We’ve all bought stuff based on commercials that turned out nothing like how it was advertised. (Shamwow guy, you listening?) Sometimes we buy stuff on a whim, only to be disappointed later. I know I have. But not all my impulse buys have been duds. Here are some purchases that turned out to be better than expected! In no particular order…
After my last cordless bet, I’m wary of cordless anything other than phones. I bought a cordless vacuum cleaner! The thing would lose charge all of a sudden leaving you with a half finished house and a 12 hour wait while it recharged! After that I vowed I would never fall for this technology promise again!
But then, I did! We bought a house with a modest (small actually!) yard. It was summer and it was mowing time and I still hadn’t thought about a lawn mower. Gas mowers were an overkill for the yard we had. Plus the pollution, noise and the smell! I knew this wasn’t for me. Electric lawn mowers while pollution-free, didn’t look like it was convenient, might require installation of an outdoor power outlet, maybe an extension cord… after reading some reviews I decided to buy Worx Lil’ Mo cordless lawnmower on a whim! (Plus the pressure! It was *really* time to mow the lawn!)
Took me a few minutes to put this together and I have to say, this thing is light! The battery can be taken out so you can leave the mower in your toolshed and charge the battery inside. You have the option to mulch or bag which is nice and has three height adjustments.
Unlike my vac, this didn’t die on me! I could do both my front and back yard with some battery juice to spare! I haven’t run out of batteries mid-mowing yet! My faith in technology has been restored!
Speaking of portable power, rechargeable batteries are good. Not great, but good. Until now that is! Eneloop is a battery made by Sanyo of Japan that has revolutionized the rechargeable battery industry. Unlike normal rechargeables, Eneloop can hold power if left idle, even after a year! I don’t have numbers, but these batteries last as long as regular batteries.
In fact Eneloop batteries are so good Apple decided to buy these in bulk, rip out the Sanyo label and put an Apple logo, double the price, and laugh all the way to the bank.
I don’t think I’ll buy a regular battery again.
Omnimount Corner TV Stand
I’ve written about my aversion to drilling holes, even if it meant mounting a flatscreen TV. But it was time to do something about our TV. In our previous house, it was simply above a non-functional fireplace on the mantel (hey, we were renting back then!). Our new house had a functioning fireplace without a mantel.
I never realized this, but the country seems pretty divided on whether it is a good idea to place a TV on the mantel or not! Something about center of focus in a living room! It was decision time. I’m not someone who understands or appreciates the nuances of art and interior design, but in this case I decided to support this notion! (Because then, that would mean I don’t have install a mantel and drill holes! I told ya, I really hate defacing walls!)
Which meant investing in a good corner TV stand. Boy, there are so many of them and some of them are so cheap looking and poorly made. Either that or they are super expensive. My quest for the perfect corner TV stand lead me to the Omnimount TV stand. Here’s why this stand was different from the rest.
1. You can either mount your TV on the stand or
2. You could mount the TV on your wall and use the stand for your XBoxes and Blu Rays or
3. You could simply place the TV on the stand
4. You can tilt your TV sideways for a comfortable viewing angle
5. Comes with 4 different accents to match your furniture
6. Accommodates a variety of TV brands (comings with various mounting hardware) and TV sizes. So if you were to upgrade your TV, you don’t have to replace your stand
7. Can be used as a corner unit or a center piece
I’m a very functional guy and loved the options this TV stand came with! At $200, this wasn’t very expensive either. On an impulse I bought the stand. I did have second thoughts while I was waiting for the unit to ship! What if this was a cheap looking unit? What if the TV toppled over..! It did arrive on time, took a long time to put together (this thing was heavy!).
But I was blown away! The unit looks really, really good! The pictures don’t do justice. One of my best buys and highly recommended.
RainX Rain Repellant
Normally I wouldn’t give products such as these a second thought. Are we so lazy that we can’t turn on the wipers? If wipers wear out, I would get them replaced instead of buying fancy products that would most likely result in disappointment.
