I used to love to go shopping.
An hour or so after work, couple hours on Saturday…check out the shirts, the pants, the shoes. Try on some tops, match them up with a pair of shoes, grab a sack of socks, then move right along to lunch or hanging with the family. Never a big deal.
I am beginning to hate shopping.
I would like to think I’m no more “senior” than the mom with kids next door or the junior executive down the block. But I have never been so frustrated in finding a new pair of “gym” shoes than I have been lately. Last eve was a case in point.
Went to the mall after work. Stopped into one of the big anchor department stores and headed to the shoe aisle for a new pair of tennies (my dog chewed up the trim on one of my pairs and the other popped a hole in the toe). Not a biggie. I get to the store. There are four aisles of women’s “gym” shoes. I say “gym” in quotes because these days there are no such thing as plain, old gyms. There are walking shoes, running shoes, cross country shoes, all terrain shoes, and volleyball/basketball shoes. There are memory foam shoes, high arch shoes, waterproof shoes, non-sole shoes, and designer shoes.
So, okay. First I had to pick my shoe. Seeing as I didn’t see many marathons in my immediate future, I wandered to the walking shoe, There was an aisle of ASICS, an aisle of Skechers, an aisle of Reebok and Addidas, and an aisle and a half of Nike. There were high tops, tie shoes, slip ons (with or without laces), pink and black ones and aqua and orange ones and all black ones and neon green ones. Some had big wide soles in white and some had cleats that weren’t really cleats but for fashion’s sake looked like cleats and some had toes that turned up like wicked witch shoes. The boxes were beneath the display shoes, and the ones I finally settled on were missing the match (naturally).
Seeing as the plain white tennies were way above my weekly salary, I settled on a mesh-looking lightweight pair of pink and blacks. But to try them on was another story. They were connected with a squiggly, stretchy wire threaded through each shoe lace hole and anchored together by a security tag. And not a paper tag – two of those big, plastic clunkers. The shoe was stuffed with a make-believe shoehorn and an insert liner, and an extra pair of shoelaces were threaded in a different shoelace hole.
Now, you can imagine me trying to try on these magnificent, overpriced, designer tennies. I struggled to get my foot in one, and barely managed to stand straight. I couldn’t test walk in them because the shoes were connected to each other by the squiggly, stretchy wire. I looked for a salesclerk to take the security clip off so I could at least walk down the aisle in the shoes, but no one was in sight. Naturally. (I used to work retail; the clerk was undoubtedly pulled to Women’s or Junior’s to help put away the 30 tops someone tried on and left in the dressing room.)
So here I am, tired, trying so hard not to be a cranky old lady, walking with a bag and a purse and my shoes in my bag because I had store peds on my feet down the main aisle passed the Women’s Today Wear, around the tables of jewelry placed strategically in the middle of the aisle, up to the main cashiers, and asked them if they could please take the security bobs off the shoes so I could at least test drive these overpriced shoes before I bought them.
They looked at me as if I had brought the plague in with me. “Oh, I don’t think we’re allowed to do that.” Like this worn-out, over-worked little granny was going to walk out with their overpriced, eye-bleeding-color shoes.
I suppose store policy is strict in their adhering to their “Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Severe Woowoo and Burning in Hell for Eternity” rules. I’m sure lots of overpriced, designer, hurt-your-feet shoes go walking out the door of their own (or rather of a thieve’s) volition. But I bet they at least get to try on the shoes before they put the squiggly stretchy things through both lace holes.
Needless to say, I put the bunny…er, shoes…back in the box, put the box on the top of the stack of mismatched boxes beneath the bright pink and black shoes (which were right next to the aqua and orange ones), took off my little Peds, put my sandals back on, and walked out.
I guess I must be old, for I miss the two-or-three-choices-of-shoes-and-quit-yer-bitchin’-and-pick-a-pair days. There is something to be said for a nation that has too many choices. For restaurants that have seven page menus and ice cream that has 45 flavors and stores that have more choices of shoes than astronomers have stars to chart.
But I don’t have that word at the moment. I’m too busy trying to trim the doggie teeth marks from my last pair of tennies.