. Yet, during lockdown, I was suffering from depression, boredom, and being idle, and as a result, I paid for a Netflix subscription. I was over-invested in Netflix, wasting the majority of my day watching multiple shows for several hours. It became a sort of addiction at a certain point.”
Sandy Lawendi, 28, Interior Designer, lives in the UAE
“After the first month of lockdown, I bought dumbbells, a yoga mat, two waist trainers to see which one I like more, and elastic resistance bands. I used them for one month, that first month of lockdown when we were all super excited about ‘using our time wisely’ and ‘learning something new’.
After that month was over, I left everything and sank in my bed waiting for the lockdown to be over. Now I use this equipment occasionally, but they’re mainly stored under my desk. They cost me around AED 1,000 (EGP 4,278).”
Hagar Abdulbari, 26, Photographer and Social Media Specialist, lives in the Netherlands
“We can’t really say no to baby stuff, so my husband ordered cartoonishly hilarious pacifiers for our daughter, Layla. She already has lots of pacifiers from the best baby brands, and they’re expensive. Usually, they all come in a sealed box with a cover for each. But these came in a plastic bag with no covers at all. When we saw them we just had to have them. Our parents laughed a lot video-calling us, but then threatened to come and take our baby from us.
My husband also got a banana costume for the three of us, and we can’t even wear it till next year because Layla is too small for it.”
Myrna, 27, Dentist, lives in Canada
“I bought designer shoes and bags that are collecting dust in my closet. I couldn’t even wear them because everything is closed because of COVID-19, and I’d look extra if I wore them to the grocery store. They cost me an average of CAD 1,000.”
Therese Masoud, 29, HR Specialist, lives in the UAE
“In October 2020, I got a treadmill, and put it in our hall at home. I literally used it two to three times maximum, and then gave it away.”
Kirolos Fekry, 31, Sales Consultant, lives in Egypt
“I bought AirPods for EGP 3,000, and now I use them whether I want to or I don’t, I use them because of the price I paid to buy them. I bought a flute to try to learn how to play it, but I didn’t continue. I even bought a cigar cutter, and I’m not even a smoker!”