Out in the Cold, With the Heat On.

“Where can I find a shoe with enough support for my torn Upper Dorsimous?”

I respond, “Uhhhhhh, hmmmm, Well the shoe department would be a start.”

The customer nearly always lets out a little chuckle, thinking it was a joke, seeing we are already in the shoe department. Then they see that I am not laughing and realize that they have “One of Those” on their hands. “One of Those” meaning a worker, not a professional.

“Well what brand is the best for what I am looking for?” I almost always respond with a “Well, old people like New Balance, younger people prefer Nike, and everything else is a toss up.” When they choose a brand I hadn’t named before I say “Oh wow, feeling risky I see?” They again let out a chuckle and look up to see that I again am not laughing. I could not be more serious.

It is not my duty to sell people shoes, it is my duty to make them think.

To make them think about what they are doing. They are buying shoes. Some seem to feel deeply in their hearts that shoes are very important, yet they still need to come ask me about them. “If they are in the forefront of all things in this world that have importance, shouldn’t you know about them?” I think to myself. Then I go on to say “Personally, for support I go for the old fashion Converse, but for you I have something special.” With this phrase I raise my arm and point to the most overpriced Nike in the building. The almighty Nike Shocks.

“Those are the running shoes you read about, they have shocks, just like a car, so you know they are good.” They respond with a consumer-like “Ooooo, I need 10’s.” At this point I think to myself, “How many size 10’s?” I imagine them responding with a “Two.” So I give them one pair to try on. As they slip them on, they make small talk about the school I go to, most of the time asking if I know their friend’s daughter’s boyfriend’s third cousin who graduated last year. I never do. Then I interrogate them on how the shoes fit. They ideally would respond with a swift “Oh my, these are glorious.” But reality always likes to take a turn for the worst, at least in a shoe store. “I forgot, I am a size 12.” by the time they try on the pair of 12’s, it doesn’t matter if they fit, they just want to leave. So they settle with the overpriced Nike’s and go on their way. Leaving me out in the cold, to repeat this ritual time and again.

I feel dirty.

By: Sal Aresco


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