Friday, February 17, 2012

"There's No Business Like Shoe Business"

By Jerry Zezima

The Stamford Advocate

If the shoe fits, wear it. Then wear the other one because otherwise you would have to hop around on one foot and you’d end up spraining an ankle. That’s why I was reluctant to hop to it recently when my wife, Sue, a world-class bargain hunter, took me out to buy shoes.

“We’re going to the Bass outlet,” she told me.

“That’s my favorite ale!” I exclaimed.

“We’re not going drinking,” Sue said.

“Then you mean we’re going fishing?” I asked.

Sue rolled her eyes. “We’re going shoe shopping,” she said.

If you were to make a list of my least favorite things to do, shoe shopping would rank right up there with spraining an ankle and making a list of my least favorite things to do.

My aversion to footwear goes back to when I was a teenager and worked in a clothing store. I liked almost every aspect of the job, especially putting goofy notes in shirt pockets and joking around with the tailors. But I hated waiting on customers who wanted to buy shoes. It didn’t help that I could seldom find their size. And if I did, I’d forget to take out the paper balls that were stuffed inside the shoes.

I don’t think I ever sold a pair. After much sole-searching, I decided to pursue a different career path.

To me, shoes are things you put on your feet to prevent frostbite in the winter and athlete’s foot in the summer, although if I didn’t wear them, it would be a boon to the gas mask industry.

Most of the time, I wear sneakers. And even they have become annoying to shop for because you have to decide whether you want walking shoes, running shoes, hiking shoes, practically everything except what sneakers are supposed to be: relaxing shoes.

Sue, on the other hand (or, rather, the other foot), loves shoes. She’ll never rival Imelda Marcos, but she has a lot more than I do.

Currently, I have three pairs, including the black dress shoes I bought last year for the wedding of my younger daughter, who would have killed me if I’d shown up wearing sneakers.

Sue’s mission in taking me shoe shopping was to replace the clodhoppers that had served as my black casual pair for the past five or six years. She also wanted to return the nice brown pair she bought for me last year (but which I had never worn) because they were identical to the brown pair I had been wearing since I got the black clodhoppers.

I perused the store’s brown shoes and saw a pair I liked. I looked at the price tag. It said: $140. I had the same reaction I’d have if I took a whiff of my own shoes: I almost fainted.

“They’re on sale,” Sue pointed out.

Indeed, the price had been slashed to $25. Same with the black casuals I liked, which had been priced at $110. I tried on both pairs, initially forgetting, of course, to take out the paper balls. The shoes fit like gloves.

“Maybe I should wear them on my hands,” I said to Sue. She rolled her eyes again and led me to the checkout counter, where she not only returned my brown shoes but produced coupons that helped make this the deal of the century: two pairs of shoes, originally totaling $250, for $1.45.

That’s right: one dollar and 45 cents!

I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. It didn’t.

“Not a bad deal,” Sue, Queen of the Bargain Hunters, said as we walked out.

“Now that,” I replied, “is what I call getting a shopping excursion off on the right foot.”

Copyright 2012 by Jerry Zezima


Heidi-"Heidi in Real Life" said...

That was very clever! Although I, too, hate shoe shopping (I KNOW, and I'm a woman!), I have always loved the word "sneakers." WELL DONE, Jerry!

Dave Astor said...

This is hilarious, Jerry! When it comes to great humor writing, you talk the talk and walk the walk (with your new shoes on).

JustRex said...

Oy.... Maybe you could get a walk on role in a running gag!

foxyroxy said...

Did you get that shopping excursion off on the "right " right foot or the "right " left foot ? Whichever way it was easy to foot the bill.

Jerry Zezima said...

Thank you, Heidi! I don't blame you for hating shoe shopping, even if you are a woman, but I bet you love to go shopping for "sneakers."

Jerry Zezima said...

Thanks, Dave! I can't walk and talk at the same time, but maybe I'll try it with my new shoes.

Jerry Zezima said...

Darev2005, it's tough to keep in step with you!

Jerry Zezima said...

Foxy, my right foot doesn't know what my left foot is doing, but you're right: With a savings of $248.55, it was, indeed, easy to foot the bill.