News

Group robs teen of expensive shoes at park

Four males jumped the boy before fleeing in a sedan

A 15-year-old boy walking at Palo Alto's Bol Park was attacked on Easter Sunday by four males who beat him on the ground and yanked a $750 pair of shoes from his feet, Palo Alto police said.

The April 1 incident occurred at about 7:30 p.m. as the teen was walking through the park on Laguna Avenue near Laguna Court, Sgt. Eric Bulatao said. The teen was jumped by one male and was physically assaulted as the attacker jumped on top of him. While on the ground, all four allegedly punched the teen, beating him before pulling the expensive Balenciaga shoes from his feet. The attackers then jumped into a gold-colored sedan and drove away, Bulatao said.

The teen, who resides outside of Palo Alto, called police to report the crime after returning home. He complained of back and neck pain, swellings and abrasions.

All four assailants are described as black males. One attacker is about 5 feet 5 inches tall and around 140 pounds with a muscular build and brown eyes. He wore a black tank top, black jeans and a black ski mask.

A second attacker is roughly 6 feet 6 inches tall, about 230 pounds, had a muscular build and wore a gold Cuban-link chain necklace, a white Chicago Bulls jersey, black shorts and a ski mask. There are no descriptions for the other two males, Bulatao said.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent by text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the police's free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.

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Comments

15 people like this
Posted by blacklivesmatter
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 2, 2018 at 7:52 pm

[Post removed.]


41 people like this
Posted by S one
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 2, 2018 at 8:41 pm

This is terrible of course, and what a horrible experience for that poor kid, but I couldn't help also being shocked that a 15-year-old boy would have $750 shoes.

Glad he wasn't seriously injured and I hope they catch the perpetrators.


21 people like this
Posted by Skeptical
a resident of another community
on Apr 2, 2018 at 8:48 pm

Where there any witnesses? It is not a very believable story. How do we know that this kid didn't sell the shoes and then invent this story to cover his tracks?


21 people like this
Posted by Sneakerhead
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 3, 2018 at 1:55 am

As a sneakerhead these are likely the balenciaga triple s or speed runners, both of which are incredibly ugly but highly coveted by todays youth. Any kid I see wearing these I assume is wearing a fake which are practically 1:1 these days. So these 4 guys likely mugged this kid for $60 shipped. But then again this is PA so maybe they are real...


12 people like this
Posted by Response?
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 3, 2018 at 2:45 am

Between this and the assault on Arastradero, what are the police doing to ensure safery on this side of town?


18 people like this
Posted by Response!
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 3, 2018 at 2:47 am

I had to just double check to see if it was an April 1 story, but no. Can’t imagine why anyone would spend so much on shoes.


1 person likes this
Posted by David
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 3, 2018 at 9:26 am

Ugly shoes, but what do you expect from needless-markup. Web Link


21 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 3, 2018 at 9:38 am

Whether the description of this incident is accurate or not, the fact is that more kids and adults are walking and bicycling for transportation around the city. We need more police patrols along popular walking and bicycling routes, which are often not accessible by police patrol cars. Didn't the PAPD used to have bicycle police officers? What happened to them?


21 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 3, 2018 at 10:44 am

Annette is a registered user.

There's an awful lot about this story that sparks skepticism. Easter Sunday evening. Four guys hanging out in a gold-colored sedan near Bol Park. Two of them wearing ski masks. And a young kid from out of town walking alone in absurdly high-priced sneakers. Maybe the 4 guys in the car know the kid and followed him? It's all crazy.


9 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 3, 2018 at 11:22 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Maybe the story should have been dated April 1st?


43 people like this
Posted by Know him
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 3, 2018 at 11:30 am

He is into street wear. He saved money for a year to buy these shoes. He wasn’t alone. His friends ran for it and left him alone.

He was hurt and he’s extremely upset. That’s the point.


