The Weirdest Impulse Purchases VICE Readers Made During the Pandemic

April 30, 2021 Off By Rec Room Staff

Forty-three percent of Americans have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination shot, according to the most recent numbers from the New York Times. After a year of pain, loss, anxiety, and stagnancy, we're suddenly hurtling toward a more "normal" version of society faster than many of us can process in real time—and simultaneously struggling to make sense of, uh, WTF just happened to all of us this past year. 

We hardly laughed, we definitely cried, and we all felt like we were in a really demented IRL version of Groundhog Day. We witnessed (and participated in) protests, a presidential election, and a push for major societal change. We also spent a really troubling amount of time putting permanent dents in our sofas with hours-and-hours-long viewings of The Great British Bake-Off, miscellaneous true-crime docuseries, and our fourth rewatch of The Sopranos in its entirety. And while we spent all of that time at home, like little hamsters in piles of wood shavings, we looked at stuff on the internet. Lots of stuff. And much of that stuff, we bought. At first, it was toilet paper and face masks and hand soap and sanitizer, but as time went on, things got a little stranger. We bought home trampolines. Highly specific baking equipment. Exotic pets. Highly extra clothes we would previously have stayed far away from—"for when this is all over." That new era, or some version of it, is rapidly approaching. What will we do with our bizarre bounties now?

We took to VICE's Instagram story to ask our readers (whom we love; hi, guys) what their most deranged purchases were over the course of this long, strange, amorphous period of time we now know colloquially simply as "quarantine." Here's what y'all told us. Don't worry—we're keeping it anonymous, since some of you wanted to be honest about the fact that you picked up Fleshlights, bidets, and custom Playgirl blankets.

"An indoor s'mores maker." 

indoor smores maker.jpg

Nostalgia Indoor Electric Stainless Steel S'mores Maker, $24.99 at Amazon

"A 7-foot Snorlax bean bag that never fucking arrived."

snorlax bean bag.jpg

Snorlax-Inspired Bean Bag Case, $151.79 at Etsy

"A Fleshlight :/"


Fleshlight Classic Pink Lady, $69.95 at Fleshlight

"32 new houseplants and a $200 humidifier."


Plant Parent Set, $60 at The Sill

"A bidet!"


Tushy Spa 3.0 Warm Water Bidet, $149 $119 at Tushy

"One of those woven picture blankets featuring Peter Steele's Playgirl spread."

custom woven blanket shutterfly.jpeg

Custom woven photo blanket, $129.98 $90.99 at Shutterfly

peter steele playgirl.jpeg

Playgirl August 1995 Issue feat. Peter Steele of Type O Negative, $875 at eBay

"A fishnet tank top."


Men's Fishnet Mesh Tank Top, $4.09 at eBay

"A koala head mask."


Koala Animal Cosplay Mask, $36.90 at Etsy

"The Hundreds' Hello Kitty Jacket"

hundreds x sanrio copy.png

Sanrio x The Hundreds Coach Jacket, $600 $350 at The Drop

"Expensive rose-scented pink toilet paper from France."

foxy toilet paper.jpeg

Foxy Bouquet Rose-Scented Toilet Paper, 6 rolls, $4.83 $3.92 at Perfume's Club

"A sperm count test kit. Not married, no kids, millennial. 'Twas an interesting afternoon with the GF."


At-Home Male Fertility Test, $89 at My Lab Box

"A mini trampoline!"

jumpsport trampoline model 350.jpg

JumpSport Model 350 Fitness Trampoline, $329 at JumpSport

"My husband got a 3-D printer…face palm"


Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer, $399.99 at Walmart

"Birdbath and solar bubbler. I LOVE IT."

bird bath solar.png

Acadia Solar Birdbath, $166 at Houzz

"A ukulele. I play it every day now."

ukulele beginner kit.jpg

Donner Ukulele Starter Kit, $65.99 at Amazon

"18 stained glass windows."

stained glass window geometric etsy.jpg

Geometric Rainbow Stained Glass Window, $696.33 at Etsy

"A disco ball… I live alone."


Eliminator Lighting 20" Disco Mirror Ball, $95.19 at Amazon

"A Silver Surfer vaporizer."

silver surfer vape.png

Silver Surfer 7th Floor Vaporizer, $269.95 $250 at Vaporizer Chief

"A dog bathtub"

dog bath.png

Pet Gear Dog Bathing Tub, $31.06 at Chewy

"Magnolia Bakery banana pudding heart eyes emoji"

magnolia baker 2.png

Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding Kit, $29.99 at Goldbelly

"A 1,000-pack of condoms."

condoms 2.png

Beyond Seven condoms 1,000-pack, $130.98 at Amazon

"Mushroom growing kits."

oyster mushroom growing kit.jpeg

Oyster Mushroom Log Kit, $30 at Uncommon Goods

"I bought my girlfriend a $300 collectible tattoo book which is as heavy as my five-month-old baby."

taschen tattoo book.jpeg

TATTOO. 1730s-1970s. Henk Schiffmacher's Private Collection book, $175 at TASCHEN

"Emergency heirloom veggie seeds."

survival essentials seed bank.jpg

Survival Essentials Premium Heirloom Seed Bank – 17,880+ Seeds, $92.49 at Amazon

"Pole-dancing shoes."

pole dancing shoes.jpg

Rose Gold Poleboutins™ Glitter Heels, $115 at Etsy

"A ring light to shoot porn."

ring light.jpg

Neewer 18-Inch Dimmable LED Ring Light, $79.99 at Amazon

"Crayola 'Silly Scents' scented silly putty six-pack. I'm 30 with no kids."

crayola scents silly putty.jpg

Crayola Silly Scents Silly Putty 6-Pack, $5.95 at Amazon

"A hot tub."


6-Person 29-Jet Plug and Play Hot Tub with Heater and Waterfall, $3,099.99 at Wayfair

Well… we’re happy for all of you. Now that we think about it, we want a hot tub, a trampoline, and a 1,000-pack of condoms, too. Y’all did well.

VICE may receive a small commission if you buy products through the links on our site.