Instant Buy

A look into Stuyvesant students’ quarantine impulse purchases and whether they were worth it.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Cover Image
By Sabrina Chen

Many Stuyvesant students have purchased oddities during quarantine that they otherwise would have hesitated to buy and ultimately not have purchased. The combination of a multitude of online shopping sites at the press of a button and all the time in the world is more deadly than ever—fatal to both our wallets and our storage space.

Junior Vivien Li decided to splurge on the entire Game of Thrones series and made it her mission to read all the books over quarantine. “I was sitting on my computer, and then I saw a YouTube video pop up in my recommended explaining [the last season of] Game of Thrones. I thought I should probably buy the books instead [of watching it],” she explained. Though Li hasn’t finished all of the novels yet, she’s enjoyed the books thus far. “I’ve already watched the TV series, except for the eighth season, and I really liked [it]. The books were basically the same thing, except much more detailed,” Li said. She aims to continue reading the series and hopefully finish it once we have a school break but will take it at her own pace: “It took me about a month [to read the first book],” Li added. Considering the length of the series, it seems like she’ll have her nose buried in those books for a long time.

Senior Kelly Guo made a number of purchases based on hobbies and interests that she developed over quarantine. Her favorite purchase was over 24 different lapel pins. Guo was inspired to begin collecting pins by drafting teacher Arthur Griffith, who wears a different Disney pin on his tie every day. During her interview, Guo added, “It’s something I find really interesting, and I wanted to implement that on my backpack. I wanted to use it as a form of self-expression.” Unfortunately, schools have yet to open, so she has not had a chance to execute her plans; for now, her pins will remain displayed in her room. Another hobby that she revisited was reading manga. During quarantine, Guo discovered that one of her favorite manga from middle school has a sequel, expressing that, “This led me to want to complete already-existing manga collections.” She was able to revisit old favorites and discover new manga series because of the extra free time she had during quarantine and the summer.

When senior Yasmeen Hassan began remote learning in March, she found a unique way to communicate with her friends: letter writing. When in-person classes were canceled, Hassan found she had much more time to respond to letters that her friends had sent her during the winter. She really enjoyed responding to and writing letters, so she asked all her friends if they wanted her to send them a letter. Hassan ordered numerous stamps and decorations, such as stickers and motivational cards, for her letters. “I got about 20 people who wanted me to send them letters, and I didn’t have enough stuff for more than five people,” she explained. Hassan made an effort to stylize each letter she sent, so she made many different purchases so her friends could receive letters individualized for them. She also discovered a new artist that she really liked through TikTok, called Mothica. Hassan ordered Mothica’s merchandise, including a hat, shirt, and sweatshirt. She was even able to talk to Mothica over Zoom. Hassan made many purchases over quarantine that brought her happiness and helped her better pursue her interests and hobbies.

It seems retail therapy has gotten a new meaning over the past few months. To students, it means buying things that bring them some sense of comfort or normalcy. Whether it means buying a long book series to indulge in, two dozen pins inspired by a teacher, or simply writing hand-decorated letters to friends, students have found a multitude of ways to splurge with their money and time.