Late Summer, 1991:
Father: $79 for a backpack? Are you kidding me!
Daughter: Dad, it's Eddie Bauer, a quality brand. It will last me until I finish college!
Father: What? You get a new backpack every Fall. This won't last.
Daughter: Please dad, this is nicer than any backpack I got in the past.....I'll make sure it lasts.
Father: Okay, it's yours.
Flash forward to July, 2012
Wife: I'm going to bike to the gym and swim....have you seen my backpack?
Husband: Bike? It is really hot out there, drink water before you leave. The backpack is in the hall closet.
Wife: Thanks, and I'll drink some water.
The daughter/wife in these scenarios is the same person, me. And the backpack is the same Eddie Bauer my father did not deny his only daughter as she headed off to college (a first for his family). After 21 years that backpack is still my go-to bag. I lugged it through undergrad, then two years of grad school, put it through the ultimate challenge of law school books for another three years, and now I use it for biking and hiking excursions as a parent of young children.
Quality -- it pays to buy items that will last years, decades if possible. Sadly I cannot tell my father about how his purchase is entering its 22nd year; he passed away in 2009. He loved stretching a dollar, and like to think on some level he knows that $79 is still bringing utility to my life.
And as you can see, I'm still working at biking as much as possible. Not an easy feat when mother nature throws 100 degree days into your life. My goal for this work week is to bike to my office, and not drive once. Check back for a status update.