Only Fools Rush In: Think Before You Buy

Most of the time, I consider myself to be very methodical and logical when it comes to planning out my purchases, especially big-ticket items or electronics. I scout retail websites to get a handle on what the going price is and then look for the cheapest price. I read professional and user reviews from a number of sites to see if folks are happy with their purchases. Then — and only then — will I head out to a store to make the purchase.

I didn’t follow that process the other day at one of my favorite stores — Lowe’s. Actually, I love any store that helps me furnish, decorate or improve our home, but I’ve grown fond of Home Depot and Lowe’s in particular.

I’d been wanting to change the light fixture in the kitchen for a while now, since the one that’s there doesn’t throw nearly enough light on the room — it’s got the two circular fluorescent bulbs in it, and they are beyond dim. So I decided that I want to put up a ceiling fan with a light kit. Seems simple enough — I’ve put in new light switches and done some wiring in the past.

When I get to Lowe’s, I don’t see exactly what I want — a darker wood (not mahogany/reddish, though), and a width of anywhere from 36″ to 44″ in order to clear the cabinets with the doors open. I managed to plan for that much. After wandering up and down the two aisles for about 15 minutes, I finally settled on a fan, bought it, and returned home.

After opening up the box, I realize I don’t like the wood finish on the fan blades — they totally clash with our strange cabinet color — they’re a medium stain with cool undertones — not reddish, not blonde — almost grayish? It’s hard to explain. But our appliances are black. “Shoot,” I thought. “Should have gone with a black fan.” But they didn’t have a black fan in the size I needed, so what did I do? I settled.

Now, I have to return the fan to the Lowe’s and head to Home Depot to see what they have. Another detail that I neglected to account for is that I need to put up a  bracket specifically made for fans so that it will stay securely in the ceiling and not wobble or loosen over time.

So I’ve wasted time, money, and gasoline why not really thinking about what I wanted to buy. I didn’t do my usual research beforehand.

Every once in a while, I do something uncharacteristic like this. It’s a good thing this was only a minor ($60 purchase), and I can return the fan and get a refund. If it were a car or some other large purchase, I’d be screwed. It’s not the first time I’ve done this, and I’m sure it won’t be the last!

Have you rushed into a purchase and then immediately regretted it?

10 comments to Only Fools Rush In: Think Before You Buy

  • My husband learned his lesson with his car… six years later and we’re still paying for it because he was dumb enough to agree to a 26% interest rate. Basically he’s driving around in a $50K Neon. Don’t ask. I will say that we do plenty of research now before making any purchases. We shop around and ask everyone we know for input and hook-ups. We compare prices and user reviews of big ticket items like big screen TV and other electronics, automobiles, etc.

    Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing

    • Nicole

      Wow, that is incredible. I don’t even know what to say. Hopefully he’s learned his lesson. I’d rather see him pay off the car than buy any other ‘big-ticket’ items.

  • Yeah, I do that sometimes =( Good thing you can return it! I think I do that (impulse buy) during warehouse sales and sample sales, so now I know to stay away from them to resist the temptation in the first place!

  • You appear to be very detailed and do careful research prior to making a purchase. That’s commendable. I like the idea of painting the fan black, but that involves extra work and would be an entirely different project that might not get done in a timely manner. I know me!

  • I think that Home Depot and Lowes purchases are difficult in general. Whenever I enter these two stores in particular, I get distracted. I end up purchasing items that don’t fit, won’t work, or just never end up being used. It must have something to do with the immense size of the store, it baffles my brain. At least Lowe’s has a great return policy, they can just look up your purchase with your card. 🙂

  • Yes do your research before buying anything. We are currently thinking of buying a new car and we are in the middle of the researching stage. It’s fun and you learn alot from it.

    Not only will you save money and time but it’s a good process to apply to any other purchases you’ll make in the future.

  • Nicole

    @Revanche: I guess I just goof up now and then!

    @Casey: What a great idea! I’d still return the fan I gotm, though, because I can easily get a cheap white fan and paint it black.

  • Oh indeed I have! I’m a remorseful returner but am getting a LOT better at stopping myself before the point of purchase to reconsider.

    It’s taken a number of years, though, and I’ve also worked on spending time to research what I really want before I get into the store to avoid any other reasons for remorse buying.

  • Just spray-paint the fan blades and you’ll have a black fan! All our fans came with the crap wooden blades and I painted them white… now you know my DIY secret.

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