Retail Hell #8: The Finish Line's in Sight

Amazing how a new pair of shoes can improve your outlook

By Kat Avila
Published on LatinoLA: February 21, 2007

Retail Hell #8: The Finish Line's in Sight

A new pair of shoes! I was outside the Big 5 sporting goods store lacing up athletic shoes I had bought on sale. Except when you put them on a credit card like I did, you're not saving money since you will have to pay interest later. Kinda like when you buy online and need to add shipping to the total charge. But I was really happy because the heels on the shoes I was wearing were half worn down on the outside, not unusual when you're heavy.

So happy over a pair of shoes. It made me think of when my grandfather visited Chihuahua, he would take extra shoes with him to give to the Tarahumara Indians who lived in the mountains. Maybe they were just his used shoes because he was not well-off himself, but he never forgot there were people worse off.

As I was lacing up my new shoes so I could wear them immediately, I noticed a couple of bleach spots on the dark pants I was wearing. I walked out of the house like this? When did I get used to being poor?

Last month I almost cried - no, I think I did - because the bill at the dentist ran over a thousand dollars. Yeah, I put that on my credit card, too.

My goal this year is to double my efforts to get out of Retail Hell. This sidewalk citizen has a bicycle and a college degree. I can expand my search radius a little and maybe shed a few pounds in the process.

The last straw for me was when they promoted a bigot at work. A coworker dismissed this man's bigotry as, "He is just opinionated." No, he is young and stupid. He can get away with cheap laughs and potshots at U.S. racial minorities because it is cool these days to be politically incorrect or just PLAIN I-N-C-O-R-R-E-C-T.

When I recently found my file copy of a 1933 repatriation letter* my grandfather received when he lived in Los Angeles, I thought how little things seem to change even as many technological changes have occurred.

But there's still hope. Tomorrow I may find that elusive dream job I've been looking for. After all, we are prayerful survivors.

*Part of the letter: "There is a Mexican Government Boat leaving here on the 30th of this month. This is an opportunity for you to repatriate on your own Government's Boat."

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