I’m at “Stuff,” the local and trendy consignment shop in town. “Stuff” is so trendy, in fact, that it sports four locations in the area, houses a coffee shop in one of them, and sells children’s easels for a whopping $19.99—the same price you would pay at Target. But not all their stuff is overpriced. For example, the very-new looking, two-toned hot pink Converse baby high-tops in Evvy’s (almost) size were $2.49 (with the day’s 25% discount special on clothing).
My eyes leapt to the converse shoes on the baby shoe shelf immediately. They were the prettiest, cleanest, newest pair there, and I thought of my good girl, Kate (another stay-at-home mommy), and her two children who are consistently bedecked in Chuck Taylors.
“Look, Ev. These are like Emma’s shoes!” I said with excitement that Evvy reacted to.
“Emma’s shoes. Emma’s shoes. On.” She lifted a foot.
I checked the size. Half a size larger than the shoes Evvy just started wearing--the ones with extra growing room, the ones I bought for full price at Stride Rite. I put the All Stars on Ev. They were too big in the length, and there’s no telling whether her foot would slim down enough to fit into a regular width in sixth months. Still, she loved them (I loved them), and I thought: They’re only three bucks. Of course we’d get them.
I paid and left with the spoils of my plunder, and it’s then that I felt my first wave of guilt, thanks to Judith Levine’s new book Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping, in which Levine discusses the concept of our ecological “footprints.”
Ecological footprint: In square miles, how much of the earth’s resources will I use up in my lifetime?
Or: In baby shoes, how much of my money will I spend in a lifetime? It occurs to me that the hot pink, very cool Chuck Taylor All Stars might be a complete waste, since Evvy might never actually wear them.
“You’re worried about three dollars?” you might ask. Two forty-nine to be exact. I’m worried, yes--because I make far too many Converse-baby-high-top sorts of purchases: The items are always cheap, always cute, and never (or under) utilized.