You likely know that old phrase, “When someone gives you lemons, make lemonade…” The term “lemon” has a history of being used to describe something less than desirable. As in, “That car was a real lemon.”
I looked up the etymology of the term “lemon” to convey something negative and found several references on law firm websites. One described it this way:
Lemons are healthy fruits, rich in vitamin C and other nutrients, used in a myriad of wonderful products, from lemonade and lemon meringue pie to cleaning agents. So, why do we call bad cars lemons?
The Online Etymology Dictionary indicates that there are several possible origins for ‘lemon’ being used to refer to an inferior product. One possibility is that it came from early 20th century American slang, where a ‘lemon’ referred to “a person who is a loser, a simpleton,” as a lemon. Another possibility is that the term originated from British pool hall slang, where a ‘lemon game’ was a game played by a hustler. It seems most likely that that the use of a ‘lemon’ as a bad car came from another British slang term from the early 1900’s in which “to hand someone a lemon” was “to pass off a sub-standard article as a good one.” (Online Etymology Dictionary).
Regardless of the where they came from, the terms ‘lemon’ and ‘lemon laws‘ are now common in our modern vocabulary, and codified in our laws. In the context of and vehicles, most everyone agrees that buying a lemon new car, does leave one with a sour feeling.
Thinking back, I can recall a few sets of running shoes that were real lemons. The worst pair I ever had was a set of Converse shoes that I won in a road race in Pennsylvania. They took months to arrive after I won them for placing in a race. When they arrived, I tried them on and felt an instant disappointment. The soles were hard. The fit was clunky and awful. I took them outside and could not run in them. Those shoes were so bad that I didn’t even keep them to wear around the house or for yard work. They were total lemons. Converse doesn’t seem to make running shoes any more. If they do, I haven’t heard of them for years. Perhaps they have a whole line of lemons.
I don’t have much good to say about a set of Etonic Streetfighters that I bought heading in my senior year in college. They were flat, heavy, and unresponsive. Etonic went back to making golf shoes, I think.
Nor was I fond of a pair of Nike Air racing flats that I invested in during my peak racing years. The full-air insole blistered my feet so bad I never wore them again. Why take the risk?
And so it goes. We all meet our share of lemons along the way.
Any time you buy a set of new shoes, there’s typically a period at the start of wearing them when they don’t yet feel right. That happened with a new set of Brooks Adrenaline that I purchased in November. My feet felt numb the first few runs. I wrote the company through their social media account and they communicated right back. “If your shoes don’t work out, we have a generous replacement policy.”
Wow! I thought. That’s classy. Yet that treatment convinced me to keep the shoes a week or so more. Sure enough, they started to feel great. My wife even bought a pair next. So you see? Treating customers with respect pays dividends.
The same trial period took place with a set of Nike Pegasus Shield running shoes that I purchased a month ago through Amazon. I had some Discover Card rewards to use and purchased the shoes as an alternate set of trainers for the winter months. Those first few runs in those shoes were awkward and stiff. The foot counter bit into my ankle bones, so I laced them back a notch and ran like that until they were broken in. Now they’re comfortable. I ran six miles in them yesterday and the Lemon Effect is gone. I’m happy with them.
Sometimes lemonade makes itself. You just have to give it time.