Wednesday, January 9, 2008

On Ballet Shoes and Goldfish

Confession time. I made a purchase yesterday with my daughter. She has just joined a performance troop and needed ballet shoes, a leotard and tights. Did I get any of these things from a thrift store? No. Did I even try to find these things on e-bay? No. What did I do? I charged right out to the costume shop in the next town over, the one next to Very-Republican-Town, and just bought them straight out!

Did I think about the ramifications, the implications and the effect on our compact such a purchase would make? Yes, I did. And I was conflicted. While I'm sure at some point I would be able to assemble all of the required articles if I scoured thrift shops, put out a request on freecycle, or looked at e-bay, I thought that new ballet shoes were important. They conform to your unique feet and mold themselves and I felt it was an issue of safety. Which, now that I type out the idea seems kind of lame, really. My daughter would probably be safe in slightly used ballet shoes. Wearing used shoes would not cause her to fling herself off of the stage and land in the audience would it? These were black shoes, not red shoes after all. Soft, buttery leather shoes wouldn't pinch her toes or dig into her heels. At the time, it all made sense to me...

My husband and I also had a conversation with our son yesterday. He had fish for a while, they died, and we haven't yet bought any other new creatures. My daughter still has a goldfish that I ask if she would like to feed every day, and then I end up feeding it every day. We have a 22 year old cat that we all love dearly. That's right, 22 years. We have animals that we love.

It was truly tragic when my son's fish died. We held elaborate, meaningful, poignant funerals for them in the backyard, one by one. At that point, my son needed a break from the emotional roller coaster that is fancy goldfish ownership. They can be quite delicate and their little lives are perilous and tenuous. My son finally now feels ready to have his very own fish again and we talked about that in light of the compact.

I felt we could somehow find someone whose fish had babies and get one of those. My husband and son both felt we could go to the pet store and buy a comet for around a quarter. For us, the compact is not really about the cost of things, it's the idea that we've all promised each other to not buy anything new for a year. My husband asked where we will get a used fish, and it's a point, but I know I've seen them listed on freecycle. You can find them.

My husband feels that the compact isn't really about not buying anything new for a year, he feels it's much more about being conscious of our purchases and wherever possible, within reason, getting things used. And it's about not being frivolous or silly in our purchases. Ballet shoes and goldfish are not silly purchases for growing, active, involved children. It's supporting their interests and helping them have a meaningful life and the tools they need to do their work.

Fellow compactors, where have you made purchases of new stuff? What would you do about ballet shoes and goldfish?

Does anyone have a used goldfish? Getting it would really solve my predicament here. My husband and son are not so conflicted. I guess I'll have to be the compact cop around here--except where ballet stuff is involved. *guiltily skulks out of room*


Blessed Wife and Mother said...

I see Goldfish and other fish listed on Craigslist under pets, ALL THE TIME. Just look for a week before you buy, you might be pleasantly surprised!:)

Laura said...

Fantastic! I knew that there are used fish out there, there would have to be...sometimes people don't want stuff anymore. Even non-stuff stuff.


Jyotsna said...

I would check with freecycle or craigslist for these things if I had time (ie: slippers).

My friend bought my daughters ballet slippers on ebay not too long ago, and what a deal they were!

I walk through Target and other stores with a different view these days, and I find myself telling my kids, "no we don't really need it" or lets see if we can find it anywhere else.

My sister doesn't buy anything new, and always checks the second hand stores and goodwill before ever buying anything. I just bought a $3 calendar and a $2 shower curtain, and I still struggled over this at the register.

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