6 people like this
Posted by Skeptical
a resident of another community
on Apr 3, 2018 at 11:41 am

So, lots of kids walking around with $800 iPhones and nobody thinks twice about it. But this kid walks around with a $750 pair of shoes and gets mugged by four black guys wearing ski masks? I don't believe it. It sounds like baloney to me.


4 people like this
Posted by Response?
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 3, 2018 at 11:49 am

@Skeptical,
Different side of town. I don’t know any kids with $800 smartphones. Or $750 shoes.


5 people like this
Posted by Skeptical
a resident of another community
on Apr 3, 2018 at 12:05 pm

@Response?
I suggest you do a Zillow search on home prices in the Barron Park neighborhood. Home prices range from $2.5M to $8M. Now a $2.5M home in Palo Alto doesn't necessarily mean that the owner is wealthy. But it ain't the projects. I'm sure there are lots of kids in that neighborhood with high priced phones.


11 people like this
Posted by E
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 3, 2018 at 12:48 pm

I am concerned that no one contacted the police until this young man got home. I WOULD OF THOUGHT THE FRIENDS WHO RAN OFF FOR SAFETY WOULD HAVE CALLED THE POLICE, MAYBE GOT A LICENSE NUMBER?


9 people like this
Posted by Abledavid
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 3, 2018 at 1:49 pm

$750 shoes on a 15 year old. A true April fools story.


11 people like this
Posted by 750S
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 3, 2018 at 3:19 pm

Dude.

a 15 year old with $750 shoes?

No wonder kids are so messed up these days. Jeez.


44 people like this
Posted by Kid of Story
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 3, 2018 at 6:23 pm

I’m the person who the story is about. I’m not very happy that it ended up in the news but since it’s here now and I can’t do anything about that I’d rather just explain the skepticism. The event happened on Saturday, March 31st, idk how that got mixed up. I took a Lyft to the park to hangout with friends. When the situation happened they ditched me. The shoes were purchased on 2/24/18 from the Balenciaga store and I have the receipt to prove that. The model was Balenciaga Speed Trainer in Maille Noir colorway. It all happened very quickly and I only saw the first guy for a quick second before I was jumped and had my face pushed into the ground so I couldn’t see, so I don’t have much detail on the group.


19 people like this
Posted by Republican
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 3, 2018 at 7:35 pm

This is a terrible story! As they say, with friends like that, who needs enemies? For all you criticizing the young man for the purchase, I am sure you spend your money in unpractical ways also. The Starbuck's Coffee shops are always packed; I view spending $5-$10/day on coffee as a waste of money. I am glad that the victim didn't get killed. Try going to the Balenciaga store and show them your receipt and the news story and see if they will cut you a deal. Or write to their corporate office.

[Portion removed.]


18 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 3, 2018 at 7:44 pm

Annette is a registered user.

@Kid - it's fortunate that you were not hurt worse than what was described. Losing something you value is lousy, but the guys who took them from you are the real losers. As for the friends that ditched you - I assume they were scared (understandable) but all the same I hope at least one of them summoned some help for you. If not, instead of new shoes maybe look for some new friends.

If you do want new shoes, Converse high tops are cool AND retro and they cost about $60. Start a new fad and have some fun with the money you didn't spend on designer sneakers.


15 people like this
Posted by Not a skeptic
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 3, 2018 at 11:11 pm

When you were a kid, did you save your allowance, babysit or have some other entry level job? Did you save up for something that your parents’ wouldn’t buy you? Someone comes along, knocks you to the ground and just takes it off your feet. This is 80 hours of babysitting at today’s rate.

I know I saved up money for things my parents would have never approved of, but I appreciated them because I earned them.


16 people like this
Posted by Kid of Story
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 3, 2018 at 11:21 pm

@abledavid I paid for the shoes myself with money I made. Streetwear fashion is something that I’m into and I rly wanted the shoes. People will spend irrational amounts of money on their interests sometimes and I’m sure you have too.
@Republican thank you agreed. Will also look into your suggestion.
@Annette I actually do have a pair of high top converse. I really like them. I also can’t blame my friends for what they did and I’m not upset with them but it does kinda suck that’s how the situation ended.


