I always like to own a pair of fancy flip flops.  But finding the perfect pair is tricky business.

I had the same pair for three years and they were awesome until they started falling apart and I got tired of supergluing the rhinestones back on.

The following summer I bought a pair that broke after a month.

Last summer I searched the earth high and low but simply could not find any that met all my criteria, and I refused to settle. I went all summer without any, and it sucked.

Last week I went to T.J. Maxx and scanned the shoe aisles with low expectations. And that’s when I spotted them: my perfect pair. They checked all my boxes: unique, sturdy, and rhinestoned.

But they were half a size too small.


The 15 Stages of Grief After You Find Your Dream Flip Flops at TJ Maxx, But The Only Pair is Half a Size Too Small:

Stage 1: Check each shoe rack four more times, just in case.

Stage 2: Frantically Google them, only to discover they somehow don’t exist on the internet.

Stage 3: Kick yourself for not having that app that lets you scan a product’s bar code, and for not remembering what the app is even called, and for not having enough storage space left on your phone even if you did.

Stage 4: Stare at your toes hanging over the sides of the flops while having thoughts like “Maybe this would help me feel more connected to the earth,” “Lots of cultures go barefoot anyway,” and “This would help me develop calloused feet, which could actually really come in handy if I ever find myself stranded on a volcano.”

Stage 5: Consider making these your “show shoes.” Meaning you could wear a better-fitting pair on your way to work and just slip these on once you’re already seated at your desk. That way the world could see them but you’d never have to walk in them.

Stage 6: Consider foot reduction surgery. Maybe it could be a DIY job. Didn’t people used to do weird stuff like that in China?

Stage 7: Pray to the universe to send you a sign.

Stage 8: Walk laps around the store as you try to convince yourself it’s not that bad.

Stage 9: Get really tired from all this walking, especially since you’re also awkwardly carrying two pairs of jeans still on their hangers. You hadn’t planned to be here this long. Head toward the front of the store to grab a cart.

Stage 10: Realize that if you walk all the way to the carts with your merchandise, you will set off the theft alarm. Turn back. Take off the flip flops, set them on the shoe bench, and pile the jeans on top to keep them safely hidden as you head back for a cart.

Stage 11: Have a mini panic attack halfway to the carts as you realize how very easy it would be for someone to find and steal your flops. Abandon the cart idea, run back to the shoe bench, and feel extreme relief to find them still discreetly hidden beneath your jeans.

Stage 12: Wonder if you should just go ahead and buy them, even if you can never wear them, just so you can own them and also because it will remind you to Google them every day for the rest of your life. They’re only $16.99 for God’s sake, and you have a gift card.

Stage 13: Ultimately reach the practical but crushing conclusion that you are simply not meant to own these flip flops. Life is cruel sometimes, and this is one of those times. Summon Coldplay lyrics (“Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard…”) as you sadly head to the registers sans flops.

Stage 14: Pass by a full display of a different type of fancy flip flops. Try on a pair in your size. Check yourself out. Smile as you realize these are actually way better; they go with any color toenail polish.


Stage 15: Purchase immediately. Go live the rest of your life.