There are some things I simply will not spend a lot of money on; I just won’t. I used to care about name brand things but now I’m more concerned with durability and important things like Scotchgard. When I was in eighth grade, I wanted a pair of Aigner riding boots. They were beautiful and all the popular girls had a pair. They were leather and black or brown and came all the way to the knee. Best of all for me? They’d fit my skinny calf because they could be tightened. My mother took me to Hahn’s but we left empty-handed, her saying there was no way she was paying that much for boots that would probably only last me a year.
Oh, how I begged. I cried right in the middle of K St. She would not be moved. I suppose she had similar feelings to my position at Christmas over the tennis shoes my daughter requested. I remember we continued to walk and then we went into another shoe store. They had a pair of boots that were similar, yet not the same as the ones I wanted. They weren’t real leather. They did go to the knee but they weren’t adjustable; there were a few rows of decorative shoestring that wasn’t meant to be untied. I hated those boots. I told her if she bought them I would be laughed at. I told her I would not wear them; she could not make me. Perhaps you just gave me the “little girl, please” look she gave me. I’ve given it to my own children. You will wear what I buy and like it.
My mother bought those boots because they were what she could afford. She had no damns left to give about my petty social status. The first time I wore the boots I got funny looks but I also got comments about how they weren’t like everyone else’s deeming them semi-cool. I still hated them and I wore them infrequently. At nearly 40, I can still remember what it felt like to be given the “almost” item. The item that wasn’t quite what I wanted, but was close enough (based on my mother’s perception.) It’s almost like when my husband comes home with real mayonnaise instead of Miracle Whip. The hell is that? It’s like you don’t even know me. Or, like how stores try to put their brand of a product right beside the name brand and have similar colors/branding. You ain’t fooling nobody, CVS! Your Gold Medal nuts are not Planters and I know it.
I do this on purpose now. I go to DSW with the desire to get new tennis shoes but wind up at Target because who’s spending $80 on New Balance when I know there are Champions for $24.99? All of this is to say: I have issues with spending on certain things whether they’re for me, the kids, the house, whatever. Sometimes it’s silly, trivial things like Oh, I am not paying $4 for that lotion. I’ll just be ashy. Makes sense, right? Or I’ll get the less expensive brand then be mad when I’m still ashy because there’s a reason it’s priced lower, dummy. Now, though? I’m in a bit of a pickle.
You see, I may skimp on just about everything nowadays, but there are still a few things I will get even if they’re not on sale. These items include coats, cardigans, and certain shoes. I am in the market for rain boots. Wellies, galoshes, whatever you want to call them. I find myself on the subway staring at other women’s boots to see the brand. Are they thick? Do they fit against her calf? Are they adjustable? Are they a nice color? Is she approachable so that I can ask where she got them?
I’ve been looking for the perfect rain boot for YEARS. They’re all so…big about the calf area. My stick leg looks like the lone pencil in a jar. So, today, when I saw a woman who also had bony legs, I asked her. She gushed over how long she’s had the boots, how much of a good investment they were, how comfortable. Did you catch that? See, whenever someone mentions the “investment”, that means they paid a whole lot more than you probably want to pay and they’re trying to tell you without actually saying I sold my first born for galoshes. Use the context clues. I thanked the woman and Googled Hunter when I got to work. The least expensive pair is $135. Rain boots. $135. One of these things is not like the other.
I am willing to spend lots on sneakers for my kid or to upgrade my phone, but $135 rain boots? I’m trying to find a way to make it make sense. If I buy a cheap pair from Target, who’s to say they’ll last and I won’t be buying another pair next year and the year after? What if I wind up spending more than $135 on multiple pairs of boots rather than a pair that has 5 stars and excellent reviews? I’m trying to remove the price and go off the fact that I need rain boots and have wanted a pair for a really long time. It’s not like the narrow calf market is huge. I’m usually able to pay for things that I need or genuinely like so what’s the issue with this? I see people with Ugg boots, let alone multiple pairs, and I can’t get my mind around $100+ on winter boots (of course, there are the people who wear them in summer which makes even less sense than the price.)
They’re rain boots. Not every day wear boots, but rain boots that are $135. I can’t. Maybe I should find a pair of “almosts.”