5 people like this
Posted by Republican
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 4, 2018 at 12:24 am

They deleted my section about the PAPD not being able to be everywhere in the city at every moment. PAPD has been publicizing open positions for months. I think it's wrong to complain about them, then when needed, the same people call them.

@Kid of Story: Also have some official paperwork (PAPD report, hospital report, paycheck stubs) photos, whatever, to help your case. Is it possible this was a set-up?


44 people like this
Posted by Old Timer
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 4, 2018 at 7:47 am

@Kid in Story:

This was absolutely a setup. Thugs in ski masks aren’t cruising the streets of Palo Alto looking for expensive sneakers.

If I were you, I’d be thinking carefully about who knew you owned these and also knew you’d be in that park at that moment.


2 people like this
Posted by Amature Detective
a resident of another community
on Apr 4, 2018 at 8:57 am

Maybe it was the Lyft driver that tipped these guys off about an easy mark to score some Balenciaga shoes?


6 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 4, 2018 at 9:06 am

There is so much that could be said about this story and it sounds like it came out of some 3rd rate movie. I find it hard to give a lot of credence to a lot of this.

Suffice it to say that this is Spring Break week with perhaps many bored teenagers and an over-active imagination.


10 people like this
Posted by Not a skeptic
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 4, 2018 at 12:14 pm

It was Sneaker Con at the convention center. There are lots of kids who brought out their best stuff for Sneaker Con.

I say good for you @the kid who saved up his OWN money. People who judge you without knowing you, shouldn’t bother you. They just have nothing better to do.


2 people like this
Posted by Republican
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 4, 2018 at 12:56 pm

@Amature Detective: Blaming the Lyft driver? Really?

Plus, Lyft drivers are so much more trustworthy than Uber drivers. I never use Uber, as their background checks are a joke: 24-hours after application submission and they are employed. It's no wonder Uber drivers are constantly in the news. And with the new rules about tipping Uber drivers too, might as well use Lyft.


23 people like this
Posted by Kid of story
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 4, 2018 at 2:33 pm

@oldtimer honestly I do think this was a setup.
@amaturedetective there’s no chance it was the Lyft, pretty sure the car was already there when I arrived.
@notaskeptic yes I was at sneakercon earlier that day. I helped run a booth w friends there and selling sneakers/clothes is how I made the money to pay for the shoes in the first place


21 people like this
Posted by Victim Blame
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 4, 2018 at 8:45 pm

Victim Blame is a registered user.

@ Kid of Story

First, I'm so sorry this happened to you. It sounds terrible and super scary. Our high school son is in to streetwear too. Like you, he works hard to earn his own money and purchases what is meaningful to him with his own savings. A theft could happen to anyone so don't blame yourself. I hope your physical injuries heal soon and you can move forward, and continue to earn and save money so you can enjoy what you love.

Second, please ignore all the doubting adults who questioned the veracity of this story and even worse blamed you for owning something nice. It's highly disturbing how quickly people descend into victim blame. As @ Republican and @ Not a Sceptic already stated (thank you), how would any adult feel if someone blamed them for having a $1,000 iPhone or work/personal laptop or nice car or designer purse or jewelry that they were robbed for? I didn't see anyone blaming the ladies who were held up at gun point outside of Nordstrom for whatever was in their shopping bags. I don't see people who drive nice cars being blamed for their own carjackings. I'm a woman who wears jewelry and carries a cell phone: that doesn't make it my fault if someone robs me at gunpoint. I would bet most of the people on this list who criticized the value of your shoes have a few expensive items themselves. It's disgusting to hear them blame you. Ignore the haters and keep up the good work earning an honest living. Hang in there.


7 people like this
Posted by Response?
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 5, 2018 at 4:00 pm

Nobody is blaming the victim here. A lot of people can legitimately wonder how someone can spend that kind of money on a pair of shoes and whether the article was, therefore, accurate.

