The Day I Wasted A Ton Of Money At Home Depot

In my semi-ongoing series about my job history, I wrote about how I was let go and how that took me by surprise.  That was March 1, 2005. On March 2nd, I wasted a bunch of money at Home Depot.

I woke up thinking: “Hmm, what should I do with my time?”  I knew I’d spend time looking for a new job, but I also knew I’d still have hours in the day to fill with time.  Instead of planning on sitting around watching movies or messing around on the computer, I figured I would tackle a bunch of little things around the condo.

The condo next door to mine had recently been foreclosed on, and sold by the bank.  The new owners had bought it as a place for their nanny to live, and a friend that they knew had him come in and do a bunch of repair and fix-up work.  It wasn’t a major renovation but he added a lot of finishes around the house, and I was inspired.

Problem was, I didn’t have the money to do any really big stuff, nor did I have the experience to tackle anything more than painting.

So, I thought that getting stupid little stuff would somehow add up to something big.

I think I dropped around $350.  While some of the stuff I did was probably legit, looking back I would say that probably 80-90% of that was wasted.

I’d split the waste into three categories:

  1. Stuff I actually did that really didn’t need to get done – For some reason, I decided that I needed to replace all the switch plates throughout the entire condo.  At a buck or two a pop, it didn’t seem that big a deal, but I probably could have just cleaned the ones that were there and saved over $30.  I also bought a bunch of new doorknobs for the inside doors as the ones were getting scratched.
  2. Stuff I bought that I could have used but never bothered with – Those doorknobs I just talked about, I replaced about half and then forgot about the rest.  When I moved out of the condo, I just left them there in case the new owners wanted to use them. They didn’t match anything in our new house and with all the chaos of moving, I didn’t want to bother with selling them, nor did I want to take it with me.  Probably wasted $50 in doorknobs.
  3. Stuff I bought that was absolutely wrong – There were a couple of closet doors that didn’t stay on their track.  I bought stuff that was supposed to fix them but it wasn’t even the right stuff. Of course, by the time I got to it, a few weeks had passed, and I had no clue as to what I did with the receipt.

Looking back, I didn’t see that I was panicking at the time, but I think that I was, and that I wasn’t making rational decisions after having just lost my job.

I guess in the grand scheme of things, $350 or thereabouts isn’t as bad of a waste as I could have seen.  I could have booked a big trip or bought something really big.  So, maybe it was the most responsible of the irresponsible type of decisions I could have made, I don’t know.

Either way, you know those closet track thingies I thought would work?  I actually still keep them, just as a reminder of myself of the stupidity of that purchase, hoping that I wouldn’t repeat the waste.

Have you ever bought a bunch of stuff with good intentions only to realize later that it was a complete waste of time and money?