’m not sure why I always have oddball retail experiences.
Maybe because I am so conscious of the do’s and don’ts of retail sales now.
I was in a shoe store today looking for comfortable, -- but as stylish as possible --walking shoes, the kind you can wear with a casual dress and that might even hold up to walking around all day at a trade show.
The sales associate steered me to a pair I liked, but when my size wasn’t available in black, the color I wanted, she tried to force me into liking a color called “metal,” which wasn’t going to happen, even though “metal” was her favorite. They will go with everything, she said, while black can only be worn with black. Hmm. That’s not really true. You can’t get much more neutral than black. She just wanted to sell something, whether that was what I wanted or not.
When the metal just wasn’t happening, she eventually ordered them in black since the store had several other locations in town, but she said if I didn’t pay for them today, she wouldn’t be able to hold them for me any later than tomorrow morning, creating an unnecessary sense of urgency as she threatened to put them on display and sell them off as quickly as possible.
“It’s OK,” she said, “if you want to think about it, but if I get them into the store and they aren’t paid for, I can’t hold them for you.” Even though she knew I was a local resident and someone who might return if treated with some measure of accommodation.
I really didn’t think I should have to pay for a pair of shoes in advance.
Finally, after procuring my phone number, she relented and gave me 48 hours to return.
That wasn’t really the worst of it though.
First of all, before she was close to closing the sale, she apologized repeatedly for the price, saying, “You have expensive taste!” I swear, I didn’t look homeless today, I didn’t gasp when she told me the price, and the shoes weren’t even that expensive, as shoes go.
On the plus side, she said, they would last forever and they are so comfortable everyone who tries them on wants a pair.
On the minus side, she added with great enthusiasm that both her aunt and her grandmother wear them all the time, instead of tennis shoes.
Maybe she has the most stylish, sophisticated aunt and grandmother in the history of older relatives, but that statement almost caused me to change my mind, conjuring up visions of clunky, thick-soled orthopedic shoes and the old TV show, The Golden Girls.
She should invent a super-cool niece to wear those shoes in shoppers’ imaginations!
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