Buyer’s Remorse

I must admit, that on occasion, I have bought an item that later on I regretted buying. Most of the items that fall into this category have not been overly expensive, not like a car or a house, nothing like that. But still, after the purchase, I thought to myself, “Why did I do that?”

Buyer's Remorse - Tenkara Angler - Tom Davis

Buyer’s remorse refers to negative emotions—such as regret, anxiety or guilt—that consumers may experience after buying an item. It’s typically linked to large purchases—like a car or a new home. But some people may experience it after smaller purchases—like buying a new bag or set of golf clubs. (Capital One)

Buyer’s remorse can come in different flavors, but they all end up being bitter. One is, buying that special thing that you really don’t need, but you think you do. Oh yeah, been there, done that!

I must admit that I have a number of tenkara rods sitting at home that don’t get much love. That’s not because they’re dogs, but because I have others that I like better and end up using all the time. Or the time I ended up buying a rod, and liking it so much, that I bought a second one. Why did I buy a second one? I don’t know. Maybe I convinced myself that I bought it for “parts”, or as a “backup” (like I wouldn’t be able to get parts). But after not breaking the rod and not ever needing a backup, I ended up selling the spare. Come to think of it, when I get back home I need to put some rods up for sale. 

Buyer's Remorse - Tenkara Angler - Tom Davis - Facepalm

Another type of buyer’s remorse is buying something you thought you couldn’t live without, only to find out it doesn’t spark joy for you after all.

One day while strolling through the Orvis shop in Jackson Hole, WY, I came across a waxed cotton parka that called out to me. At that time, I’d always wanted a traditional waxed cotton field jacket to satisfy my inner anglophile. The price was high (duh, Orvis and Jackson Hole), but it was “on sale”. I felt my heart race and my palms get sweaty – I was in love. So I asked my wife if I could buy it, and she (who never asks for anything) said yes. I snapped it up! Well, come to find out, it wasn’t meant for me after all. It was heavy and didn’t breath very well. You couldn’t wash it or dry clean it, or you’d have to re-wax it. But worst of all, when I put it on and looked in the mirror, I looked stupid. I thought I’d keep it and “learn” to love it over time, but I only wore it twice and then decided to sell it on eBay – for a loss, of course. 

Buyer's Remorse - Tenkara Angler - Tom Davis - Anguish

Another form of buyers remorse is thinking to need to have the latest, greatest thing, when you don’t. That’s another situation that trapped me.

Years ago, I bought a Tenryu TF39TA. It was the newest, most compact, Japanese super rod to hit the market. Being a blogger who reviews rods, I needed content and the TF39TA seemed the perfect item to generate excitement in the blogosphere. So, I bought the rod. At first I thought it was “nice”, but the more I used it, the less I cared for it. I can’t say I disliked the TF39TA, but I did find a few things that I didn’t care for. I found that I didn’t like the handle (too small in diameter and too straight), and my rod didn’t have smooth extension or nesting of the zoom segments. Also, over a very short amount of time, the O-rings shredded and needed replacement. So, I ended up regretting buying the rod and sold it. I’ve never regretted selling it, it just didn’t speak to me. 

The last buyer’s remorse scenario I’ll mention I alluded to earlier — that of buying, just to buy.

Again, being a blogger, I often bought tenkara stuff (mainly rods) so I could generate content for my blog. On occasion I’ll be given an item free of charge, but that was never my intent with my blog. Besides, I wanted a clear conscience when writing up a review. So, purchasing the item outright allowed me to say whatever and do whatever I wanted with the item. But it also set me up to buy some things that I shouldn’t have wasted my money on.

I’m not going to mention any companies or products in this category, as that wouldn’t be right, but needless to say, I bought some tenkara stuff that I never would have if it was just for me. I almost immediately regretted buying these items,  and with most of them I lost the money. I didn’t feel right about selling them, so I just gave them away. 

Buyer's Remorse - Tenkara Angler - Tom Davis - Fingers Crossed

From now on I’m going to be more careful and less impulsive in my purchases. I’m going to think more and react less. I’m going to do more homework and let someone else take one for the tenkara team. Yes, that’s what I’m going to do, but first, there’s a rod I’ve been eyeing that I need to get my hands on! 😉

Buyer’s remorse. Have you ever experienced it? Were there any tenkara-related items that you ended up regretting buying? If so, what were they and why didn’t it work out? I’d love to hear that I’m not the only one out in Tenkaraland with impulse control issues!

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  1. We American’s are programmed to consume. If we do not get an occasional baubel, we aren’t participating in keeping our end of the economy up. The regret is basically the hangover of consumerism. I think the gifting is atonement for the hangover, but even that might be a by-product of consumerism.

    I get these stories because I delved into the Tenkara world through the Google porthole. A mid-winter excursion, from when the ground was frozen, to a tiny seedling now at the thaw, and one that Google lovingly nutures. It’s not Googles fault. Google is just an advanced dream machine not constrained to a single topic like the catalog.

    We are not dis-similar to the fish we seek in that we rise to the bait. From Tenkara my interest was re-kindled back toward dragging out my flyrods and the flies I tied three decades ago, also toward my old terminal tackle too long collectig dust. The foray back into fishing has netted me another very long spinning rod and reel geared toward surf fishing instead of a Tenkara rod, new chest waders, and a desire to spend time outdoors exploring, just as I did indoors over the winter. If we don’t keep up with the Jones’, then where would we be?

  2. Tom, I know the feeling. I bought a rod during the pandemic with some of the stimulus money (I wouldn’t have bought it otherwise)that the government thought that I needed. It’s a lovely rod and the most expensive rod that I own. Designed and developed by a true tenkara master. It’s light in hand, a pleasure to cast and very accurate. However, it just doesn’t fit/suit my style of tenkara/fixed line fishing.

  3. The thing I find funny about this article is the Tenryu TF39TA that Tom mentioned he sold… he sold it to me! And then ironically, I had buyers remorse shortly thereafter and ended up re-selling it too as although it is a wonderful rod, I found myself not fishing it enough. LOL!

    This article is so, so very relatable.

  4. Great article Tom! I’m wondering if that waxed jacket you were talking about was a Barbour.

    I guess I’ve had pretty good luck when it comes to fishing gear–no real buyer’s remorse. But I definitely have had it with clothing, electronics, and other things. Luckily, today it’s easy to unload on eBay or Nextdoor.

  5. This is exactly the kind of thing I talk and write about regularly myself and alas my article on downsizing was in the reccomended articles. Our relationship to stuff is deep and complex. Modern Capitalism plays on that relationship and on our hardwired instincts. But we can look closely at that relationship to the things we purchase. I try to give myself a minimum of 24 hours on most larger purchases. 48 if it includes something my wife and I are buying together.
    There are some who make the decision to only own a specific number of possessions. To each his own. We can always say “if I buy this new thing, I will get rid of (donate or sell) the thing it is replacing”.

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