Joe's Footwear Hell: Weird Custys and The Trials of Shoe Dating
Well, there's nothing like nursing a case of the flu to make one's mind wander. What I thought was an allergic reaction to the un-GODLY amounts of pollen the trees here in the Metro D.C. area have been producing, turned into the full-scale chills/fever/coughing flu over the weekend. The fever has also produced some really bizarre dreams, like the one where I was catching a fly-ball from 300 feet ABOVE the stadium and then looked down and, like Wile E. Coyote, realized where I was and plummeted.
Anyway, as weird as that is, it can't compare with some of the custys I've had to deal with at work.
How weird you ask?
How about the woman who called the store to order an item. We had determined that we had the size and color in stock and all that when I asked her what credit card she wanted to use.
"What do you mean?"
"Will this be MasterCard, Visa, American Express...?"
"I don't know what you're talking about! I have the cash right here."
"Ma'am, you understand we can't accept cash over the phone."
"Well why NOT?"
And it went downhill from there. My manager had to get on the phone and politely explain that we couldn't ship merchandise for a PROMISE of future cash payment. The woman said she was going to take her business elsewhere.
Or how about the guy who wandered into the footwear department.
After saying he was "just looking", he picked up various shoes and boots and then waved me over. He held up a women's ballet flat in taupe suede and asked, "Do you have this in size 10?"
I got the shoes from the back, handed the box to him and asked if there was anything else I could do for him.
"Wait a minute", he said. "These are WOMEN'S shoes!"
"You think I wear WOMEN'S shoes?! You think I'm some kind of FAGGOT?!"
"No sir, I merely got the shoes you asked for."
"Well you KEEP your goddamn fairy shoes!"
And he stormed out. My co-worker asked what happened.
"I'm damned if I know!"
Now I told you that story so I could tell you this: for years, shows like "Sex In The City" put forth the idea that women don't just love shoes, they LOOOVE shoes. After working in the footwear department for some time, I can definitely vouch for that. And like a love affair with a living, breathing person, a love affair with shoes goes through similar stages
STAGE ONE: THE KA-BOOM This is the stage where your eyes first fall on them. OMG! You realize you're staring and quickly look away. Then you scan the room to see if any other woman has HER eye on them. You think how perfect they'd look with (whatever). You imagine how jealous all your friends and co-workers will be.
STAGE TWO: GETTING TO KNOW YOU You nonchalantly move in closer. Don't let anyone know you're interested...yet. Take advantage of this time to count the ceiling tiles or update the apps on your iPhone. Scan the object of your affection quickly. Are you all warm and fuzzy? Good!
STAGE THREE: FIRST DATE "This is going to be so perfect", you say to yourself. Wait for the salesclerk to come to YOU, so you don't look too eager.
"Would you happen to have these in a 7", you ask. "I'll check", he says. Moments later, there they are...in YOUR hands! Once again, you don't want to look TOO interested, so you let the salesclerk open the box, unwrap them and get that wadded-up paper out of the toe. You dismiss the retail slave because this part is "personal", capiche? You gingerly try on one and then the other. Now you're ACTUALLY in contact with them! "This is SO going to work", you think. From here, things either rapidly progress to
STAGE FOUR: TRUE LOVE
or... STAGE FOUR-POINT-OH: DEEP, ABIDING HATRED "Shit! They rub my heel!" or "They've got NO arch support!" or "They're not LEATHER?!" or "I'm not buying anything made in China!"
This is the stage where what started out as infatuation, turns to shit. Now, you just don't care anymore. To that end, you toss them onto the floor. Box and wrapping be damned! Let the salesclerk put that paper wadding back in the toe! Your heart is broken, dammit! You realize it's time to go.