To the victim: If you were my kid, I would be very proud of you for saving for what you want, but I would also counsel you against showing off targets of theft. (After counseling you, hopefully, through a lifetime of thinking about what matters and not being overly materialistic, but I recognize that kids make choices we don’t always agree with and you earned those.) What happened to you was wrong, but you should consider it a cheap lesson about the world. You are lucky you weren’t hurt worse, in some places thieves would have sooner killed you for such expensive clothing, which wouldn’t be the first time it’s ever happened.

@Skeptical wrote:
“I suggest you do a Zillow search on home prices in the Barron Park neighborhood. Home prices range from $2.5M to $8M. Now a $2.5M home in Palo Alto doesn't necessarily mean that the owner is wealthy. But it ain't the projects. I'm sure there are lots of kids in that neighborhood with high priced phones.”

Maybe. I asked my teen, who could only think of one friend who maybe had an expensive phone.

I get really sick of hearing that this ain’t the projects so therefore everyone is rich or even close to it. The Bay Area is a hard place to be if you aren’t rich, and there are many “house poor” right here in Palo Alto. Only very few people can ever buy their own homes at current market value, and current market value of a home is usually meaningless if your job and life are in this place.

Comparing cost of living for what we make here to the places our respective parents live, the equivalent cost of living is for a $25,000 salary in those places, — yes, $25,000, which is entirely consistent with what we actually live on — barely above the federal poverty line for our family size. Factor in cost of living. This isn’t a normal market, anywhere in the Bay Area, and things change, such as when Apple opened their headquarters.

Our family in those other places live much better than we do, and make constantly poor financial choices (drinking, gambling, boats cars guns, way nicer houses, etc) yet like you, assume we must be rich because they don’t factor in cost of living. Now we have this huge tax increase, which has huge negative consequences in places where we are already sending more in taxes to the feds because salaries are higher for the same standard of living, and there is no cost of living adjustment. (If a Democrat made this kind of multi-hundred-billion dollar grab from local and state coffers to federal coffers from ordinary people like this, there would be war.)

When people get into homes anywhere in the Bay Area, they often make substantial sacrifice that goes on for years or decades. The market value of someone’s home means nothing about even their standard of living. Referring to the points above, neither I nor my children has a smart phone at all, we do not go to Starbucks, I do not own an expensive purse. I can’t afford yard help or babysitters. I couldn’t even replace my wedding ring (originally a $50 band) when my fingers began swelling off and on for medical reasons. I regularly have to choose not to follow my doctor’s advice because I can’t afford it. We get new clothing, rarely, from Costco or using points from credit card purchases of necessities. Our main splurge is organic food which we often get at Grocery Outlet or Costco. The cars are both 15 years old, no prospects ever to get others. We haven’t been home to see our families for Christmas in over 25 years because of cost. Our children have only been able to visit respective cousins at most, once.

This is where the job and healthcare are; the stability including the financial stability of owning is the reason to buy, and that involved buying first in pretty unsafe areas (not PA) with drug dealers nearby in the neighborhood, and moving up over the years several times and living in pretty substandard conditions. Someone’s house appreciating means nothing in terms of their lives, except that maybe the house is their only retirement savings. How much do you have saved for retirement? Just because you retire with a million-dollar annuity (as my red state in-law did, from the proceeds of his SoCal house, his only retirement, who is now destitute for helping his spendthrift stepchildren who are trying to soak us now) is not the same as being a millionaire.

We recently were the victims of smash and grab; the thieves didn’t even bother to grab anything once they glimpsed inside, they moved on to the next cars. The cost of paying the deductible for repair was a serious burden.

I do not begrudge this kid something he earned. But even if I could afford it, I wouldn’t wear anything that cost so much around a bunch of people who might be inclined to beat someone and take it. They probably think that because you live hear, you can easily afford to replace them.


