It’s been a difficult seven months, to say the least. And while we’re all coping in our own ways, some of us have turned to retail therapy. Here are some of the weirdest purchases Washingtonian staff members have made since March.
Really ugly slippers
“These heinously ugly, open-toe slippers are something I would never have dreamed of owning in the Before Times. But when the weather started to warm up, the Ugg moccasins that I typically wear around the house got too hot. Plus, I needed something with arch support—because what even are real shoes anymore? I’ve decided that pandemic fashion is basically lawless. So, no regrets.” —Marisa Kashino, senior editor ($65, Nordstrom)
“We spent some time up north this summer, and about a month before we were planning to return to the city, I started trying to stock up on supplies that I was sure we would need, including…safety glasses? I clicked ‘Buy now’ and told my husband, ‘THESE ARE ESSENTIAL, WE CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT THESE.’ We’ve been home for several weeks now, and though I’m sure I must have remembered to bring my very essential spit-blocking eyewear back with us…I can’t find them.” —Kristen Hinman, features editor ($16, Amazon)
Record Maker Toy Kit
“A year ago, I would have never considered spending $160 on a machine that cuts semi-useless 5-inch vinyl singles. After months at home, though, the Easy Record Maker Toy Kit seemed like an absolute necessity. I assembled it with the help of YouTube videos (1, 2, 3, 4) and Google Translate’s camera function. If I come out of this pandemic with nothing to show for it besides a handful of one-of-a-kind homemade lo-fi records of me playing ukulele—well, I’m cool with that.” —Andrew Beaujon, senior editor ($160, Turntable Lab)
Foldable TV tray table
“My bedroom has been working overtime as an office by day and a sleeping space at night since our newsroom went remote back in March. I’ve tried to make it less obvious that I’m taking calls from my bed, but let’s be honest: Wearing pajamas all day doesn’t help the illusion. There’s not enough space in my room for a full desk, so I bought a TV tray table to act as a portable workspace that can easily fold away when I transition from coffee hour to wine time. My other go-to tip for shifting the energy in a space when it plays dual roles is to have a ‘work’ candle and a ‘chill’ candle to make the space feel different depending on the time of day.” —Daniella Byck, assistant editor ($43, Amazon)
“It’s the best purchase I’ve ever made. I know it’s super hokey, but there are so many emotions I’ve had through the pandemic that just don’t translate into words, so it’s been incredibly helpful to process everything through music. Once I’ve learned and memorized a piece, it’s like my fingers go into autopilot and I don’t have to think about the notes I’m playing. I can just channel what I’m feeling into my hands and have those emotions actualized into sound.” —Jane Recker, assistant editor ($35, Craigslist)
Please let me know your weirdest purchases!