weird shopping experience of the week.

by sam on 10/14/2007

Yesterday, I was wandering around down near Union Square, and I decided to pop in to Shoemania to see if I could get myself a new pair of crocs.  I bought a pair last year, and loved them, but pretty much wore them out.

Plus, since that purchase, the amount of colors and styles that have been made available has increased, and what I really wanted were the more "industrial" type that had an adjustable back strap.  Unfortunately, even though the shoes are essentially unisex chunks of rubber you strap to your feet, this particular style has been marketed towards men (while the pink strappy ones are over in the women’s section, go figure!).  It’s not that I have a problem shopping for or buying "men’s" shoes, it’s that, most of the time, the sizes available in this style have been way too big for my feet.

So, I get to shoemania, and discover that they’ve actually got racks of the things, some of them even approaching my size! (between 8-9).  So I hurriedly grab a pair and start trying them on, finding them both comfortable and generally the right size.  At which point, a complete stranger taps me on the shoulder (which gets my hackles up right away, because, call me crazy, I don’t like complete strangers touching me).  And when I turn around, she starts, very animatedly, lecturing me about how "those are men’s shoes" with a disgusted look on her face.

Huh?

So I, being my ever so polite (read: bitchy) self, after being touched, interrupted and lectured at by a complete stranger about how I’m essentially not conforming to her gender stereotypes, first ask if she works at the store.  Answer?  no.  At which point I kind of ripped into her about:

(a) the fact that she doesn’t know what the fuck she’s talking about, as the shoes are UNISEX, and print both men’s and women’s sizes on the bottom (regardless of the fact that they’re fugly clogs worn for casual comfort, and not to, say, a fancy ball)

(b) maybe she should keep her fucking unsolicited (and wrong) opinions to herself, and

(c) even if was buying "men’s" shoes (I guess, wingtips? other than high heels, there actually aren’t too many really "gender specific" shoes), why would it be any of her goddamn business?

She ran away at that point.

Yeah.  I think the fact that she felt so strongly about this that she actually had the gall to touch me, to interrupt my shoe buying reverie, to lecture me, was what set me off. 

Anyway, I mentioned this to the checkout counter person as I was paying, and she couldn’t stop laughing – shockingly, even if I wanted to buy "men’s" shoes, they would have no problem selling them to me!  imagine that!  because they’re in the business of selling shoes (and frankly, being on the border of Greenwich Village and Chelsea, I’m pretty sure my buying a pair of crocs and a new pair of chuck taylors (also unisex!) was the least unusual sale of the week). 

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