Adventures in Shopping

So, here’s the thing.  I love weird socks.  I love them with stripes, polka-dots, kittens with rhinestone bows, paisley, pink argyle, you name it.  I plan entire outfits around which socks I want to wear that day.  But here’s the thing… when you want to wear odd, colorful socks, you really have to go pretty basic on the shoes.  And that’s where this adventure begins.

My favorite shoes are simple, unadorned black loafers.  They work well with jeans or slacks (and even long skirts), and they go with pretty much everything.  But the most important thing: they don’t clash with my socks.  Alas, a month or so ago, my favorite old loafers fell apart (this was not unexpected, since I’ve had them about five or six years).  They are still wearable, but very painful.  And so I’ve been on the lookout for a new pair.  I tend to be cheap when it comes to shoes, because, really… they’re going to be put through hell, and I’d rather save my money for fun, gadgety stuff.  This means my “shoe store” of choice is generally Wal-Mart.

For months, I’ve been checking in occasionally to see what the local Wal-Mart store has available.  And for months, the selection has been visibly dwindling.  I actually counted the other night when we were there… they carry exactly two brands of shoes now, and neither are known for looking nice.  I finally realized that there would be no choice, I’d have to go to a shoe store.

I chose Payless Shoes, because hey, it says “shoes” right there in the name, right?  It’s also right on the way from dropping my friend off at work.  I have about an hour and a half before I have to go to work myself, so I wait for them to open five minutes late, and stride into the store, confident that my search for simple black shoes was nearly at an end.  Except it wasn’t.  I had to actually search for the size 7 section, and when I finally found it, it was about three feet of shelf space, and nearly all of that consisted of 3-inch stilettos.  I decide maybe I’m being too specific, maybe just any black, leather-like slip-on shoes will do.  I check again, but the selection has not miraculously changed.  I finally give up and decide to go to the Burlington Coat Factory across the street.

Now this is where the shopping becomes downright scary.  I get to the shoe section and find row upon row of what polite people call “dancer shoes”, and I promise you they don’t mean ballet.  The heel selection ranges from three inches to about seven, mostly platform, all spiky stiletto, from the ankle-wraps to the metal studs.  After recovering from the assault on my vision, I manage to stumble towards the casual shoes.  I see them!  I see loafers!  Hurrah, I’ve finally found– wait, what’s this?  Every single style is fake crocodile patent leather.  Some have buckles as big as the shoe, others have tassels that nearly touch the ground.  I search both the full-price and the clearance, and this is the best I can find.  I look again, certain that in the hundreds of styles they carry, I must have missed the plain ones.  And then I look again.  And one more time, just to be sure.

And then I give up and decide to buy the pink grafitti-styled low-rise Converse.

But wait, it doesn’t end there.  I pick up the box with my size, open it up… wrong shoe.  I pick up another, and this time, not only is it not the correct style, it’s not even the same brand.  I go through every box, determined that I am not leaving empty-handed after an hour of shopping.  Of course, all I managed to do was kill another twenty minutes for absolutely nothing.  I resign myself to the reality that my fashion sense is vastly different than the rest of the world’s, and I will simply have to learn how to stagger along in four-inch heels.  I turn and begin the trudge to the front doors. 

But on the way out, I see it!  It’s perfect, it’s what I’ve been looking for for months!  I’ve finally, finally found it, my search is over… at last, I have a fuzzy winter scarf in teal!

(Oh, the shoes?  I’m giving up and buying some Hello Kitty Chuck Taylors.)

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