Things You Absolutely Should Not Buy, According To Reddit

We’ve all heard of retail therapy, and most of us will agree that’s often very satisfying. Any time you step into shop (or log onto a shopping website) and part with some cash for some new possession, there’s an instant dopamine rush and a hit of personal satisfaction. But sometimes, that thing we’re parting with money for really isn’t worth it; in fact, there are some things we should know better than to buy at all. Reddit users have no shortage of opinions on this matter, and some of them have had their say on the question of the things we should stop buying, period.


1. Children’s party favours

Cheap children’s party favours. I’m not talking about the colourful pencils and paper pads that actually have some use. I’m talking about the nondescript plastic forms with popular media stickers and other garbage. The amount of trash plastic available for this niche is staggering- especially given that most of those toys hold a child’s attention for 2 hours.

Legos are highly resealable, giftable and tradeable. Hot Wheels last forever. Most toys have at least a possible second life. But party favour junk is just junk.

2. Glitter

Sparkles, glitter and sequins on everything, especially kids items. You think it’s hard to get that stuff out of your house after craft time?

It’s MICROPLASTIC, and it’s going into our waterways and oceans. Yet the toy stores and clothing stores are adding more sequins and glitter every day. Makes me furious. Just stop buying it!

3. Colon cleanses

Anyone that’s done colonoscopy prep knows how much nonsense that is. Go drink like 5 caps of MiraLAX and I promise you’ll be pooping clear water by the end of the night, and you’ll feel a whole lot better than if you tried the cleanse diet.

A) the presence of faecal matter is absolutely critical to the health of your gut biome. B) it’s the opposite of toxic if it remains in your bowels. The majority of serotonin in your body is produced in your gut and a normal functioning GI tract, poo included, is vital to that production. C) it’s incredibly insulting to the millions of people with Crohn’s disease that would give anything to be able to hold on to any waste long enough to need a “cleanse.”

4. Saltwater fish

Most saltwater fish should not be bought, if the new owners aren’t willing to put in the effort, and certain species just can’t be kept in captivity even with the effort. 90% of saltwater fish you see in the store (except for most clowns, some tangs, some seahorses, and I think maybe cardinal fish) are all wild caught.

More than any other pet, when you take home a saltwater fish you have purchased a piece of the environment and you should treat it with every bit of respect it deserves.

5. Face and body washes containing microbeads

I stopped buying face washes and stuff that have those and don’t miss them at all. They didn’t make the products work/feel any better, and were just there for aesthetic purposes.

The marketing gives you the “idea” that these microbeads are “bursting with great ingredients that are amazing for your skin,” or whatever the promises were. I now do more research into products rather than letting ads tell me what my skin needs/will work best.

6. Specially bred ‘designer’ dogs

I’m a vet tech and I’m so sick of seeing inhumane traits bred into a lot of dogs. On top of that, golden retrievers have become cancer machines. Some of the worst skin and food allergy dogs we treat are pure bred poodles and other pure bred dogs owners spent a couple grand on. Right now there’s a four-month-old Dogo Argentino flown in from like Puerto Rico. Cost them at least $5,000 for the dog. He’s bilateral cryptorchid and keeps asking what we can do for him so he can stud.

We keep explaining even if the dog ends up not being sterile, cryptorchidism is genetic and not something anyone should be breeding. He found a “reproductive specialist” that is supposedly a veterinarian who is willing to do a procedure to attempt testicular descent. I just can’t even fathom why any vet in their right mind would be willing to do this. It should be classified as abuse, it’s a serious welfare issue that needs to be addressed.

7. Luxury coffins

I’m an undertaker… Sealer caskets are usually not necessary. Sometimes it’s required if you’re being entombed (in a crypt, in a mausoleum), being shipped by airline back home, or having a service where the changes that take hold of us after we pass have very much taken hold of you. Having a expensive casket with silky insides is never necessary.

It’s all well & good to say just bury me in a blanket in a hole, toss me in the ocean, trash, do sky burial, build a pyre etc. But sadly there tend to be regulations about these things. Donating to science hardly ever happens, because when we’re dead, we’re usually old, & when we’re old, our organs are too. They don’t tend to be viable & the only part of you likely to be harvested is your corneas. Composting is still a ways off from being a typical option. So is alkaline hydrolysis. Which is interesting.

8. Illness/disability awareness memorabilia

Stop buying those weird little disability/sickness awareness things like mugs, shirts, and so on. Speaking as a disabled person, not only is it insulting to have the very thing that has been plaguing us stamped on a cute little kid’s cup, but it’s also needless waste of resources and money making those items that’ll probably be used for a day at most.

If people really care, just donate. It’s good for the environment, and it’ll have more of an effect because less is used to make items.

9. Tax services

If you are a normal, working-class person, you do not need to pay for tax services. Governments and financial institutions (like your bank) provide free software you can use to file your taxes.

Remember that it is a tax return that you are getting, not some bonus reward, so if you don’t have to, it does not make sense to pay to get your own money back.

10. Products containing palm oil

This is a little more complicated. Palm oil is an extremely efficient oil to produce when it comes to energy and space. The issue, obviously, is people cutting down the orangutan’s forests to build plantations.

Truly sustainable palm oil would be a legitimately good thing, but the current certification body is awful.

11. Kitchen gadgets with one function

If I can only use it for one ingredient and I can do that task better with anything else in my kitchen, then it’s not worth your time. Thanks Aunt Becky, but I don’t need a watermelon slicer, Rollie, or avocado knife.