But a strange thing happened. Like all 6 month-olds, my son loved a good old car ride! Unlike other 6-month-olds, he wouldn’t sleep in the car, but a car ride would at least give us some quiet time! That is, until it rained! It is not the rain that bothered him, but the wipers… that terrified him! And let me tell you, it is neither safe nor fun to drive in the rain with a screaming kid behind you with wipers set to the lowest setting!
A happy family goes out, returns back with a squinting dad and a screaming child!
Out of desperation, I ordered this! I was very skeptical. It was simple enough to use it. Dab a few drops on a piece of cloth and apply to your windshield. Wait till it rains! Now I wouldn’t say you don’t need wipers, but I’ll say it works surprisingly well. The rain would sort of form droplets and roll off the windows. Much easier to drive than with just the wipers on.
Now Jr. is slightly older (and bolder) and wipers don’t bother him anymore. But we still use this whenever we go on road trips. At about 4 bucks, definitely worth the investment.
Thanks Jr. for making me buy stuff I never knew I needed! With kids like these, who needs commercials!
I really can’t think of any disadvantages of this purchase. I mean all domestic calls are free for life, you get a free home number, you have caller id and voicemail, international calling isn’t free, but isn’t that expensive either and has a host of other features if you ever need them. You can read about this purchase in depth, but seriously, a good money-saving buy.
Note: The new versions aren’t completely free, you have to pay applicable taxes and fees (which Ooma used to pay before), but that is ridiculously low and still a good buy.
This is yet another product I normally wouldn’t consider. A robotic vacuum cleaner? Sorry, no! But then, Jr. couldn’t stand normal vacuum cleaners due to the noise. His screams were louder than the vac! One of us had to take him out for a walk while the other cleaned the house. And that was the only way we could get this chore done! This routine got tiring after a while. We really needed a quiet vac. Either that or a filthy house.
So we decided, even if Roomba did a half-assed job, it was better than nothing. “This thing is quiet? Here, take my money and give me that thing!” That was probably that saleman’s quickest sale!
There was this excruciating charge time, but once charged, we decided to give Roomba a try. Jr. was suspicious at first, but also curious and the little whirring it made didn’t bother him. He would watch it mesmerized as it went around the house doing its job! He even tried to hitch a ride on Roomba once!
If it was about to lose charge it would automatically home in on its charger and charge itself! Quite fascinating how it does this!
So how well did it clean? Pretty well actually! It takes its own time and you stil have to clear the floors off small items like toys, but Roomba worked beautifully! It can detect stairs so it won’t fall off. It does get tangled occasionally on wires, but it knows how to alert you if that happens!
Another purchase that took us by surprise!
V Tech DECT Cordless Phone
With Ooma, the base station has to be hooked to the router which meant your phone too will be next to the router! And we had our router in the second floor! Every time it rang, someone had to go up to get the phone! You can add an additional handset from Ooma for 49 dollars or buy a cordless phone system which in my case, came to $39 for 3 handsets and a base station!
The phone is loud and clear and holds a charge very well!
Why was this an impulse buy? I normally buy Panasonic, but this was cheaper and had better reviews. I was torn between the two, but decided to try this brand! No regrets!
But after having bought a Kindle, I have to say, this is indeed a great product for those who like reading! Easy on the eyes and very convenient. Don’t compare this with a tablet and don’t try to surf the web on the Kindle. Use it for reading and you won’t be disappointed.
Not much of a TV watcher. I’m easily satisfied with Star Trek or Sienfeld. But I did keep hearing about this HBO show called simply The Wire. Supposedly the best TV show ever if you were to listen to the fanbois! The show is about drug dealers and cops in Baltimore. Now I don’t really like cop shows. I could never sit through one. I still don’t know how I bought into the hype, but I did after watching one episode on Netflix!
Once I started watching, I actually couldn’t wait to get home so I could watch the next episode! Very few shows have managed to do that to us! I’m no fanboi, but this is the best TV series ever produced!
If you recently cut cable, watching Wire is a good way to overcome any withdrawal symptoms!
What are your impulse buys that turned out better than expected?