Sunday, May 12, 2019

Rich Old White Ladies

To celebrate the completion of the colonoscopy that I finally had at 54 (after four years of nagging by my physician and family), I bought some shoes.  And not just any shoes.  In the spirit of mid-life concerns, I went to the comfort shoe store in downtown Los Altos to get some shoes to help with my plantar fasciitis.

The comfort shoe store in downtown Los Altos is full to the brim with rich old white ladies.  If the salespeople work on commission they are making bank.  They also deserve it, because rich old white ladies are incredibly fussy, picky and confused.

The day I was in the store there were three salespeople attempting to serve about eight old biddies, half of whom were headed out for a cruise and needed comfortable fashionable shoes (an oxymoron) and half of whom were with their caretakers and seemed unsure why they were there.

I wasn’t in any hurry so I hung about and observed.  An actual interaction:
Customer comes in with two pairs of shoes in boxes, sits herself in a chair, a saleswoman sallies forth to assist. Let’s call her Sally.

Sally: “How can I help you today?”
Old Lady: “I bought these shoes but I don’t like them.”
Sally (stifling a sigh): “Do you have the receipt?”
Old Lady: “The what?”
Sally (focusing on the middle distance and presumably thinking about where she’d rather be, presumably anywhere other than in this shoe store): “Do you have an account with us?”
Old Lady: “Maybe.”
Sally: “What’s your phone number?”
Old Lady: “My what?”
Sally (after taking a deep breath): “A telephone number?  Like, a number that people use to call you on the telephone?”
Old Lady, thinking hard: “Yes.”

Eventually the number is dredged up, written down, the account is located, and Sally has returned the unwanted shoes.  Now for the next chapter in the drama:

Sally: “Do you want to try on any other shoes?”
Old Lady: “Of course I do.  Why do you think I’m here?  I didn’t like those other shoes.”
Sally: “What style would you like to try?”
Old Lady: “Bring me some shoes that I would like.  I didn’t like those other shoes.”

We will draw a veil over the ensuing thirty minutes.  At least when the Old Lady left, she had purchased three more pairs of shoes.  Whether she will be back next week to repeat the exercise above is an open question.

In fact, all the customers in the store that morning bought at least two pairs of shoes.  Expensive, comfortable shoes.  But only after an average interaction time of forty minutes. 

Oh, except for the one man who came in.  He took off one of his shoes, handed it to a salesperson, and said “I want another pair of these.”  The whole sale took about five minutes.

I am grateful for the comfort shoe store and the ministering angels who enable all us old ladies to keep walking.  I learned more about plantar fasciitis from Sally than I had from Dr. Google or my physician, and I bought two pairs of shoes. 

I just hope they work on commission.

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