Oof. And Product Loyalty.

Wow.  I’m still here!  Yes, I am.  I have been trapped in a horrendous vortex of work.  Three weeks ago I started yet another part time job, which sucks up two days a week.  I took the job for its more lucrative pay packet, but a collateral benefit is that I get to be in an office with other people and banter and camaraderie. There’s only so much Dickensian academic office-building and being managed entirely on email I can take.

Plus, my academic job is hard.  Mind-bendingly, headache-inducingly, more-hours-than-I’m-paid-for hard.  It’s good to get a relaxing break in the form of normal office work each week.  In the past two weeks I’ve had three academic after-hours events for which I am unpaid, and which result in a home-time past 9.30pm.  I still love it, but when the Chief Brain is in town, as she was last week, all merry hell breaks lose.   I’m trying to make the most of it, since my contract expires at the end of June.  Who knows what I’ll end up doing after that.  I’m no further forward with the PhD proposal, you’ll be unsurprised to learn.

I need a fiscal insurance policy, hence the new job.  For the next two months I’ll be working part time + part time = full time x 1.2.  Lard.

This week I’ve been sick.  I didn’t have time to be sick, so I ignored it.  Jen came to visit, and it was lovely to meet her.  She didn’t seem put off by the fact that most of my words were a half-formed croak, which was fortunate since I couldn’t bear for her to be in town and me wuss out by being ill.  On Tuesday and Wednesday night I took some hefty anti-splutter medication which kicked a nasty bout of insomnia to the curb and gave me the ability to work ridiculously hard again this week.  By yesterday I was audible and able to meet Fuzzy for drinks in sunny London without dying.

Which brings me to the sun.  Sun!  Nothing is nicer than London in the sun.  People are happier: they smile in the street, soaking up the rays.  There’s a fine line between London in the sun and London in the unbearable 30C+ heat, and we’re walking it right now.

The sun in London has sartorial significance too: my flip-flops must be brought out of hibernation.

I’ve had the same pair of Havaianas since I visited New Zealand for the very first time, in early 2005.  During the last six years they have pounded the pavements of London and Wellington.  They’ve been with me to Fiji, Australia, Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Borneo, Kuala Lumpur, Angkor Wat, and a variety of Indian cities.   We’ve been through a lot together and I think of them less as an accessory, and more as old friends.

The sad truth is that they’re elderly friends at this point, and finally this year I’m forced to acknowledge the real risk that the toe-post might detach from the sole at an inopportune moment.  I was forced to procure another pair of flip-flops.   Inflation has surely struck: the original pair cost NZ$24, or around 8 quid.  For the replacement pair, I just shelled out 13 quid and they were on deep discount.

I don’t mind too much, and here’s why: I would rather pay for one good pair of comfortable flip-flops than six pairs of sub-standard ones which last one season.   If I find a product I like and which lasts, I’m a pretty loyal customer.

I was careful to order the exact same style in the exact same size, but when I unboxed them I wondered if I’d accidentally ordered a pair of canoes.  I laid my gentle old friend next to the new unbroken upstart.  Observe:

The upstart is bigger, and by more than a smidgen.  I can forgive vertical embiggening, which difference is of course accounted for by years of my heft being applied.

But that much of a difference on the horizontal plane?  What is up with that?  Do they shrink over time?  Google turned up the possibility, and also that Havaianas sizing is reasonably random.  Now, I can forgive (just about) there being different size standards between different retailers.  But the same product?

They fit, just not in the exact same way as my comfortable old friends.  In fact, I’m struggling to throw my old friends away.  I’m not a hoarder, but this feels like betrayal.

So I’d like to know.  Specifically, I need assurance I’m not insane.  What products inspire bizarre old-friend style loyalty in you?

Havaianas didn’t pay me to write this post.



7 Responses to “Oof. And Product Loyalty.”

  1. 1 Jenn @ Juggling Life April 8, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    I own 5 pairs of Havianas. It sounds like your prices are about the same as ours–though a couple of my pair were brought here by Brazilians who paid the equivalent of about $2 U.S. for them.

  2. 2 Jenn @ Juggling Life April 8, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Also? How cool that you met Jen!

  3. 3 Stacie April 8, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Havainanas are very popular in Angola, where flip flops are worn year round. At my husband’s company Christmas party we were all given a pair. Then we moved to Alaska, and of course I’ve not yet been able to try them out.

    I love Crocs, by the way. They are the most comfortable footwear imaginable, and again were very practical for African living – perfect warm weather shoes. I am now wearing the winter version, with fleece lining. Which are also nice and comfy.

  4. 4 Josie April 9, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    I’ve had exactly the same experience with Havaianas, I think they shrink or cure with wear and by being in the sun. They are still my footwear of choice when the weather is nice.
    I bought mine (in just about every available colour and style!) in a supermarket in Sao Paolo because they were less than 2 euros a pair at the time. Would love to go back to replace some of the more worn pairs…

  5. 5 Jen on the Edge April 13, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    I am a bit late, but will chime in anyway — good shoes are always worth the extra price, especially if you’re going to wear them as much as you wore your flip flips.

    It was great to meet you and I hope that you’re over your cold by now. I *will* be back at some point for another visit!

  6. 6 cath April 28, 2011 at 11:37 am

    It looks to me like you have met the adam equivalent of your original eve pair. here in Australia men’s sizes are about 2 sizes out for women’s, and i reckon NZ would be the same. can you cut them down?

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