My 12-yr-old recently wanted to purchase something truly stupid, expensive, and transitory with his hard-earned money, and rather than try to convince him otherwise, I went ahead and let him. Being disappointed with a purchase is something I would rather he learn sooner than later, so he can start making good decisions quicker.
I was not as lucky. I bought some real crap in my time (the name Emerson should strike fear into everyone’s heart) and while it taught me to stop buying cheap crap (stuff that broke, stuff that was disappointing, etc.), it took longer than it should have. My most cringe-inducing purchase was a Miami vice-like outfit the summer before high school (this is summer of 1985 for those wishing stage public humiliation – it’s okay, I don’t mind). I put it on and walked nearly 2 miles to a party some girl I thought I had a crush on was throwing. I thought I was going to be hot shit, but as I approached the outdoor party, everyone laughed at the Miami vice thing since it was cheezy (and I was in Illinois, not California). Seriously, I had not even reached the front door when I’d gotten my third uncomfortable comment… so I kept walking, never stopped, turned the corner and came home, another 2 miles. My grandmother was house-sitting at the time, and she saw me come in the front door less than an hour after I’d left, and wisely didn’t say anything. I took off the outfit, hung it up, and never wore it again.
I should have thrown it away immediately. It might still be in the closet in the house I grew up in.