TOMS. Nearly everyone knows what they are and, while I think a lot of people would agree that they're not terribly attractive shoes, I also think a lot of people want a pair despite the shoes' unattractive qualities. I know that I fall into that category.
A few weeks ago when I was on a rare excursion into the mall, I asked myself "Why?" Why do I want a pair of shoes that is expensive, not very practical, and not a style I would normally wear? Why do I want to buy a pair of shoes that I do not need? The answer I received was that the main reason I wanted a pair of TOMS shoes is that, by wearing them, everyone would know that I'm a socially conscious and active person. In other words, I wanted to "sound a trumpet" before me, so that others would see my good, socially active works and admire me as a result (see Matthew 6:2-4).
I had to wonder, rather than purchase a pair of TOMS shoes (which run $44-54 when not on sale and result in one pair of shoes being given to those in need), why not donate $20 to an organization such as soles4souls, which would result in twenty pairs of shoes being given to those in need, and then, when I do need another pair of shoes, spend $20-30 on a pair that I find both practical and attractive?
These are the thoughts and conclusions I came to about my motivation for desiring a pair of TOMS shoes. I am not saying that everyone who buys TOMS shoes is motivated by the desire to look good; all I know is that after digging beneath the surface, I realized that my motivation for getting those shoes was the desire to look like a "goody two-shoes." (I'm sorry, I couldn't resist!)
Since my revelation in the mall, I have yet to make a donation to soles4souls. If I do make a donation, it will be between me and God, and no one else.