If it does one thing and does it better than I can, then it’s not a waste. I use a rice cooker everyday, but like hell if I’m gonna use bear claws over a fork to pull pork.

12. Dryer sheets

Dryer sheets are single use. They just contribute to your waste output, and make your towels less fluffy. Also, “dryer sheets contain a potentially harmful chemical called quaternary ammonium compounds (QACS). According to Geller, at the very least it’s been known to cause and/or worsen asthma and skin irritations.”

You should consider buying re-usable wool dryer balls instead, as these naturally fluff up your clothes.

13. Cheap musical instruments

Please stop buying your kids the cheapest musical instrument you find on Amazon. Those only make it hard to play and then they’ll end up quitting.

Most music teachers can tell you where to buy a quality used instrument that will make your child successful and thus have more fun!

14. Diamonds

Diamonds. They’re just a scam. Hoarded mostly by one company to artificially inflate the market and sourced in pretty disgusting ways.

Real diamonds are not any better than artificial diamonds. And they’re just one big piece of marketing.

15. Helium balloons

Helium balloons. There are so many medical and technical processes which require helium and it can’t be lab-created.

Helium is mined (extracted, I think might be the right term) and will eventually run out if things don’t change.

16. Cruise ships

Practically all motorboats dump exhaust into the water. It is done for noise reduction and to reduce odour for those on board. Jet boats with loud dry stacks are one exception, probably because they benefit from zero backpressure.

Low lying soluble air pollutants will probably remain dissolved in the water, but the CO2 emissions just pop right out into the air, along with other non-soluble pollutants. Cruise ships are awful in any event and their emissions are only second to container ships, which at least serve a better purpose.

17. Storage units

I have a real issue with long-term storage units for most people. I understand that storage units have some value, if you’re in a situation where you’re moving but have a gap without a permanent place to stay or if you’re going to be traveling for a few months or a year and get out of your current rental, as examples of good uses of these places. But I know tons of people who have a whole house/apartment and then rent a storage unit as well for years, and I find it completely baffling.

Storage units aren’t cheap, but most of what gets stored in them often is. It often works out in my mind that by the time you’ve paid to store it long enough to actually use it or move it to its final resting place you could frequently have bought the contents of the storage units several times over.

18. Disney movie remakes

Please, for the love of God, stop buying tickets for uninspired Disney remake movies.

I’m tired of seeing them being shovelled out by the dozen, while destroying any semblance of charm that their older counterparts had.

19. Plastic packaging

Stop buying plastic-packaged things like it’s not a big deal. It ends up in the group, where microplastics contaminate the soil and eventually the groundwater. If you live near a coast it often ends up in the ocean, and later in the food supply chain.

These plastics last a LONG time. Thousands of years in a lot of cases. They’re linked to serious health problems, and they are everywhere now. In all the water and food we’re eating.

20. SUVs or trucks for non-commercial use

Me and my boyfriend have a good joke that if a truck is huge but isn’t dirty, it’s not for work. You’ll usually see the actual work trucks early in the morning and later in the afternoon.

I was getting coffee at 6am one day and a dude with a big dirty truck came in for coffee and was already in his work clothes. Then 3pm hits and it’s the trucks with chrome rims and stupid bumper stickers.

21. Fantasy novel franchises

Fantasy books that are first of a series of 13. Fantasy has become completely entrenched in this model where every story HAS to be a massive multivolume epic. I can count on one hand the number of multivolume series that actually NEEDED to be 8-10 books long.

Most of them could have been told in one trilogy, if not just one epic book. I 100% believe that writers are pressured to stretch out their two-volume stories into eight purely for the additional sales.

Credit: Michael Sauers

22. New phones

The latest phones and electronics. Electronic waste is an insanely big problem, especially in the countries that process (read: burn) the waste to get the precious metals from them.

There is literally nothing wrong with your phone, you only got it less than a year ago, you don’t need the latest model. Stop it.

23. Fast fashion

I’ve been a thrifter (in Australia we call it op shopping – “opportunity shopping”) since I was a teen, but got out of it when I was working full time. Now I’m a stay-at-home mum to two boys, their wardrobes are 95 percent thrifted, and I found the most amazing real designer stuff for them worn a few times or basically brand new. It’s amazing what people throw away, especially when it comes to kids’ clothes.

I’ve hit up the $2 rack lately for myself and gotten much-needed new threads, designer blazers and dresses that you’d never know were second-hand. It actually disgusts me how much people throw away when you think about it.

24. Wild animals as pets

I had to go to the pet store today to buy some supplies, and was utterly horrified. Cages of wild-caught lizards, snakes, turtles, frogs and salamanders, many piled on top of each other and writhing around trying to escape. They all looked sick and stressed, and were being sold at “impulse buy” prices.

Unfortunately, none of the species I saw have a “protected” status in this state, and all are considered “fair game.” But that doesn’t make this right. I can guarantee that 90% of customers in that shop have no idea how to take care of such creatures, and the remaining 10% who do know better than to support their ongoing mass collection. Unless you work for a professional conservation facility or animal rehabilitation centre, please leave wild animals in the wild.

25. Christmas decorations

I can’t understand the people that buy holiday decor every single year. Are people buying fake trees and tossing them every year and needing a new one? Same with ornaments and whatnot.

Obviously people move out of their parents or they need to replace ornaments if they’re broken or something, but the amount in stores does not add up to me. Why so much new stuff every year?