I used to have a friend named Faisal from Pakistan. Once he told me that in his country they had a saying:
Buy expensive and you cry once. Buy cheap and you cry many times.
I smiled and nodded, saying that we had the same saying here. It went:
You get what you pay for.
Over the last ten years, I’ve thought of Faisal’s saying many many times and I believe it is wrong. This morning, I realized why.
I was looking at my sandals. They were sitting on the carpeting, discarded after a long and tiring day yesterday. I remembered that I had bought them at about the same time as my conversation with Faisal so many years ago. Ten years. These sandals have lasted me over ten years.
When I bought them, I had felt a wave of guilt because they cost me about fifty dollars and I had never once in my life spent that much on a pair of sandals. I could remember the distinct shame of spending so much money on frivolous shoes. Every time I had looked at those sandals, I had felt that twinge of shame for their exorbitant price.
This morning, however, I calculated exactly how much those sandals have cost me. I know I’ve owned them for over ten years, so they have averaged less than five bucks a year. The longer they last, the cheaper their per year cost will be.
While I was remembering how long I’ve had these sandals, all our adventures came to mind. They were there for me when we swam in the fish-filled waters of Roatan. I’ve washed the stench of sweat out of them by throwing them in the washing machine. They have accompanied me on countless camping trips to Lake Mead and the mountains of Utah. They have even scaled Elephant Hill, following Stacey and Dan, slowly inching the Hummer up the trail. Mike has taken hundreds of pictures of me wearing them. They have been my good friends these last ten years.
I will truly grieve when they inevitably break and I can no longer wear them.
You see, Faisal was wrong. Buy expensive and you cry TWICE. Once when you buy the item and once when you finally have to say goodbye to it.