I recently threw out a pair of versatile black ballet flats that I have worn exactly eight times. They only cost $12, so the price-per wear was less than I pay for coffee each morning. I'm not angry that they fell apart so quickly; in fact, I can pick up another identical pair from Target. I've known a lot of ballet slippers in my life, but none have cared to stick around too long. It's easier on my budget to buy four or six or even eight pairs a year rather than purchase one nice pair that might last longer but is destined for the same trash heap. Buying more is the way to economize: Clearly, this is not my grandmother's downturn.