9 people like this
Posted by Republican
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 5, 2018 at 4:52 pm

@Response?: Are you finished? Quite a diversion. And first, you are sympathetic, then berate the kid for being "overly materialistic" and hanging with the wrong crowd. Palo Alto isn't "all that", even though I grew up here, left, and returned to multimillion dollar housing prices. But my husband and I calculated our future and decided that we would never live in Palo Alto if we didn't have leftover money for retirement savings, college tuition, and funds for raising our children with a good life (extracurriculars, tutors, overnight camps, etc.). And yes, our house is small and we aren't plucking money off trees like the venture capitalists. But again, there are nice, neighboring towns that have lower mortgages and good schools (or go private). There are many housepoor children in Palo Alto and it's a disgrace. Many don't even have lunch money. You only have one chance to raise your children; do it right.


10 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 5, 2018 at 5:09 pm

"...but I would also counsel you against showing off targets of theft."

I thought we were beyond this "blame the victim" mentality. When I was a girl, people told me to watch how I dressed to avoid becoming a target of rape. This was disgusting then, and it's disgusting now.


14 people like this
Posted by @Response?
a resident of Santa Rita (Los Altos)
on Apr 5, 2018 at 7:08 pm

You stated your teen could only think of a couple kids with $800 phones? Literally every kid 12+ I know has an iPhone. Do you realize those are $800+?


Like this comment
Posted by This isn’t news...
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 5, 2018 at 10:26 pm

This is not news. Why are we even talking about this.


2 people like this
Posted by Response?
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 5, 2018 at 10:31 pm

@Republican,
I am glad for you that you have choices that allow you to be so completely ignorant of the economics for people who are not in your economic class. Buying homes in the Bay Area is not like going out and buying a car. We ended up in Palo Alto literally by a fluke not because we chose it. We weren’t even looking in Palo Alto at the time, but our experienced agent wasn’t leaving anything off the table, lucky for us. For people competing on the bottom rungs, it’s a long slog of spending most of your time for years trying to get something, anything. In case you hadn’t noticed, there are numerous factors that make moving after a few years not a financial improvement, even for a lower priced home. And now we wouldn’t be able to deduct a new mortgage so it’s really not an option at all even if property taxes and all the other issues were not a factor.

@@Response,
Again, other side of town, or different circles. My teen is obviously>12 and does not have a smart phone, neither does that teen’s best friends. I guess one could argue that the other brands of smartphones have a retail value higher than the mfring cost, but since they give them away, not sure the sticker price means anything. The kids we know who do have phones mostly don’t have iPhones. Nobody I know can afford to be deliberately obsoleted by the company after a year or two. (Battery life my ess.)

@Mary,
I think your analogy is overblown and different. I think if your parents didn’t advise you not to walk through the part of town where all the rapes happen, they would be negligent. Sure, you should be able to walk where you want, but the world isn’t going to be perfect anytime soon. Your parents never gave you advice on how to keep yourself safer? Did you consider that victim blaming, really? It’s wrong that the world is that way, but you aren’t doing this kid any favors by telling him to never consider context when engaging in conspicuous consumption. We live in a bubble here, where driving an expensive car won’t risk getting you robbed, especially in the young. That would be asking for it in many other places. Just flaunting virtually anything in many colleges means you can kiss it goodbye if you leave it alone in your dorm room. What happened to the kid was appalling and wrong, but if he understands something about the world from it, it just may save his life down the line. It’s terrible that it happened, and horrifying that it happened in a children’s park.


8 people like this
Posted by Republican
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 6, 2018 at 3:14 am

@Response: Haha, thanks for the laugh! "We ended up in Palo Alto literally by a fluke not because we chose it." Palo Alto houses all appreciate enough to cash-in and move elsewhere for more disposable income. When we looked for our house, we did not blindly follow like lemmings. Attacking people isn't pleasant behavior and ad hominem attacks are transparent. I can tell you that parenting will become a lot more difficult when your children get to Gunn and then when you look at college tuitions and regret spending so much money on the mortgage. I know mothering is difficult, but is it really wise to raise children in the School of Hard Knocks? I wish for peace in your heart someday. But mostly, I hope your children keep their chins up amongst the word vomit which surrounds them.


