Madhu Kumar had shopped for — but not actually ordered — the furniture that last week started arriving in waves at her New Jersey home.
Each day brought more surprise deliveries: flower stands, household items and armchair after armchair.
“The first person came with the box, and he put it next to the door,” Kumar told News 12. Then another delivery person arrived, then another. Soon, brown boxes littered the family’s front steps. Still, emails popped into Kumar’s inbox, informing her that more deliveries were on the way.
All of them were a mystery.
Although she’d loaded the items into her online Walmart shopping cart while browsing for the family’s new home in Monmouth Junction, Kumar knew she hadn’t purchased any of them. She checked with her husband, Pramod, who told her he hadn’t, either. And neither had their two older children.
That left toddler Ayaansh. While playing on his mom’s phone, the 22-month-old had gone rogue, buying nearly $1,800 of furniture that was in the cart. When the Kumars realized what had happened, they tried to cancel the remaining orders but were too late.
“He just went to the cart and whatever was there – boom – he just clicked and all payments just went through,” Pramod Kumar told News 12, later telling WNBC, “It is really hard to believe that he has done this, but that’s what happened.”
Born in spring 2020, Ayaansh has lived his entire life in the pandemic, watching the four older people in his family work, go to school, shop and play – all from home, all using electronics to connect and interact with the world.
He’s caught on quickly. While a WNBC reporter was at his house to report on his wayward online shopping, he flexed his technological prowess by closing the calendar app on her phone, sending an email to her mother and perusing her contacts.
Even then, Ayaansh wasn’t through with his original gambit. While a TV cameraman shot footage for the WNBC segment, a FedEx driver lugged an L-shaped box to the Kumars’ front door – another accent chair, courtesy of the Kumars’ resident toddler shopaholic. Then, Pramod opened the front door. His arms akimbo, he announced the latest development in his son’s online escapade.
“We got another delivery,” he said, smiling.
The Kumars told WNBC they plan to wait for all the packages to get to their house before returning them to a brick-and-mortar Walmart store for a refund, something they’ve arranged with the retailer. But perhaps not all of the items will be taken back. The toddler’s parents told the reporter they may keep a couple as souvenirs of Ayaansh’s secret shopping spree.
“He’s so little, he’s so cute,” Madhu Kumar told WNBC. “We were laughing that he ordered all this stuff.”
As funny as it’s been, the Kumars plan to make some changes, such as setting up passcodes on their phones and stopping their payment information from automatically loading for future orders.
Ayaansh is not the only child to sneak an online purchase past his parents during the pandemic. Last year, 4-year-old Noah Ruiz had more than 900 SpongeBob Popsicles worth upward of $2,600 sent to his aunt’s house after his mother told him she wouldn’t buy him any, The Washington Post reported. Through a GoFundMe campaign, Good Samaritans raised more than $25,000 to help the Brooklyn family cover the cost, and then some.