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Comedy writer Bonnie Datt once bought a chainmail vest "for clubbing"—a purchase she later came to lament, once she realized that chainmail isn't terribly slimming. Inspired by this, she now spends her spare time asking famous people to dish about purchases which they initially loved—but ended up regretting, for Racked's Buyer's Remorse.
For this week's Buyer's Remorse we speak to Handsome Dick Manitoba, the legendary lead singer of punk pioneers The Dictators (one of the first bands to play CBGBs and a huge influence on The Ramones). These days Handsome Dick can also be found at his eponymous bar, Manitoba's on Avenue B in Greenwich Village, and hosting a daily radio show on Little Steven's Underground Garage station on SiriusXM. Joining the always outspoken Manitoba, is his wife, writer Zoe Hansen. Together, the two candidly share with us not one, but two incidents of buyer's remorse. Neither of their purchases were even remotely punk.
Racked: So what purchase do you most regret buying?
Handsome Dick Manitoba: I'd have to call my biggest regret, my most expensive regret. I never bought a house, I never bought a car, and I don't want to talk about a can of beans that I might have bought, "Oh my God I chose the wrong beans!" because it just doesn't hurt that much. What I want to talk about is something that probably cost in the $1,500 to $2,000 dollar range.
Handsome Dick Manitoba: $2,500? Okay, my wife has to jump in with the color commentary. When we first started going out, Zoe kept an apartment in the West Village near this furniture store called Jensen-Lewis, where we saw this beautiful, certain type of muted green—(to Zoe) What color green was it Zoe?
Handsome Dick Manitoba: Seafoam green suede couch. And we saw this thing and looked at it a bunch of times because we were always walking by there and we were both in love with it. And we are both, might I say, a bit, if not very, impulsive. This was before we had our son Jake, so we were in the burning money stage of our relationship. And we saw this gorgeous couch—the color, the fabric—we sat on it, we loved it and we bought it.
We got it home and it was horrible. It was way too big for the size of the apartment, but more importantly, and I don't know how we didn't figure this out in the store—it was totally uncomfortable! You had to sit up in it—it was like a museum piece couch. Aesthetically it was gorgeous, but functionality? It was a horrible, horrible couch for the single most important thing a couch should be used for—comfort. So we looked at each other, and first we laughed and then we kind of cried.
So I put an ad in the newspaper. Within a week we found someone who bought it for a thousand dollars. We took a big hit. But we were so blessed, because it's not like you can put this couch on the side while you buy another more comfortable one. First you have to get rid of it physically, second you have to get some money back, because let's say you want to go buy a big soft plush couch and its $1,200 or $1,500 bucks, you're already $2,500 into this luxurious couch. Well, the guy came, loved it, gave us a thousand dollars and had it shipped to some apartment he had in London—this guy had all kinds of money. So we got real lucky.
Did we learn a lesson? Probably for a while. We're still somewhat impulsive, but I think that set us in a different direction. But I'd have to say that was the biggest mistake, I ever bought.
Zoe: Tell about my face.
Handsome Dick Manitoba: I'm allowed to tell that?
Zoe: Sure, I don't care.
Handsome Dick Manitoba: We're very much of a team, so can I do a tie for first place? She spent $5,400 on these injections to iron out her fourty-four year old-ness. She went to this doctor, who Madonna allegedly goes to, because I didn't want her to have surgery, and I thought this was less toxic. So she went to this hot shot doctor who makes women look amazing, but it's short term and it's expensive and we don't have that kind of money—she went with a friend of mine's wife who can afford it better than we can. It was like four to five months ago. The results of the injections have already disappeared but we haven't finished paying the bill yet. Next month will be my last payment. It was like four or five months ago, and you need it twice a year basically.
Zoe: No, every four months.
Handsome Dick Manitoba: Every four months!
· All Buyer's Remorse Posts [Racked]