Pandemic Purchases

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All The Weird Stuff That Sold Out In 2020

Thanks, coronavirus, for all the unnecessary stress of looking for an inflatable pool to keep my kids happy in the middle of a pandemic.

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It started with toilet paper and hand sanitizer, but when the Easter candy and puzzles started disappearing from shelves, things got really scary. Here's a look back at some of the items that sold out during 2020, throwing everyone in a complete tizzy.


My youngest was about to turn 18 months old when diapers were suddenly at risk. And then wipes disappeared from the shelves! And I was like, "I swear, if you're all using wipes and diapers to take care of your pee because you can't find toilet paper, I will lose it."

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I can't wait to tell my children about the months I couldn't find flour or yeast because everyone was suddenly practicing to audition for The Great British Bake-Off. No really. Everyone just wanted to stay home and bake, and research says that's totally normal.

Easter was about a month into the pandemic, and everyone ate all the Peeps. OK, they didn't eat all of them, but Peeps had to halt production due to the coronavirus, and once they started back again, they didn't have the means to do seasonal Peeps for the rest of the year.

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Apparently there was both an aluminum shortage and also just more people at home needing a caffeine fix, causing the delay in products.

For weeks, my husband and I put 12-packs of Cherry Coke Zero on our grocery lists, and for weeks, they were out of stock.

Thanks to lots of screen time, my 6-year-old learned from YouTube that she absolutely needed a Nintendo Switch. And then we spent *months* trying to find one. Seems like because everyone was at home, everyone needed a way to entertain their families.picture alliance/picture alliance/Getty Images


I mean, you kind of expect electronics and toilet paper, but puzzles? Puzzle brand Ravensburger's sales were up 370% this year, according to NPR. This obsession was back in the early pandemic days when everything felt quaint and cozy, and everyone wanted a puzzle to do.

Inflatable pools were nearly impossible to find from May on, and it was pure torture for those of us stuck at home with small children that just needed to get *out* from the Zoom calls. Will never take an inflatable pool for granted again.Westend61/Westend61/Getty Images

Nuggets are notoriously popular even in non-pandemic times, but these little couches really had parents going bananas after like day two of quarantine. Apparently the company had to start a lottery to score a chance at getting one in a limited restock every few months.

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In even more "how can I keep my kid from losing it" fashion, bouncy houses and castles became the new thing.

Until they were sold out and selling for double on every online marketplace.

Fire pits and patio heaters took a big hit in supply this year, too. You can obviously chalk it up to families wanting to spend more time outside for social distancing and safety, along with restaurants wanting to open outdoor dining space.
And finally, the superstar of the pandemic. Remember the first time you realized you were officially out of TP in 2020? I had to ask my mother-in-law for some of her back-up Costco stash. Meanwhile, our local breakfast place sold rolls from their bathroom for 50 cents each.Shutterstock