11 people like this
Posted by bemused
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 6, 2018 at 8:44 am

This is why my family only wears our $750 sneakers around the house.


7 people like this
Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 6, 2018 at 12:10 pm

Sanctimonious City is a registered user.

In Finance, the Rule of 72 basically suggests that if you invest your money in the stock market it will roughly double every 10 years.

If we apply that rule to a pair of $800 sneakers that are purchased at 15 years old then that $800 could be expected to be worth over $25,000 at age 65 if invested rather than spent on shoes.

The time value of money is an important principle to teach the young. Spend now or retire early. Buy the $50 pair of shoes, invest the rest and maybe you can also afford the house in Palo Alto when you get older.


5 people like this
Posted by Response?
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 6, 2018 at 2:31 pm

[Portion removed.] The only way to survive in this area below a given income level is to buy. Anything. Anywhere. And then move up, still without any ability to be picky. In my experience over decades, there is no way to be specific about where you end up, it’s very difficult to go through the process. You say both that houses here appreciate so much (so presumably buying in Palo Alto is a good decision) and that there will be no money for college from buying in Palo Alto (where did that equity go? so, presumably a bad decision) - which is it? You do understand that many people buy for the stability and schools, understanding that they will leave the Bay Area when their kids graduate or soon after? But let’s look at the idea that it’s so easy to move within the Bay Area and cash out.

If you are looking at the very bottom end of the market, it means there is a lot of competition, and it means there are various problems and compromises that differ from property to property. If you spend long enough at it, eventually it’s possible to get the compromise you can accept and fewer others will to meet the acceptance of an offer. It means looking for property from San Jose up to almost South SF. When houses go a few days after being listed, success favors preparation.

Let’s say you bought a townhouse for $900k, which would now sell for $1.8M. And let’s say you have 10 years to retirement at a minimum. Your taxes would be ~$17k or $18k/yr, assuming minimal special assessments, and depending on how many of those years the 2% increase was levied. Your mortgage is still ~$1M because you had to take out equity for various medical and financial crises (which would not have otherwise been available without such an asset). If you sell, after costs and and taxes, not including moving costs and interim rental costs, assuming you can exclude $500k from taxes), being optimistic, you have about $650k left.

You find a house in San Jose for $1.3 M (costs in Mtn Vw, Sunnyvale, and San Jose have been rising faster than traditionally, there isn’t much of a differential anymore with MV.) Your taxes are now $20k-$22k depending on special assessments. (You might be able to do better, but it can take a lot of time, years, and you are spending $3,600/month on your small interim apartment). After paying moving costs twice, interim housing costs, and other buyer costs, your downpayment is only $580k, and you need to save the $80k for repairs of the new house, including a new roof. So your new mortgage of $800,000 isn’t better than you had, because now the best interest rate you can get is 4.4%. The interest on $50k is no longer deductible, so all things considered, your monthly cash flow hasn’t improved, even as you are now paying way more to get to your job and spending way more time getting there and back since the clog is to PA in the morning and away in the afternoon.

So, your monthly cash flow hasn’t improved at all, you had over a year (optimistically) of having no time for the side job that helped bridge the gap, and you have less equity and a home that won’t appreciate as much. And you are further from work and your kids had to change schools. So you spend the time commuting instead of with your family and the side job.

In that example, there is equity, but the new tax law is going to change the equation for many people even more in favor of staying put despite the problems.

You present a false choice, that it’s Palo Alto and difficult financial choices and anywhere else and easy, when the whole Bay Area is just a hard place to be if your job is here and you aren’t wealthy, any expensive place is.

