You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself. Price Shaming. PART UN.

Bonjour mes amies! I plan to make this an entire series, because price shaming is real.

I was about fifteen years old the first time I ever felt this sense of shame.

I had worked all summer and dismissed the temptation to spend my small earnings on random teenage trinkets. Instead I saved for back to school shopping.

During my fifteen min. breaks at work, I would retrieve my Vogue and planner from my purse (oui mes amies, at fifteen I had a subscription to Vogue and a planner that I carried with me daily) to revisit my back to school list:

Black cashmere sweater (thrifted)
Leather Binder
Furry pen (I was stilling paying homage to CLUELESS)
bebe rhinestone t-shirt

Two weeks prior to beginning my 10th grade year, I called Amtrak to purchase a business class train ticket from Va. to D.C. Oui mes amies, at fifteen years of age, I had a bank account, debit card and was fully aware that I wanted to upgrade from Coach.

I used my planner to prepare the entire weekend away.

I was set to arrive at Union Station by Amtrak at 12:05pm (there were only two departure times from the small town I went to high school in.) With my thrifted leather overnight bag, I would take the Metro to Pentagon City Mall before arriving at my Grandmere’s house on Capitol Hill.

When I arrived at Pentagon City Mall I made my way to the third floor. The mannequins that tempted shoppers to enter bebe were adorned in bandage party dresses and leather moto jackets.

I knew exactly how much the bejeweled logo t-shirt was that I longed to purchase. I’d used my $25 calling card from 7/Eleven (thats how I kept in-touch avec mes amies and family in DC) to phone the boutique and confirm the price prior to my arrival.

I went straight to the folded shirts, selected my black fitted t-shirt with silver rhinestones, and made my way to the cashier.

Sales associate: $27.05
Moi: *Gleefully hands over Visa Debit Card.* Voila!
Sales associate: ID?
Moi: *Hands over 9th grade high school ID.* Voila!

Once my card was accepted and I received my shopping bag, I took an extra lap around the mall so everyone could see my tres grande bebe bag. The shop was out of small shopping bags so the SA gave me the largest in stock.

After I took my last lap, I boarded the metro back to Union Station. My Grandmere’s house was blocks away.

When I arrived to my Grandmere’s, I gave hugs and greetings to my family and proceeded to show them what I had purchased.

*Older Cousin untucks tag from shirt.”

“You paid how much for this shirt? You could feed a family in Haiti for a week with that.”

I hung my head in shame and I didn’t show anyone else the bebe shirt that I was so excited about purchasing for remainder of my trip.

When I returned to Va. and prepped for my first day of school, I looked at my prized bebe shirt and felt so guilty. I began to look around my room at all of the “frivolous” things that consumed me. Like the top shelf of my closet, which was filled with Vogue and Lucky magazines. Shame.

Or the collage I made with double C’s, LVs and CD (Christian Dior) logos that wrapped the molding of my bedrooms ceiling instead of wallpapered boarders. Shame.

With all of the struggles of the world, I was spending my time creating shopping lists and lusting about drinking café in Paris. I was in the French club after all.

Everything around me seemed to mock my “frivolous” interest.

Every commercial that aired on TV was about abused animals or hungry children.

I couldn’t catch a (shame free) break.

It was at that moment that I created a master plan.

I would enroll to donate $5 a month to PBS (my favorite channel) and that would offset the guilt of my expensive desires.

I thought that would be enough to ease my “frivolous” teenage soul. Instead I found myself feeling the need to disclose my charitable contributions every time I wore the beloved bebe shirt or my Louis Vuitton backpack and Gucci watch. Oui mes amies, I had a Louis Vuitton backpack and Gucci watch in high school.

I assumed that these rude statements about how much I spent on an item were wholly related to my very young age.

If only I could have seen the (fashion) future.

The comments and treatment would only get ruddier the older (and gaudier) I became.

I’ll be discussing the perils of my spending/shopping habits throughout my 20s and 30s and the external shame that tagged along with the hefty price tags, in Part Deux.

Is there a specific question that you would like for me to address?

Have you experienced this form of price shaming?

Ciao for now!

Teenager me. LV book bag and Gucci watch.


  1. I did shame a friend once. It wasn’t on purpose she used her rent money to purchase an expensive Cristian Dior bag. Then she was walking around borrowing money from everyone. I told her look Your rent is that bag. I think you should rethink that next time. I’ve gotten better, I just repeat that’s grown folks business I’m not in it.
    I’ve never been a big shopper, but for my 40th I have my eyes on this MCM bag!

    • Oh darling! That’s not shaming, that raising awareness to her irresponsible choice. Especially if she was asking to borrow money. I’m so excited about your purchase!

  2. Wanda Dawn

    Years ago I told a lady I volunteered with that my teenage daughter said she wasn’t buying any Louboutin shoes until she had $1000 in the bank. I was proud of my daughter, so therefore I was very surprised at my co-worker’s reaction. She said no one should spend that amount on shoes, gave me an example of someone who did and said you could get just as nice for way less. She was very negative. I was pleased my daughter wasn’t going into debt for nobody’s shoes! After discussing it with a friend, I was reminded that my co-worker knew nothing about us, financially or otherwise, and to be sure of who you’re talking to!

    • I’m so proud of your daughter! It’s very rare that young (or any age) people have that mindset. Many are seeking to keep up with trends, celebrities, etc. I once had a coworker ask me how much I spent for an item. When I told her “not too much” she Goggled the price and mention it in a MEETING! A work meeting. People will always have opinions. I had to learn to let it go. It’s still a process. Thank you endlessly for your time and constant support 🙌🏾

  3. Melissa James

    I definitely get shamed now. Some areas where I live people look at you. When you have on a designer mask and walk into the store with a new designer bag….I get the side eye. But for the most part. I don’t care. I work hard for my money and they don’t understand that before I brought this bag I put money into savings and either bought stocks or a mutual fund. I understand that we are in a middle of a pandemic but if I bought this bag, I am going to use it. My neighbors shame me too saying you have a lot of boxes and stuff out here, but I am doing some home renovations. Sometimes I really want to say mind ya business and don’t worry what I got out here. Only the trash people need about how to get this stuff from in front of my house 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

    • Sometimes a simple “mind ya business” is needed. If you’re not borrowing money to support your lux habit…what does it matter? I’ve learned that people have sooooo much to say, about everything. C’est le vie! Enjoy your luxuries, you deserve it.

  4. findinghershine

    When I was a teenager, I would visit my Aunts in DC during the summer. I always looked forward to jumping on the train going shopping. One day I remember wanting these pants but they were a little over my budget. Not really expensive but for a teen with little money, everything was expensive. I remember telling my aunt how much I wanted the pants but they were to expensive. I will never forget what she told me. She said, “ If you really want something, nothing is too expensive. You just have to work for what you want.” That stuck with my forever! I work hard, so if I want to buy whatever.. that’s my business!

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