This is a story “Wacky”, the owner of a number of shoe stores here in Fukuoka, related to me the other day:
"A high school boy came into my George Cox shop this afternoon and asked if I remembered him. I replied that I didn’t, but when he told me that he had come to the shop with his father six months earlier it all came back to me.
"He had come with his father to try and get his old man to buy a pair of Creepers for him. During the hour or so that the two of them were there, we talked about all kinds of things and I mentioned a high school girl who had once come to the shop. She, too, had wanted to get someone—her grandmother, in this case—to buy the shoes for her. I told her that shoes like these—at ¥37,000 they aren’t cheap, after all—weren’t the kind of thing you should be trying to get someone purchase for you.
"When the boy heard that, it gave him pause and he decided against having his father buy them. Instead, he went out and got a job at a convenience store, and for the next six months he worked part-time before and after school, saving what he earned. And now he was back at my shop, wanting to buy the shoes with his own money."
I joked that Wacky should have refused to sell the kid the shoes and chewed him out instead for breaking school rules by getting a job. “The little brat should have his nose in a textbook right now and not thinking about shoes and fashion and other nonsense.”
Kidding aside, though, I had to admit that it was quite a lesson the boy had learned and told Wacky so: “He’ll treat those shoes with the utmost care now that he knows what it took to buy them. You may have very well just saved the boy from a life of indolence and purposelessness.”