My pandemic impulse buys haven’t all been bad... | Emma Kay

Impulse pandemic purchases can be a bizarre way of looking back at one of the strangest and saddest times in history.

Emma's best lockdown impulse purchase was a corn snake
Emma's best lockdown impulse purchase was a corn snake

How much is too much to spend on frivolity becomes a mere number we all interpret in different ways and justify depending on our own income and situation.

But so many of us have one thing in common: the urge to buy something on impulse. The pandemic has brought that spontaneity right to the surface.

Spontaneous pandemic purchases are something we should look back on and laugh at, but celebrate as well. The numb comfort of free shipping meant buying little things online brought a small spark of pleasure when the world was tucked away. Shopping splurges are a weird coping mechanism that exploded during lockdown for a very obvious reason. For a short amount of time it made us feel a little bit better. Made us feel a little saner.

So what pandemic purchases did you splurge on and still love a year later? There are plenty of self-pity purchases in my house when I felt I needed a treat. I am sure many of us have a cupboard of cringe, a box under your bed of begrudging buys and maybe even a shed of shame.

My worst was my fixation on work clothes. Adhering to dress codes while working in a classroom with minimal pupils to oversee was a pretty silly time to be hunting for work clothes. It would be unlikely that anyone would notice if I wandered into work looking less than my best. Old and comfortable but presentable would have been more than acceptable. So why did I waste time scrolling through clothing sites to create the perfect work look when nobody would look twice at what I put on that day? Waste of energy.

Waste of money.

My best buy however, was the most unexpected. Something I never considered I might end up owning. I bought a corn snake. She had a beautiful pecan coloured pattern like paving stones down her back and eyes that reminded me of a wide-eyed teddy bear. She was the length of a shoelace so she was named Strawberry Lace. My fiancé and I were completely smitten, so much so that we fell down into the rabbit – snake? – hole of snake culture and met some wonderful likeminded people. A community that was off the radar to us before. Now we are four snakes up and have scaled up our social bubble. All from an impulse purchase, that has grown into a rewarding and fun hobby.

The question round the table this Christmas should not be, what have you been up to, but more, what was your funniest pandemic purchase?

Border controls

October won’t just be gloomy because of the ghostly lure of Halloween.

From October 1 any animal and plant products being imported from the EU will need extra steps to be accepted. This is likely to mean more border checks with paperwork and prices swelling in the midst of an overbearing Brexit balloon.

Could we soon be wallowing in further red tape, food shortages and food spoilages with its inevitable backlog and blockages, all just in time for Christmas preparations.

Portsmouth City Council is one such area that has a border control for food imports but claims a funding shortfall nearing £2m that is needed to cover the costs of 30 new staff, having been only given £500k.

Portsmouth needs to build this vital trading infrastructure, not have it torn down. But the funding shortfall is leaving it all rather stuck in the mud.

How is that for Brexit ‘smoothness and efficiency’?

Social media

Social media preys on us to indulge to consume and to treat yourself. Social media platforms such as Instagram and Tiktok are particularly guilty of this.

You are often just getting leftover ‘life advice’ from bland throwaway quotes that are willing us to collect kitchenware products you cannot do without but will never ever use, to copy a frothy coffee recipe that takes hours to create or to simply buy what looks good on a social media platform to level up your life.

This all comes from privileged influencers who do not indulge as much as they would like you to do.

They present to us a skewed and warped version of their reality in easy to swallow sizeable chunks.

Heaps and heaps of life advice and flashy images encouraging you and me to bite down into a social media platform and mirror what you see. Only none of it is real.