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Shopping for the latest fashion has never been something that really interested me. If there is a fashion gene in our DNA, it didn't make it into my gene pool and my wife will be happy to testify to that. As far back as I can remember, being trendy never factored into my purchasing decisions. I was always more driven by functionality, durability and simplicity.
Take shoes for instance. Even as a youngster, I wore the lowest cost sneakers that my family could afford. Even when $150 sneakers became all the rage, I was completely immune to the trend. When teenagers were literally killing each other for the latest Jordans and every suburban kid was begging their parents for the latest Adidas, cool sneakers never made it to my priority list. Sure, as I went through my teenage years, I managed to upgrade to Adidas or Nike, but it was always to the model that was on sale - a very big sale. And my parents had us keep our shoes for longer than most people keep their cars today.
Even now, with my upper middle-class income, I still can't bring myself to fork over $100 for a brand name pair of sneakers. I still head down to Big 5 Sports and pick up the most comfortable pair I can find. My price limit is $39 - but I usually find just the right pair discounted to $29. Who cares if they're last year's model. I'm not out to win any fashion awards.
I've just never felt that thrill of owning "that" pair of sneakers. I didn't even know the thrill existed until a very strange occurrence happened to me just the other day. I have a workout partner who is the exact opposite of me when it comes to being fashionably attired, especially when it comes to sportswear. This guy is really into being stylish and trendy. Let's just say that he owns an inventory of fashionable sneakers that would make Imelda Marcos blush.
As we worked out in the gym the other day, I noticed his eyes focusing on my sneakers. I imagine they made him cringe. Next thing I know, he was asking me my shoe size. Strange request, I thought, but I tell him and then he says, "I've got a pair of sneakers I want you to have". Strange, I thought, I'm not one for getting or wanting gifts. He's a very nice guy, but I thought to myself that it must be because my shoes are an embarrassment. I looked down at my sneakers and instantly confirmed this. I had to admit that they were pretty awful and in need of replacement or at the very least could use a trip to the washing machine.
The red striped Nike sneakers he gave me were a bit much for me. They looked like they would let me run 10% faster just by putting them on and they sure were comfortable. Actually, they were so comfortable, I couldn't bear the thought of taking them off. I wouldn't buy them myself, but they were high quality and they were free - a Cheapster's dream.
Later that week, I went to pick up my son at school, a rare treat. But today's pickup was a little different. It didn't take long to find my son on the playground but something very odd started to happen. One after another, 6th and 7th graders, started to surround me like Raptors from the movie Jurassic Park. Once I got the drift of what they were talking about, I realized it wasn't me they were interested in - it was the shoes!