Image source, John Emery
Image caption

John Emery uses his radio equipment

For many, Lockdown is a lonely experience. But for John Emery, it was an incredible opportunity to meet new people both locally and internationally.

He has been an amateur radio engineer since childhood. However, pandemic regulations gave him the opportunity to truly embrace this hobby.

Because he was able save enough to pay for the necessary equipment, He was able to complete his radio exam online because he had to take them.

According to him, he is now a member of a radio club that regularly talks with other radio fans across Europe.

The 55-year old from Derbyshire said, “I’ve made new friends.” “This was a great way to get by alone. There are many others who did the same.”

But not all people feel so happy about the pandemic purchase. Aviva reported that one-tenth of respondents had felt buyers’ remorse about items purchased in lockdowns.

According to the insurer, gaming equipment, diy tools, home gyms as well as clothing and jewellery and kitchen appliances like breadmakers, garden furniture, pizza ovens, and hot tubs were all on their regret lists.

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Typically, shoppers admitted spending nearly £1,400 on the items which have subsequently gathered dust or been sold on.

The flipside is that if 10% of people believe their purchases are a mistake they could still be satisfied with them.

We asked people for their stories and many of them replied to BBC asking about the joy they felt with new possessions.

Anna Tune was one of those to get in touch with her. She has two hobbies, crocheting and a body pump.

Although Mrs Tune is a nursing nurse in the NHS, she says it’s a very stressful job. However, during lockdown, she felt a bit bored at her home.

Kent-based 50-year old woman says that the online light weight training system was worth every penny and allowed her to continue with her workouts even when she couldn’t be there. Bob, Bob’s husband, loved it so much that he purchased it as well.

The crocheting! After failing to learn it at school, Mrs Tune was inspired to try it again.

It was a thought that the talent had disappeared for a generation. But it helped me to relax and it took my boredom away. “I can’t quit doing it now,” she said.

Some of the results include blankets for friends’ babies and birthdays.

Tom Oakley believes that his lockdown purchase has been a huge help to both body and mind. He was in his 40s when he bought a bike for his son and found new friends nearby.

He wanted to be active during lockdown but he could not walk and an injury had him unable to run. Although he admitted that inline-skating is his second passion, it has its own limitations.

“You only can do it when you have good ground conditions, and it’s not possible for middle-aged men to skate on social occasions,” he said.

He decided to buy the bike, and he signed up for an online cycling challenge, finding that other fathers were also signed up.

“In the dark winter months, I joined a group ride and started riding my indoor bike. They became more like friends. “I joined their Sunday group ride and have been welcomed ever since, after locking down was lifted,” he adds.

His wife agrees that it’s great. He states, “If I ride indoors, it is probably the most efficient exercise I can get so I can spend more with the children and around the house.” Or, I can go out for group rides so she is aware that I am being physically and mentally healthy and meeting new dads.

She has also been to the indoor biking a couple of times.”

You were asked to let us know if lockdowns have been costly mistakes.

This is where you will find a collection of your regrets.

  • Duncan, 48 years old, from Godalming states: “My family regretted the bagpipes I purchased as a new lockdown hobbies.”
  • Neil, 47 years old, is from Leeds. The Level One cello is now in the dining room.
  • Lee, 32 years old, from Southampton says, “I bought building materials and started a renovation. To then run out money and not be able finish the project and have my bank refuse to lend any more. It would have been better to save the money and wait.
  • Michael from London claims that he bought a new gym as the council closed his local facility because of Covid. After the pandemic, he lost his job and was left with an unpaid loan.
  • Gary Beaven, 55, from Nottingham says: “The garden furniture is still in the box.”
  • Sarah Homer from Dorset is 37 years old and says she wish she did more research before purchasing a carpet cleaner. It is very ineffective and occupies a lot of space,” Homer says. 
  • Glynn Hurrell (26), Lincoln says that she bought an exercise bicycle and has only done 4 miles. I see it every day in my living room, laughing at me.
  • Mike (28-year-old from London) says that a monthly subscription to beer hasn’t been a good idea in the long term.
  • Robyn Blair (24 years old) from Harrow said: “I purchased a trampoline 12 feet in length.”

Lockdowns can cause anxiety for future generations, which could be a serious problem for certain people.

Helen Undy, Chief Executive of The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute says, “When you are feeling lonely or distressed and spend more time online, such as during lockdown, it is harder to resist a desire to purchase items we don’t need or can’t afford.

It’s even more difficult because retailers are constantly bombarding people online with pushy, personal ads. They also offer easy access to credit and an option to purchase things in one click. People often feel that they are overwhelmed with unwanted purchases, as the return process is difficult and too stressful.

Retailers can assist people to control their spending, she says. They should give them greater autonomy in what ads they see and allow them the option of opting out of ‘buy now-pay later’ credit. We would also love to see it be as simple to return items as to buy them, she says.


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