Battle of the ballet flats

Recently, I sold some shoes.

They were lovely, but they hurt – a kind of (very, as in $200) expensive leather ballet flat that I saved up for and purchased in the full knowledge that they would hurt me. They are advertised as the “eight-hour shoe.” This would pertain only if you were asleep with your feet elevated for those eight hours.

In any case, I posted these shoes, which, of course, I had not worn more than twice, on our neighborhood forum, and it was like those old stories about parents who, when I was a teenager, camped out overnight and paid exorbitant prices to buy limited quantities of rag dolls called “Cabbage Patch” dolls for their young kids. I sold the first three pairs in two hours. A woman then called and said she would buy every other pair I had left (three more pairs) and I agreed. But by then, one of my older kids had got into the entrepreneurial spirit and sold two more pairs without letting me know – and for a dandy price.

When that woman showed up, there was only one pair left. She was truly outraged. I apologized. She said that I had agreed to sell her the last three pairs and she wanted them now. I said that would involve my tracking down the other purchasers and I wouldn’t and couldn’t do that. She looked murderous. It was then that I decided that, although I love the free feeling of selling things that are still good, but that I no longer need, I would never do it again. People are passionate.

Myself, I buy almost everything, including clothing, second-hand, because I can afford nice things once they’ve been around the block a couple of times, and because it’s part of the great green stream of passing things on. But I don’t want to ever again engender the kind of warlike spirit I saw among the buyers during the battle of the ballet flats. – JM

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