Lastly, yes, we did in fact end up in Palo Alto without having been looking here, because of the kind of unusual fluke most people were not willing or able to roll with. We had spent years looking with our down payment from the last dwindling, making offers on multiple properties nearly every week. The week we got this house, we made three other offers, all in different cities. This happened to be the one we finally got. It wasn’t habitable and we still had to spend a lot on basic repairs (and interim housing). What is your resistance to being thankful for your circumstances and recognizing that you, gasp!, don’t know everything? I would never have know any of this except for living it.

@Sanctimonious City,
Very good point. It’s so important to educate kids who have it easy growing up about the future. There is some guy who wrote a book about how wealth is usually lost between generations - largely because of the disconnect when kids have it too easy. Anyway, it’s something to contemplate.


Like this comment
Posted by Bleeding Heart
a resident of another community
on Apr 6, 2018 at 9:14 pm

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by Republican
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 6, 2018 at 10:14 pm

[Post removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by Republican
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 7, 2018 at 2:02 am

[Post removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 7, 2018 at 3:16 am

Why would anyone stay in Palo Alto if they are living paycheck-to-paycheck? I love my children too much to do that to them. They have blossomed due to private coaching, tutors, overnight camps at colleges, traveling internationally. This has not made them spoiled, it’s made them competitive and have the desire to stay at the top because they enjoy being successful. If they hadn’t felt success, they could feel hopeless, as PAUSD can lead to hopelessness, as there have been tragedies. Using a house as a lottery ticket is poor parenting.


3 people like this
Posted by Response?
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 7, 2018 at 10:32 am

[Portion removed.]

@Mom,
The fundamental problem is that the issue is not as simple as you suggest. As I described above, the economics do not work out that way. I, too, know people who sold their homes and moved to not live paycheck to paycheck, but that’s a thing of the past under a high percentage of situations within the Bay Area (as I detailed in one scenario above), and moving away to another state or hours away around the Bay Area to get a high quality of living and commuting to work for most of the rest of the day is something we have already done, for almost ten years.

Time > Money, at least that’s how we value things in our home. We are much happier for having more time together. My kids are happy and getting a great education, and it sounds like yours are, too. Sure, having money to pay for better educational resources would really help, but life isn’t perfect, and we have many great free or cheap resources locally.

When people have work that is specific to place, healthcare that is specific to place, family obligations, etc etc, moving where there is no potential job just trades one problem for anothers. As I have pointed out about a relative who “cashed our” from a wealthy area of SoCal, the money didn’t last nearly as long as hoped even in a red state with 1/5th the cost of living. We also know people for whom it worked out great, mainly that worked out if they moved where they had jobs in those places.

Yes, living paycheck to paycheck really sucks. The alternative, where you are at the mercy of rental leases and precipitous increases in rent, constant moving, unhealthy living conditions, and no appreciating asset you can lean on when needed, is way way worse (been there, done that, too). I think it’s laudable that you would want others to have better choices, but you have to realize that the choices aren’t necessarily what you think or as easy as you suppose, and give other people credit for doing what is best under their circumstances.

I think Sanctimonious’s point is well taken, that the student can consider other ways to use his money that will benefit him a lot more in the future. I do not blame @the kid, I had a job at that age, too, and used it to pay for my car gas clothing etc, so I didn’t have to drive the family tank and had more freedom. And if I’m honest, so it wasn’t as embarrassing in school. Believe me, I get it. But I also know life can throw curves you never expect, and saving for the future helps, too. And it doesn’t sound like the social scene where thise shoes are most “valuable” was all that great in the end, Those friends didn’t stick around. Also an important life lesson. I hope he recovers well soon.





1 person likes this
Posted by Response?
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 7, 2018 at 10:47 am

The book I was referring to might be Ron Lieber’s The Opposite of Spoiled - he’s the money columnist for the NYT.

(Note, I am not calling @the kid spoiled. I do not know him/her.)


