Shopping for new shoes should be a joyful, carefree event. My last experience almost evolved into a hostage taking and media frenzy!
My reliable old friends, a ten-year old pair of Florsheim dress shoes, had expired. They had faithfully waltzed me through countless wedding dances, shuffled me through dozens of funeral processions and were now ready to retire. Their withered brown skin couldn’t be polished and their shine was now only a dull luster. They had to be replaced.
A trip to the mall to find a new pair conjured up an adventure akin to going to Disney World. With a light heart and an anticipation of excitement, I entered Shoe World, the fantasy land for shoes.
Every kind of shoe imaginable could be found in Shoe World and I knew I would find a replacement for my old Florsheim friends. During my search I encountered running, walking, skateboarding, dancing, cross training and baby shoes. Every color found in a flower garden glorified the shelves of shoes and the air was electric with excitement.
I consulted the huge map of the shoe store’s interior to locate the men’s dress shoe department. It was wedged into a back corner between work boots and ballet slippers. After my long search wound through aisles of socks, shoelaces, shoe polish, beach sandals, roller skates and slippers, I found my target section. It was a lower shelf containing ten pair of dusty black or brown oxfords. I was aghast! Where were the racks of quality men’s shoes that I had expected to find? The twelve-year old gum-chewing clerk, who happened to accidentally pass by, said they were not a popular shoe type. She suggested that I try the ones that flashed red lights from the heels when you walked on them.
Filled with disappointment, I selected a sad looking men’s size ten dress shoe that was the pick of the litter. I slipped out of my old friends, placed them under a little stool and squeezed into the new shoes. They fit, but they did not bring any songs of joy to my feet or to my heart.
Apparently, the new breed of shoe buyer does not care how the shoe looks. I spent ten minutes wandering up and down each aisle, like a slalom stalker, searching for a foot mirror. I finally ended up checking my reflection in an aluminum garbage container. The new shoes were no award winners but these are obviously Spartan times for a quality shoe buyer.
I decided to buy them and returned to the site of my old Florsheims and stopped dead in my tracks. My old friends were gone! They had been stolen!
I was stunned. My favorite shoes had been kidnapped and I felt violated. I raced to the front check out desk and informed the clerk. She looked at me as if I was suffering from dementia. Of course there was nothing she could do and she sent me to see the manager. The fifteen year old manager was drinking a Slurpee and watching an MTV video at the back of the store and slurping happily as she listened to my plight. She said there ain’t nothing she could do and she was sorry. Sluuuuuuuurp!
They were not going to get away with this travesty. I sprinted to the front door to inspect each potential thief’s face for a sign they had stolen my shoes. I was anticipating barring and locking the doors, with visions of Dog Day Afternoon racing through my brain. I would find the shoe thief or die trying. Desperate times call for desperate measures!
With my back braced against the doors and my arms spread wide to prevent any escape, I looked like a wild man suffering from Slurpee withdrawal. No one was going to leave!
In my manic state, my eyes lighted for a moment on the Bargain Bin, filled with out-of-style or discontinued shoes. Sitting, like austere Buddhas on the top of the pile, were my beloved Florsheim friends. They had been mistakenly picked up, probably by a prepubescent sales person, and tossed recklessly onto the flotsam of faulty footwear.
I snapped them up, put them on and walked with a smile of immense satisfaction out of the store. My Florsheims would live to waltz and shuffle another day, before they were retired to the wasteland of old fashion shoes. And damned if I’d buy a pair of shoes that flashed lights like a pimp on a stroll!