Unusual Pandemic Purchases: Oversized Llama Art, Sticky Beads, and Birds


Yikara Levari is pretty sure her family’s fascination with sun conures started during a telemedicine visit in 2020. It was at the start of the pandemic when her husband, an internist, was doing a virtual exam and was noticed a beautifully colored bird in the background of his patient. filter. As soon as the appointment was over, the doctor told his family about the parrot with the yellow plumage.

What happened next, Levari recalls, was that the family became obsessed with the howling South American bird, otherwise known as the Sun Parakeet.

With several children at home due to quarantine and the internet serving as a source of avian knowledge, the family have spent countless hours searching for Sun Conures and related species.

“We have become obsessed with birds,” said Levari.

Several hundred clicks later, they decided it was time to land their own pet. In an attempt to locate the mischievous member of the genus Aratinga, Levari called several stores and breeders. She even tried to visit a solar conure farm. She soon discovered, however, that the bird is not only loud, but endangered.

Still determined to acquire a pet, the Levaris ended up adopting two parakeets. Months after welcoming Chiquita and Papita, the family’s avian interests flew south.

“No one but me pays attention to them,” Levari told The Chronicle last week.

She doesn’t regret buying the birds, but many people have fallen into the pandemic rabbit hole and ended up buying things they now wish they didn’t have.

One in 10 Britons has expressed remorse over a purchase linked to a pandemic, according to the BBC. The Guardian, relying on similar data, noted that UK households spent £ 6.6bn (or around $ 8.8bn) on things they no longer use.

Sun Conure. Photo by PrinPrince via iStock

Over a year ago, Dovid Taub found himself scouring the aisles of grocery stores for hand sanitizer. At this point in the pandemic, he said, no one was leaving their homes, but everyone needed hand sanitizer, and all anyone could find were the mini travel sizes.

While traveling to Squirrel Hill Giant Eagle, Taub discovered a 1 liter bottle, resembling a large flask, with a label saying “Hand Sanitizer”. After buying it and going home, Taub tried it on.

“It had that weird smell and was a little sticky,” he said. “It was really like it was burning everything.”

The Taub family quickly realized that instead of relying solely on what Taub eventually dubbed “Everclear” (grain alcohol), they could achieve optimal levels of hygiene by simply washing their hands with their hands. soap and water.

Still, Taub said he doesn’t feel bad about buying such a large amount of odd-smelling gel and laughs a lot when people come to his house, snoop around his closet and find what they think is a bottle of alcohol. What he regrets is “buying in a panic”, he said. “Just because there was something I couldn’t get, I felt compelled to do it. “

Squirrel Hill resident Morris Kornblit understands this sentiment. He and his wife Anita were about to drive away when they discovered major issues with their vehicle. After taking their Subaru for an oil change and routine inspection, Kornblit learned that the cradle was rotten and the car’s engine could fall out at any time. Kornblit said he was not only surprised by the find but also disappointed that his car had only driven 66,000 miles.

He remembers seeing advertisements that Subarus could cross rivers and rocks and buy the car, he said, because he thought it would last several hundred thousand miles, even if he didn’t. had never driven off-road.

After experiencing the joke of looking for a new car during the pandemic – a process in which he discovered there were hardly any available – Kornblit said he ended up buying another Subaru. Although he does not regret purchasing the car, he regrets purchasing an extended warranty. The cost of the warranty was over $ 3,000, or 10% of the car’s value, and requires Kornblit to pay a copayment each time it wishes to use the warranty for repairs.

What he’s learned is that it’s always important to read the documents before a sale, he said.

The Davis family enjoys a craft activity during the early days of the pandemic. Photo courtesy of Elena Davis

Squirrel Hill resident Elena Davis said she didn’t go to quarantine to make big purchases – just a bunch of small ones.

With four children at home, Davis decided she needed to increase her family’s supply of craft projects. A kit she bought came with a lot of small beads that could be glued in place to create a portrait.

It was a great idea, and one of her kids even finished a photo, but the problem was that every time someone walked by and hit the table, the tray containing about “800 million little sticky beads” popped up. was probably knocking over, and at this point Davis said, “You’re just picking up pearls.”

But at least this purchase has been somewhat used up. Davis said that as soon as her kids started going to virtual school, everyone needed to spread out around the house. Everyone had a place, but when her 9-year-old daughter needed a place to work, Davis thought she had found the perfect solution: a laptop.

Marketed as both a seat and a surface, the laptop desk can go anywhere. Davis thought this was a great option and quickly ordered it from Amazon. Once there, however, Davis’s daughter gave it a try and informed her mom about how incredibly uncomfortable it was to sit on the floor stuck in an all-in-one desk.

Davis doesn’t know why she didn’t return the item. The upside to keeping it, however, is that if young children come to her house and want to play at school, there’s an uncomfortable seat that’s ready to go, she said.

In the first few weeks after the first confirmed case of COVID in the United States, people were making all kinds of purchases. According to a CNBC story from March 2020, in addition to medical supplies and pantry items, “people started paying money for entertainment.”

Davis said she was not immune from shopping for entertainment during an early pandemic. She remembered seeing an ad on social media for an oversized colorable card. Having purchased many crafts already in the early days of the pandemic, she thought it might be fun for her family to color an item the size of an extended tablecloth together. But instead of buying a map of the United States and learning about the geography of the country, Davis bought an oversized image of a llama.

Why would anyone want to color a large virgin camelid? Because llamas are cool and “anything oversized is so exciting,” Davis said.

Once the project arrived, however, Davis quickly learned the challenge of working with enormous art.

“It took so long to do anything,” she said. “It took so long to color. It was just boring.

So, without anyone languishing to color the pack animal, the giant object was finally put aside. Almost 20 months have passed since Davis reluctantly made his first purchase in the event of a pandemic. She said she had learned a few lessons about easily spillable beads, a desk that is not conducive to study, and a llama that no one wants to color. These lessons, she continued, could be useful for future buyers.

“Maybe think of things that are helpful after the pandemic,” Davis said. Once this period is over, “we probably won’t need to sit at a desk on the floor anymore.” PJC

Adam Reinherz can be contacted at areinherz@pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.


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