The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

10 February 2005

Skating over the poverty line

The discussion was about a proposed new notebook computer aimed at the $100 price point, but Ravenwood found this notion lurking in the back somewhere:

Far be it for me to stand in the way of someone trying to build a cheaper computer. But it occurs to me that the standard of "poor" has changed radically over the years. Especially when someone can still own a house, have cable TV, give their kids $200 sneakers, and now purchase a laptop, and still be called "poor".

All in how you define your priorities. I mean, God forbid someone should have to cancel HBO because of dental work or something, right?

Actually, I am disinclined to blame the actual "poor" persons, except in blatant instances of malfeasance; the fault, in general, lies with those individuals who have built their careers on the notion that if everyone doesn't get to spend each and every Sunday in status-symbol land, it's a symptom of deep, dark inequities in the system, which only government action can ameliorate.

(Disclosure: I once paid $105 for a pair of sneakers.)

Posted at 1:32 PM to Dyssynergy


I'm still living down the $80 pair of Rockport shoes I got last year, and which have admittedly held up far better than most shoes I've ever gotten at discount stores.

But c'mon now -- eighty dollars!?

Posted by: McGehee at 9:39 PM on 10 February 2005

I had a pair of Rockports once. Held up for almost three years, which for me is phenomenal.

Then again, I know about cheap shoes:

The $19.99 pair of shoes... is an essential ingredient in the wardrobe. However, if you buy these things on a regular basis, you know there are hidden costs beyond twenty dollars and change. There is no real social stigma attached to them except in the snootiest circles, yet somehow you feel as though you have done a disservice to your feet. And three months later, when the shoes seem to be disintegrating with every step, you know it.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:48 PM on 10 February 2005

The most expensive shoes I've ever owned were purchased in the Red Wing outlet. They were, also, by far the best wearing and most comfortable shoes I've ever owned. They were designed for walking on concrete.

I liked them well enough that four years after I bought the first pair (I wore them almost daily: they were work shoes), I bought a replacement pair.

The first pair was $85 and the second was $115.

With the miles I put on them and the wear they saved my feet, they were worth every single penny.

Posted by: unimpressed at 11:30 PM on 10 February 2005

Forgot to mention that I can not wear shoes with a man-made upper. My feet can't breathe and I get a terrible case of jungle rot in very short order.

The more expensive shoe isn't a luxury for me; it is a necessity.

Posted by: unimpressed at 11:31 PM on 10 February 2005

Me too :) Though I have found that wearing a different pair each day helps as much as anything. That doesn't necessarily mean having kazillion pairs of shoes. I currently rotate three :)

Posted by: ms7168 at 6:48 AM on 11 February 2005

I had too many things on my plate at that time so affording three pairs of almost (or over, depending on when they were purchased) $100 shoes was impossible.

Posted by: unimpressed at 7:20 AM on 11 February 2005

There are already plenty of $100 laptops on the market. The distinguishing feature is that they are about two years old.

Posted by: triticale at 7:41 AM on 11 February 2005

...I have found that wearing a different pair each day helps as much as anything. That doesn't necessarily mean having kazillion pairs of shoes. I currently rotate three.

I'm alternating these days between a pair of discount-store shoes I had before I got the Rockports and had worn almost never since getting the latter, and a pair of boots recently bought at Wal-Mart.

When I got the Rockports they were phenomenally more comfortable than the ones they replaced, but in recent months my feet had gotten very unhappy with them. The old shoes were much more agreeable, but I'm not able to wear any one pair exclusively for very long.

The Rockports may get back into the rotation eventually. And no, I wouldn't dream of owning three pairs of them all at once. Three pairs of discount shoes, though...

Posted by: McGehee at 11:03 AM on 11 February 2005

I don't buy shoes at Wal-Mart. Or PayLess. I have only recently begun using Famous Footware which is a discount but not really a discount shoe store :) To me it is not a place to cut corners. Nothing is worse than feet that hurt!

Posted by: ms7168 at 7:51 AM on 12 February 2005