‘Shoes’ You This Day Whom You Will Serve

03 Jun

A deal on TOMS has been kicking around Facebook for the past few days. I keep clicking on it, then talking myself out of it. I was this close. (Oh – picture me with my thumb and forefinger poised really close together.) I wanted them. I hear they’re really comfortable and it’s a big discount off their regular price. But I’m not gonna do it.

Here’s why: I don’t need new shoes.

Sure, I could use new shoes. The three pairs of casual, slip-on shoes that I currently have are at least two years old. One pair is destined for the trash bin any day now, leaving me with only two. Plus my flip-flops and leather sandals. Plus my five pairs of heels (four of them black). Plus my rain boots, my snow boots, and my ugly runners that I only wear when I’m mowing the lawn (maybe half a dozen times a year). Plus a pair of Teva sandals that are at least twelve years old and they haven’t fit right since my feet expanded with my first pregnancy. And I’ll begrudgingly admit that there’s a pair of Crocs somewhere in the basement that technically belong to me even though I got them as hand-me-downs and I have never worn them in public. Shoot, I’ve barely worn them to take the garbage bins out to the road.

Nevertheless, that’s fifteen pairs of shoes. For one person. I do not need another pair just because they’re on sale.

I am not writing to cast scorn and shame upon those of you who have taken advantage of this deal. If you love what TOMS stands for, and you actually need new shoes, and you have been saving and waiting for a sale that fits your budget, then YAY! If your logic is simply that you want them because other people have them and you simply can’t be happy unless you have what other people have, then enjoy your new shoes.  I won’t hate you forever.

Allow me a moment to share some statistics and thoughts from Jen Hatmaker’s book “7”:

Annual US spending on cosmetics: $8 billion

Basic education for all global children: $6 billion

Annual US and European spending on perfume: $12 billion

Clean water for all global citizens: $9 billion

Annual US and European spending on pet food: $17 billion

Reproductive health for all women: $12 billion*


This is the simplest and the hardest. It takes true courage to rage against the machine. Could we be countercultural enough to say, “We’re not buying that. We don’t need that. We’ll make do with what we have. We’ll use the stuff we already own.” If this causes anxiety, I’m with you, trust me. Because who else does that? Who curbs their appetites anymore? Who uses old stuff when they could buy new stuff? Who sews patches on jeans or uses last year’s backpacks? Who says ‘no’ when they can afford to say ‘yes’?

We could.


So I’m not buying myself some TOMS. It is a very small thing, my abstaining from this one tiny purchase. But it is one vote against excess. Against mindless consumerism.

What difference does it make? Not much, in the grand scope of life. I’m not going to lose any sleep over my devastating lack of new TOMS (especially because they’re mind-blowingly trendy, and trendy things generally give me the heebie-jeebies). So I took it one step further (sorry about the shoe pun there). I used the money I would’ve spent on the shoes and instead helped fund a loan on No big loss to me, but now a lady in Ecuador can buy some sewing supplies.


*from “The State of Human Development,” United Nations Human Development Report 1998, chapter 1, 37.


Posted by on June 3, 2012 in Personal Growth


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5 responses to “‘Shoes’ You This Day Whom You Will Serve

  1. Shelby

    June 3, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    YES! I wholeheartedly endorse this post even though I did order a pair of TOMS….mine were free because for everyone that used my link to purchase theirs DealTicker kicked me a $2.90 credit and it covered the whole cost! I get a free pair and so does someone with NO shoes….and I just gave 6 pairs of shoes from my closet that don’t get worn nearly often enough to the women’s shelter….win/win/win!

    And YAY for YOU!!!!!

  2. Karen Looby

    June 3, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    I’m with you all the way, Anita! Every time we say ‘no’ to excess, it makes us stronger and gives us the chance to say ‘yes’ to helping someone else. It makes us more human too- I am not a consumer!

  3. Sue Balfour

    June 3, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    I have been contemplating the excess that I have in my closet for quite some time now. I know the Lord is doing another work in me and I am determined to listen and learn. My closet is FULL of clothes and shoes, half of which does not even get worn anymore and I find myself still wanting (not needing) more.
    I’m sure this trip to Kenya is part of this work that God is doing in me and by the end of this summer I hope to have a half full closet instead of an overstuffed one.

    You go girl!!!!
    God Bless you Anita

    • Anita Neuman

      June 3, 2012 at 10:09 PM

      I didn’t know you were going to Kenya! When? Where specifically? With whom?

  4. Jacquelyn Campbell

    June 4, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    The Lord gives us so much. And the battle is on between flesh and Spirit. Yeah Spirit!


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