You might be an entrepreneur if…your wife feels guilty about buying a $9 pair of shoes at Payless even though her shoes are cracked on the bottom and you can see her foot through them.
This happened last winter. I know it was winter because I remember thinking “Her feet have got to be getting cold if she’s got huge holes in the bottoms of her shoes.”
We were in the Sugarhouse area of Salt Lake City. They’ve got a Nordstrom Rack there, which is Nordstrom’s outlet store, basically, and it’s great. I got some $150 shoes there for $50. But for my wife, $50 is living OC-style (out of control). But that’s because we have different preferences about wearing shoes. I like to get one pair of shoes at a time and wear them until they wear out. My wife likes to have ten pairs of shoes at a time. So she gets lots of really cheap shoes, I get one pair of good shoes, and if you were to plot a graph of money spent on shoes over a 5-year period it would probably be about even, and we’re both happy, so it’s all good.
But a lot of my wife’s shoes are open-toed shoes, which don’t work so well in the snow, and on this particular day there was snow around and it was cold. After going to Nordstrom Rack we headed across the parking lot to Payrless so my wife could check out the zapatos. She tried on a few, but didn’t buy anything.
Afterwards, she showed me how her shoes were cracked all the way across the soles on the bottoms and you could see her socks through the bottoms of her shoes. I asked her why she hadn’t just bought some shoes to replace them since they had shoes for $9 at Payless where we had just been, and her response was that she felt guilty spending $9 on shoes because she didn’t really need them, per se. That is, her feet weren’t suffering any permanent damage, after all.
So that’s how we’ve distinguished between needs and wants for many years in our household. “Are you going to suffer any permanent physical damage if you don’t buy this?”
“Then you don’t need it, and we can’t afford it.”
I’m exaggerating a bit, but seriously, that’s how it has felt sometimes. Not that this experience is limited to entrepreneurs, or that spouses of entrepreneurs have a monopoly on sub-standard footwear that results in slushy, muddy snow seeping in and soaking their socks. I’m sure the poor, the homeless, the mentally-ill, and street-orphans in Romania find themselves in the same situation all the time.