I’ve been having this shoe problem. I buy my usual size, but now they seem to pinch my toes. My mother would say that it’s just my Appalachian roots surfacing—I can’t wait to get my shoes off in the summertime.
I decide to go to the shoe store and have my feet measured for size.
When I walk into the store, there is one clerk—a young man—and no other customers in sight. I tell him what I want and he measures my foot and announces that it is one size bigger than I thought it was.
“Really? You mean my feet are growing, at my age?” Maybe there’s still hope that I can cash in on that growth spurt I missed when I was twelve.
“They don’t really grow, they just kind of flatten out,” he says.
But I can tell his mind isn’t really on my foot problem. He keeps looking out the front of the store into the mall.
I look out there, too. “Um. Are you looking for someone?”
“I’m wondering where that guy ran off to,” he says.
“What guy?” I say, naturally enough.
“There’s another guy working, but he keeps disappearing.” The clerk fetches shoes for me to try on, then continues. “See the assistant manager’s not coming in until three. I want to make sure I’m gone by the time he gets here.”
“Oh,” I say. “Why?”
“Because he’ll come in crabby and then he’ll find something for me to do.”
“I can see why you’re worried,” I say.
“I’m not worried,” he says. “I know how to handle him.”
I choose a shoe, but I’m a little concerned about my heel sliding, so the clerk creates this kind of cats cradle of laces to strap the shoe to my foot. I examine it doubtfully.
“Don’t tell anyone I told you how to do this,” he cautions me. “If anyone asks, just say you came up with it on your own.”
By now I’m wondering if there’s anything in employee orientation about what not to tell a customer.
“One thing I like about working here is, I’m close to the cologne,” he confides.
I look around for cologne, and don’t see any.
“At Macy’s,” he explains. “I go over there and they give me things. Like the other day, they gave me an Axe leather duffel bag.”
“Oh,” I say.
“They give me all kinds of things. And now I have about twenty different kinds of colognes.”
“Must be hard to choose in the mornings,” I say.
He nods. “I have almost as many kinds of colognes as I have shoes.”
“I guess that’s another good thing about working in a shoe store,” I say.
“Oh, they’re not from here,” he says, taking my shoes up to the register. “They’re from Journeys.”
Quote of the Day: It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.—Mark Twain