Have you ever have an experience that reminds you instantly of something that happened years ago?
My son and I went shopping for new baseball cleats at a sporting goods store that was having a 20% off sale. Looking down the isle of baseball shoes, youth sizes were on the left, adult on the right. Over the past year my son has grown quite a bit (as teenagers tend to do), and we quickly found he had finally made the leap into adult sizes, which of course are more expensive. We paid $44 for the shoes (regular price $55) and walked out the door. They were major name brand shoes, seemingly of good quality, but it was the most I had ever paid for a pair of baseball shoes for him.
A few days later, I was walking through Walmart when I noticed baseball shoes for under $20. When I returned home, I mentioned to my son that we should go check them out because they were so much cheaper.
The look on his face instantly reminded me of an experience of walking through the grocery store with my mom when I was twelve years old.Â She had just placed a bag of off brand of potato chips in the cart, and all I could think of was the embarrassment I would feel if I offered the funny looking bag of chips as a snack to my friends. Â Â For the rest of the time we were in the grocery store I gave my mom a hard time trying to guilt her into putting the off brand back on the shelf.Â She didn’t give in.
His facial expression said it all. It said, â€œJust once can we not get the cheapest that we can find?â€ and â€œThis year I was finally hoping to walk on the baseball field with the same equipment that everyone else has.â€Â As a teenager, he is now hypersensitive to being like everyone else, and even if there were other kids on the field with the same shoes from Walmart (which I’m sure there would be), he would feel out of place not having the cool name brand shoes like the premier athletes. Everything his face said went against my adult feelings of anti-peer pressure and consumerism.Â It also brought out that inner voice of the young man walking through the grocery store with his mom.
So I caved in. We never went to see if the shoes that were less than half the cost of the ones we purchased at the sports equipment store would work. I almost talked myself into believing that we kept the more expensive shoes on the grounds that you get what you pay for.Â But I know that we really kept the shoes because I wanted my son to fit in, and because I didn’t want him to feel embarrassed by his frugal dad.
What would you have done?
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