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Posted by low values
a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 8, 2018 at 11:58 pm

That he spent that much money on a pair of shoes reflects very badly on his family's values, on his choice of friends, and on his own judgment.
Reminds me of poor people who drive Cadillacs.

The name Balenciaga I know as a French high fashion designer for royalty and rich women. I guess their corporate vultures figured out that ordinary people will squander their money as well, so they can pretend they are rich too. Alas.


6 people like this
Posted by bemused
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2018 at 9:34 am

@low values, what if he had spent $750 on a Picasso to hang on the wall? Would that be 'high values'? What if he spent $750 on a bicycle? On a violin? People routinely spend gobs more than that on lessons, sports meets, family vacations, dress shoes, pets, etc. Why is buying a 'stylish' pair of sneakers worse than these other non-necessary uses of money?


3 people like this
Posted by Guess what?
a resident of Santa Rita (Los Altos)
on Apr 9, 2018 at 10:34 am

Dear everyone posting judgemental comments,

We have no right to judge where this kid or his parents spent $750. Period. I’m sure we spend that going out to eat in a month. Some people spend it on one part for their Tesla in a day, some people spend it on clothes in an hour, some on Botox in 15 minutes. This is a rich area. How dare we judge what someone else did with his money?! This is not even a topic to be judging someone on. I’m SURE there could be a news article about something of yours that costs <$750 that could be stolen and then you could have people judge you or people could feel anger towards the person who illegally stole from you. Which would you prefer?

Let’s love, not judge.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2018 at 1:06 pm

As I said above, there is a lot that can be said about this post and I thought it not worth the trouble. But since it is still being discussed, here's my thoughts.

If I saw a pair of sneakers on somebody's feet I wouldn't have the slightest idea if they cost $25, $85, or $850. They are shoes that will wear out or become outgrown. For a thief to target these shoes said thief must have known that the victim was wearing them, how much they cost, where victim would be, and have some idea of how to gain from his theft unless he planned to wear them himself.

As I said above, bored teens on Spring Break talking too much, bragging too much, and caring more about a fashion item than is wise.

I don't think this compares to a luxury car, or a piece of valuable art. I doubt if most onlookers would even notice the shoes (not the case with a car) and a piece of valuable art is hoped to increase in value, and can be enjoyed by many people now and in the future.

I hope the victim feels the same in 10 years, 25 years and more about saving money to spend on wise purchases teaching his own teens about how to spend money.


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Posted by Tip for encouraging saving
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 9, 2018 at 6:54 pm

Tip for encouraging saving is a registered user.

I really appreciate the thoughtful comments on this thread.

FWIW, I think spending/saving/donating is something that kids learn about and work out over time. It's awesome that the kid in this scenario is earning his own money and trying out different things to do with it. That is what he should be doing at this age. He'll figure out over time if the sneakers were worth it for him, and adjust his habits accordingly.

For parents who want to nudge their kids in the direction of saving over spending, a great tip that I got is to tell the kids that you will match how much they have saved when they graduate from high school. (Or match some percentage, depending on what you can afford and think is fair.) Our kids get a clothing allowance, and they are SO careful with their money, opting to save as much as possible so they can make out in the long run. It's good practice, I think.


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Posted by Kid of Story
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 24, 2018 at 3:29 pm

@reponse saying that I shouldn’t be wearing shoes in front of those people makes no sense because if I had known those guys were going to be there I wouldn’t have gone to Bol that day.
@mary agreed
@lowvalues I bought those shoes because I wanted them badly for over a year and they’d have been worth more than I paid down the road even though they were worn. My parents didn’t completely agree with the purchase but it was my money and they knew how bad I wanted these and that the money would come back in a couple years.
@resident I didn’t buy them to show off that i owned $750 shoes I bought them because i genuinely enjoyed them and my favorite outfits included them.
@SanctimoniousCity sneakers is one of the biggest resell markets right now. There’s a Ted Talk about reselling sneakers that I’d highly suggest you watch. I also don’t have time to wait till I’m 65 to start enjoying my interests.


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