Pandemic purchases: What does your shopping decision say about your personality?

Pandemic purchases: What does your shopping decision say about your personality?

Guilty as charged

Text: Janice Sim

This year, the pandemic threw everything — life as we knew it — out of the window. Travel plans, job opportunities, grand nupitals, and many eventful occasions eventually took quite the hit. We did, fortunately, find other ways to seek enjoyment — with online shopping to fill the gaping hole in our social and professional calendars. To gain more insight on the relation between material goods and personal fulfilment, we crowdsourced the biggest pandemic purchases from eight of our readers, and had Maria Micha, a psychologist and mental health counsellor evaluate all of them.

Name: Melissa Tham

What I bought: A $543 lamp


Buy it here.

Why I bought it: I think being stuck at home during the circuit breaker really makes you reassess your surroundings and how you can make it neater and more liveable. I had already worked on my daughter's room so I naturally moved on to mine. I wanted to give my room a makeover by switching up a few key elements like the bed and the lamp. Particularly I zeroed in on the &Tradition's Verner Panton Flowerpot Pendant lamp because I've always thought that a good lamp can be the centrepiece of a room. It's also an investment piece that makes sense to me as it's something that I will see every day.

Do I regret it: I'm very happy with the lamp, as the size and design really works in my space. The light also diffuses in an interesting way, and I like the cleverness of the design. It can be a gamble purchasing lighting online, but if you're willing to take the risk and wait awhile, it usually results in significant savings. Although it was a bit of a splurge, I don't think it was a rash buy. It was quite considered and ultimately anything that literally illuminates your space and makes your bedroom more comfortable and beautiful is a worthy expenditure.

A psychologist says: This is a person that has understood during the pandemic, that creating a beautiful interior design and possibly a soft lighting in the home that they're going to spend a lot of time in is very important. So this would be a person that values aesthetics and a person who is trying to improve her mental state and emotional well-being via having relaxing and aesthetically-pleasing ambience at home.

Name: Cheralyn Daniels

What I bought: A set of $300 silk sheets

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Why I bought it: Felt like I deserved it. For better sleep and better skin!

Do I regret it: Not one bit. This purchase taught me that I ought to be spending more on homewear.

A psychologist says: A person that would buy silk sheets is a person who loves receiving pleasure through sensation, especially though bodily touch. This is also a person that loves luxurious items and is trying to bring luxury into their lives, either in the form of comfort or high-quality items. It is definitely a pleasure seeker as well.

Name: Adibah Isa

What I bought: A $390 hybrid bike from Decathlon

Decathlon bicycle

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Why I bought it: My trusty, rackety bike has been my lifesaver ever since I was 13. It helped me go through the darkest of days, kept me going when I felt unfit, and gave me breathing space during circuit breaker. But because it's seen better days, I've decided to upgrade to a hybrid bike instead from Decathlon! This is just what I need — something that's light, not too "serious" and will bring me through park connectors and to and from meet-ups!

Do I regret it: Nope. It's quite a good buy for a hybrid bike. Bikes are an investment. Once you have a good frame, you can always upgrade its parts for better.

What a psychologist says: Obviously a person who values exercise, physical exercise, during the pandemic and the lockdown, and is willing to invest in a bike in order to exercise more proficiently and create a balance physically and mentally for his/her body. This is a person that has been inspired via the lockdown to enhance his/her physical well-being. And we also know that when we are physically well, we're mentally and emotionally more balanced because our body and our mind are interconnected.

Name: June Chen

What I bought: A $1,240 Gucci bag

Gucci bag

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Why I bought it: I've had my eyes on the bag for awhile now but forgot about it and suddenly remembered it again. My husband and I usually take a trip for our wedding anniversary but we couldn't because of the pandemic so he bought me a bag instead.

Do I regret it: I got it second-hand on Vestaire Collective so all in all, it was a pretty good deal.

What a psychologist says: This buyer is more likely to be impulsive and attracted to joy. She/he will create space for enjoyment and pleasure in life. If she/he can afford the Gucci bag and is not going into debt in order to acquire it, then she/he has managed work/life balance. Life is not dry and mundane for this person.

Name: Hasnah Azhar

What I bought: A 300+ dinner at Meta

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Why I bought it: It was a celebratory feast to celebrate my boyfriend's birthday. Fresh out of circuit breaker, we felt that a gastronomic experience was worth the money.

Do I regret it: No, but would I do it again? Probably not.

What a psychologist says: This person is a hedonist and is willing to give pleasure to himself through food and drinks. The pandemic deprived him of pleasures received through the six senses. Hence, he/she is splurging on the pleasure seeking activities such as fine dining. He/she is likely to feel that the pursuit of pleasure is vital in life.

Name: Chay Wei Lin

What I bought: A $799 Dyson vacuum cleaner


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Why I bought it: I was spending so much time at home that I started noticing how dirty my house was. With all the excess money culminated from the lack of travel, I put that into a Dyson V10.

Do I regret it: Not one bit, I'm using it more religiously just because I enjoy keeping my house clean. It takes no more than 10 minutes to cover all the bases.

What a psychologist says: The person who would choose to splurge on an efficient vacuum cleaner is a rational person who makes decision based on logic and common sense. This person values practical solution and will prioritise structure or safety over pleasure through the six senses. He/she is more likely to have substantial savings but not a lot of memories from trips around the world or fun evenings with friends/family.

Name: Daniel Tan

What I bought: A $599 Apple Watch Series 6

Apple Watch

Why I bought it: This was a purchase I was sitting on for the longest time. So when the Series 6 launched recently, I made the leap.

Do I regret it: A little, if I'm being completely honest. The device is definitely a good statement piece to own but at times, I do think about what better things I could have bought with that money. Probably a few activity trackers.

A psychologist says: Aa person that loves technology, is attracted by technology. Could be a bit of a show-off exhibitionist, meaning that they will invest in an item that they will enjoy due to the technology, but also an item that is easily recognisable by the public and will offer some admiration/validation to them.

Buy it here.

Name: Wilson Chiam

What I bought: A BMW car subscription at $1,899/month

Buy it here.

Why I bought it: I needed a car to get to meetings as well as to ferry my kids to my parents' place.

Do I regret it: Not so much. If anything I'm glad I got to try out the experience, before deciding if I want to commit to my own car purchase.

What a psychologist says: This person identified what is important in his/her life during the pandemic: freedom to get pleasure through experiences not things. She/he will invest in a car as they want to enjoy moving from one pleasurable experience to the next whilst having comfort when running errands. The car gives the freedom that the lockdown took away.

Find out more about Maria Micha here.