I recently went to buy new shoes and encountered something I didn't expect at all. I've worn the same shoes for years: Chuck Taylor All Stars from Converse. I love the look and feel of them and for that I've been willing to pay more than they're really worth with regards to quality and craftsmanship.
When I went out to replace my current pair with an identical set, I ran across some knockoffs for less than a third the price. They were identical in every way to the ones I was wearing right down to tread pattern but they were Airwalks instead of Cons and they didn't have the Logo on the ankle. They were so similar that I wouldn't be surprised if they were made in the same factory and just differently branded.
So I grabbed a pair… and it was physically difficult to do. I had unknowingly developed a loyalty to a brand so strong that my mind and body screamed against the betrayal that I was comitting. I sat and stared at a rack of shoes for a good ten minutes trying to understand how this had come to be.
I had thought of loyalty to be a choice, an aspect of higher order reasoning. I had believed that advertisers had to trick and bamboozle purchasers into preferring their product. What I felt, though, ran so much deeper. I couldn't just change my mind. I felt compelled to get the same brand of shoes. It felt as though some aspect of my being was defined by my choice of shoes.
I started wearing them because I liked the look, I don't owe Converse anything and they certainly haven't done anything to earn my partronage. I wondered how deeply ingraned the feeling of loyalty could be. How far back in our evolutionary history did that instinct to be part of a tribe, and to maintain the trappings of that tribe develellop? It didn't matter. I am a modern, rational, skeptical being. I can overcome this silly feeling.
Still, I struggled.
Until finally I realized that there were other tribes, besides the Converse brand, to which I actually was loyal. So I grabbed not one, but two pair of these cheaper shoes (it was still less than buying the Cons) and decided to rebrand one of them with a logo to which I do owe some fealty.
It took a few coats since the canvas is pretty absorbant. but it ended up looking pretty good.
And below is the final product after ironing to fuse the paint
I'm curous, though. Has anyone else ever had this experience? Have you ever realized that you were offering your loyalty for reasons you could neither understand nor easily combat?