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Friday, November 9, 2012

Not Such a Good Sport

I stepped into Sports Chalet the other night to see if they had any good deals on hiking shoes. My mom, friend and I go walking every morning for about an hour, and we try to hike the trails if it's good weather, so I've been looking for some sturdy shoes to keep my feet as happy as my heart and circulation system is! Being the gullible person that I am, when a mere acquaintance told me rather excitedly that I should go to a particular shoe store and get fitted for special shoes because my right foot appeared to roll pretty badly when I walked, I decided I had better do so.

Now I know I walk on the inside of my shoes; every pair of shoes I've ever had is worn down on the inside more than the outside, which probably also explains why I have a hard time balancing on pointy thin heels! But somehow it had never bothered me before, after all, I grew up in Africa where you wear flip flops all day long and maybe people walk with rolled feet but nobody makes a big deal about it there! So here I was, suddenly worried that some strange malady would attack me if I didn't address the problem right away (thought I'm not exactly sure what!) and I betook myself off to that store as soon as I had a couple of hours to spare.

I walked in the front door and a guy appeared from behind the fleece jackets and asked if I needed any help. He looked like he was about 15, but he was wearing a logo t-shirt, so I figured he must be an employee and could help me pick out the shoes that were going to save me from a fate worse than death. (still figuring out what it is!) I told him someone had referred me, he had me walk up and down a small mat so he could observe my deadly rolling foot, agreed that I had a slight roll, and then disappeared into the back to bring me some shoes to try on. I looked idly about, then realized the wall was covered with various shades and sizes of shoes, so I wandered over to look at a few. The prices made me gulp. $100 appeared to be the low end, though they didn't seem to go higher than $120. I sat back down and prayed he would bring out the cheaper shoes.

I tried on the first pair and it fit quite nicely. He explained that it wasn't corrective surgery or anything, the shoe would merely provide the support so my foot wouldn't roll as much, sort like holding a newborn's head for support I guess?, and so I stood up to take a stroll. I walked back and forth on that little mat, which I later realized was rather clever of the store to have there, as the mat was probably more comfortable to walk on than my carpet at home. With weary feet comfortably ensconced in snug shoes, strolling up and down on the plush mat, I decided I had found the shoes. I tried on three other pairs just be sure, but none fit quite as right. (Okay, okay, I'll admit it, the first ones were the cutest!) I smiled confidently at the guy and said, "I'll take these, please."

He seemed a little startled, I wasn't sure if it was because I'd made my decision so quickly or because the shoes were so expensive and people don't often buy shoes in that particular store, but nonetheless, we headed to the checkout counter. I handed over my card and headed home, $117 lighter but happy that I had found "my shoes." I got in the car and thought, "What in the world have I done? I've just spent more than a hundred dollars on a pair of shoes!"

After thinking a little more about shoes over the next few weeks, and realizing that I fall all too easily for sales pitches, whether needed or not, I decided to take a look at shoes in other stores. And I realized that I could buy shoes that gave me just as much support but were $50 cheaper! Now I was disgruntled, partially because I felt like I hadn't received the whole truth, and partially because I had allowed myself to be fooled into parting with my money so easily. Two months later, the shoes still brand new and sitting in their box, I was headed back to the store. This time I prayed there would be different people working, people who didn't recognize me and wonder why I waited till the last minute to return a pair of perfectly good shoes. Thankfully a complete stranger looked up at me and smiled as I walked in, and very graciously assisted me with my return.

I think I've learned a well-deserved lesson here; one which I'm grateful to have learned in a situation where I could get my money back and not have to put it on my tab marked "Experience." Oh, and I never did tell you about my experience in Sports Chalet. I guess I'll have to save that for another blog. :-)

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