Sometimes You Have to Learn The Hard Way

lessons in life, wrong purchase, purchase advice

Have you ever seen a bad purchase, and found yourself powerless to stop it?   I witnessed one recently that had me shaking my head, and while I fully admit that I have been known to be wrong from time to time, in this specific instance my instincts were dead on.

If you know anything about cats, you know they are independent and sometimes peculiar creatures. Our two cats seem to have a thing about where they drink water. They’ve always had a water dish right next their food, but they seem to not want to drink out of it. We’ve tried several different types of pet watering devices, but they seem to prefer to make us fill up a bathroom sink, or turn on the bath tub to a slow stream for a minute so they can get a drink of water.   Within the last six months, however, somehow we’ve gotten them to drink from a small glass bowl that we place on the floor next to our fridge.   For whatever reason, they absolutely love it. We fill the bowl at least once a day, and they even meow at us when it’s empty.

Cat Fountain

Prompted by a purchase of some friends of ours my wife recently decided, despite the success of the glass bowl, that we should get a cat water fountain. I categorized the thought as, “fixing something that isn’t broken,” but she antagonized and persisted in her attempts to add it to our spending plan. While walking through a home improvement store, we happened to run across a cat fountain on an end cap. She gave me one of those looks and declared that it must be a sign, we must buy it. She was sure our cats would love it. I couldn’t resist her any longer and caved in. Even as she put the box in our cart, I was sure that the $60 cat fountain was going to be a failure.

When we got home, she excitedly assembled the fountain, filled it with water, and turned it on. I could hear the buzz of the motor engaging, and then the soft splash of the water dropping out of the spigot into the pool below. The cats rushed to investigate the new noise. They looked at it, batted at the water a few times with their paw, and then walked away.

Over the course of the next three days and countless attempts to encourage the cats to use it, not a single drink was had from the fountain. We had removed the glass bowl from the kitchen, and it was painfully obvious from their meows that they were thirsty and wondering where it had gone. I retrieved the bowl from the cupboard, filled it with water, and said to my wife, “Watch this.”

I placed the bowl right next to the cat fountain. Both cats ran to the dish and drank eagerly from the bowl. “Fine,” gruffed my wife. She unplugged the cat fountain, emptied the water and put it back in the box.

My wife told the service counter employee at the home improvement story what had happened, punctuating the story with, “They hated it.” The employee chuckled and agreed to allow us to return it. Walking away from the service counter I could see out of the corner of my eye that my wife was looking at me. I bit my cheeks as hard as I could, but I couldn’t stop the, “I told you so” smile from pushing through.

She softly hit my shoulder and said in a deep voice through her clenched teeth, “Not a word.”

Have you tried to stop a purchase you just knew wouldn’t work out?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • Nice story. It underlines the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I’m glad the store allowed you to return the fountain. Our study is full of electronic stuff that I occasionally purge. It is not the same as the cat fountain, though, in that I “needed” the items at the time I purchased them. 😉 I just don’t need them a few years later, due to obsolescence.

  • Last week, my younger sister bought a penlight because she’s a Nursing student and it’s one of their requirements. When she arrived at home and opened the penlight, we saw that the battery part of the penlight was broken and it can’t be used anymore. So, we tried to bring it back to them, but they refused to refund it. We had a bit argument with the manager until they refund with a new penlight.

  • @Bryce – I was glad the store allowed us to return it as well, otherwise it would have been garage sale or craigslist fodder that we would have gotten half what we paid or less. Thanks for stopping by!

  • @Marie – Wow, I can’t believe they wouldn’t immediately return a broken pen! At least you eventually got the manager to “see the light!” hahaha!

  • I’m impressed that the store allowed you to return it! You’re lucky. Animals are so particular that you never know what is going to work with them. I definitely don’t see the need for something like a water fountain, but some animals love stuff like that so it was a toss up to begin with 🙂

  • I don’t have a bad purchase story that I can think of at the moment, but I have a multitude of “told you so” stories that I will keep to myself out of respect for my poor, often misguided hubby. But here is a summary of the most recent:
    Gassing up the car the night before this weekend’s road trip, the van wouldn’t start for a few tries, then it did. Me: Maybe we shouldn’t go tomorrow. Him: No, it’ll be fine. $475 extra spent this weekend for van repair (out of town) taxi to our hotel, and car rental. Thanks to AAA, no extra cost for tow.
    I didn’t say it, btw.

  • @Daisy – I was a little surprised too, given there wasn’t anything wrong with it. But I guess when stores say “100% satisfaction guarantee” they don’t only mean the people that buy it. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  • My regrettable purchase also involved a cat. I bought an ‘interactive’ toy for him to rub, scratch and poke at. He promptly began to rub, scratch and poke at the BOX the toy came in and refused to use the actual item..even when laced with catnip.

    On the other hand my cat LOVES to drink water (and is not diabetic) so he will drink out of ANYTHING. He is picky when it comes to eating and now refuses to eat out of anything except a glass bowl. Cats are crazy!

  • @Lulu – I had the interactive cat toy experience too…my wife wanted to buy a battery operated mouse that would roll around on the kitchen floor. It was only $7 or something, so I didn’t protest too hard. Cat’s watched it….then walked away. LOL. thanks for reading!

  • That’s so weird, my cats love their fountain! We even have that same one. They stare at me when it’s half full just like your cats and the glass bowl.

    I’ve heard some cats don’t like to drink water near their food bowl. Maybe your cats just didn’t like the fountain in the new spot. They liked drinking where the old glass bowl was, and changing the location and bowl was too much for your picky cats. Or maybe they just need a round glass fountain! 🙂

  • @Elise – LOL….round glass fountain – that’s hilarious! It certainly could have been the different location, unfortunately the fountain was so big that it just didn’t fit nicely where the glass bowl was. Everyone is much happier now that we’re back to the bowl! Thanks for reading!

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