I went with Mom to the shoe store three weeks ago. She needed to pick up a pair of black, flowery dress-shoes to match her black dress.
While she was off doing her thing, I browsed the men’s section and found a pair of black Nike Air Beholds – basketball shoes. I played basketball quite a bit in Taipei, but unfortunately, in my running shoes.
As a result, my running shoes have several burst seams – luckily the sock remains covered from the inner lining – and the sole is peeling from the first metatarsal area of my right foot. Too much pivoting? I could have really made use of the Nike Air Beholds in Taipei I thought. A pair of basketball shoes didn’t make the cut for my journey abroad.
With Nike Air Beholds in my hand, I thought about the potential to play basketball with friends in Virginia. Maybe they would be a good investment now I speculated. Maybe It would help my running shoes last a little longer.
Mom asked me if I wanted the shoes. They felt great when I tried them on. I dashed forward and backwards in the carpeted aisle a several times and shot some air 3-pointers to test their comfort and durability.
Hesitant and questioning whether I really needed them, I responded, “No, thanks I don’t need them.”
I left the store after putting back the shoes in the cubby. I wanted to soak up some sun while I waited for Mom to purchase her shoes with her ‘$20 off’ coupon.
Moms know that gleam in their child’s eye. It’s the sparkle they see Christmas morning when their kids come running down the stairs to a Christmas Tree barricaded by a mole hill of presents – we were not well off.
I know my Mom too.
Sure enough when I went back in the store a few minutes of vitamin D later, there she was in the checkout line with the box of Nikes in her arm. I walked up to her, grabbed the shoes, and put them back.
“I don’t need them. I have basketball shoes in California.”
Mom has a grudge against Dad because, according to the settlement in court, he only had to pay Mom $500 USD in child support per month. It’s not much if you’re a single Mom trying to feed, clothe, and extra-curricular your two boys (traveling soccer applies a lot of pressure on a pocket book). She deserved a lot of credit. Recently, she’s been on my case for selecting the pricier organic options at the grocery store.
“You should go shop with your Dad. Let him see how expensive you are.”
A few days ago the plan was to go with my Dad to see my Uncle’s new fast-casual restaurant he’s opening up. Because of the rain forecast and a forgotten appointment with the landlord and contractor, Dad and I opted to stay in town and check out Uncle’s new place on the weekend.
Over FaceTime Dad asks, “Do you still want to have lunch? Is there anything you need to get? I can drive you around.”
Mom’s on her iPad on the couch within hearing distance.
“Yea, actually. I need to get some shoes,” I respond.
We’re on our way to the shoe store. The same one I was with Mom a few weeks ago.
“Maybe the shoes won’t be there. There was only one of my size left,” I tell Dad as we pull-up and get out of the car.
They were there but this time with a nice ‘25% off’ label. I tried them on again. Slightly tighter fit than last time because of the thicker socks I wore.
But once again, I am hesitant. Was Dad offering to buy them for me when he asked to take me out to get things? How am I going to deal with Mom’s reaction if she discovered I bought them for myself? Do I really need them?
I started to feel bad about myself for having my Mom or Dad buy me a pair of shoes. I am almost a decade out of college, I have money in the bank, and here I am wanting them to buy shoes for me.
I walked around a little bit, shoes in hand, and asked Dad if he saw anything he liked. We were in the clearance section.
“Not my style. Things are too expensive here. I paid $9 for my shoes. These are on sale but still too expensive.”
Dad had no intention of making me feel guilty, but that’s how I felt wanting to buy a pair of brand new sneakers that I didn’t really need.
“I’m good. I don’t need them,” I say as I put them back in the cubby.
“You sure? I’ll get them for you.”
“No, I’m good. How often do I play basketball anyway? I would rather buy food with the money instead. I need an onion and some celery to make soup at home.”
We went to Whole Foods and bought a few groceries.
It was interesting to feel the different emotions around purchasing a pair of shoes – guilt, joy, shame, disgust, sadness. How can one be so pensive over a pair of shoes?
Just because something is on sale, doesn’t mean it needs to be purchased.
Should I even be supporting a company like Nike?1)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nike_sweatshops
I don’t really need another pair of basketball shoes to lug around with me across the country. My backpack space is pretty limited and the ones in California still have plenty of life left in them.
Playing basketball in Virginia in my running shoes may sideline my running shoes a little faster than usual, but that is ok. We will probably only play once or twice a week at most.
Am I product of the marketing I’ve consciously and subconsciously consumed growing up?
Did I just beat Nike at its game?
Nike Air Behold bone broth is simmering on the stove and it smells delicious.
“We want what we can’t have; the commodity makes us want it.” – Macklemore
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