The Brand Canyon
What To Do When Your Kid Wants Brand Name Clothing
Do you love buying shoes? Are you someone for whom shoe-shopping begets a Zennish euphoria? Yes?
Here's some advice for you: Don't do it with a 12-year-old.
My 8th-grade-bound son has long coveted classic Converse low-tops. Last week, we found a pair of lookalikes on sale for $15. Sweet! "We'll take 'em," I bellowed, relishing the rare and unparalleled near-delirium of buying fabulous shoes at ridiculous prices.
"Um," my son muttered sheepishly, staring at another pair of shoes: The Converse brand. All Star Chuck Taylors. Same color. Same style. Forty-five bleepin' bucks. "I'd rather have the real ones."
In my mind, I said this: "Well, I'd rather have a '57 Chevy Bel Air convertible, yet somehow we're leaving here in a dinged-up Honda." But sensing that we were heading into tricky parenting territory, I uttered this instead: "But ... they cost three times as much."
"Yeah," he said, forcing himself to meet my puzzled gaze.
"And they look ... exactly the same."
"Not exactly," he explained. "These have a label."
I had several problems with this situation. First, when pressed, my normally articulate child could not put into words why the brand mattered so much. His stuttered attempt contained the phrases: "important to me," "make fun," and, of course, "cool."
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