No, I haven't freaked out, and yes, its still me writing. Over the past few weeks I have taken my first dip into the world of women's shoes. No, I'm not wearing them. I was buying them. I am not completely unaware when it comes to women's shoes. I certainly enjoy seeing them on women. But, aside from knowing that the thing on the bottom was a heel, I was pretty ignorant. Sure, I know from hearing the screams of women in the office that Nordstroms is having a shoe sale, but I never really gave it a thought.
Well, in the search of a perfect birthday present, I decided I would buy some shoes. A few weeks ago the woman I was buying them for and I had been in a store and she practically died when she saw a pair of what I now know are YSL Tributes. YSL Tribute T-Straps to be exact. Seeing the reaction on her face, I decided that shoes would be a really great birthday gift. I think that every guy is always trying to find a gift that they know their significant other will really love. We don't usually succeed, and so the opportunity was too good to pass up.
So, I began my search. Unfortunately for me, I chose a recession to do it in. You might be asking yourself why that really matters. Well, it means that stores were trying to figure out a way to get people to actually spend money. As I discovered last weekend, the way they do this is by having sales. Specifically, sales on shoes. Women's shoes.
Ummm. I know from television and stereotypes about women that they will fight over a pair of shoes. I also thought that is all it really was. Stereotypes. I was wrong. Last week I discovered that women really will fight, hoard and claw their way to any shoe they like, especially if it is on sale at a huge discount.
I was out of place. There are three stores on Wilshire here in LA that are next door to each other. Barneys , Saks, and Nieman Marcus. At each of those stores I was the only guy there alone. In fact the only men I saw other than me were men who looked as if the idea of death would be a sweet alternative to the madness they were witnessing. It is one thing to be there alone as I was searching for the perfect pair of shoes and quite another to know that Best Buy is not anywhere close.
My first mistake in all of this was believing that because I had been in a store before that I could somehow translate that to the art of shoe shopping. Not so. I had selected several online. Not alone. She had helped and I had about 30 shoes I could choose from, but the purple YSL Tributes were the Mother Load. The gold that I needed to find.
Saks was my first stop. Umm. Bad idea. It was chaos. There were literally hundreds of women who had piles of shoes in their hands. Sales people were cowering in the corner whimpering for their Mom. What the store had done was leave one pair of each shoe out in front on display. Then, if you had a question about shoe size or availability you waited in line with the shoe. Well, women were not taking one shoe. They each had ten to fifteen pairs of shoes. As a result, there were no shoes on the actual sales floor. Instead they were all in the hands of women who were in a line that stretched fifty deep. The wait was around two hours just to find out if they had that shoe in your size. If they didn't, your wait was for nothing. No one seemed to mind though. Apparently a discount that size on designer shoes was worth any suffering. But, I'm a guy so I moved on.
Niemans was my next stop. Busy. Crowded. Sale was going on, but there was no madness. There was though a pair of Mustard color Tributes and they were the right size. Grabbed them. Had to have them. They were not the purple but was I ever actually going to see the purple in person anyway? Meanwhile I asked the sales person about a pair of Burberry heels that were also on my list and were on the Niemans website. Umm, they only carry them online, not in the store. But no problem sir, there is a Burberry store just down the street. Great. I bought the mustard shoes.
So, two blocks down and I'm at Burberry. Almost empty. Obviously the store doesn't need any money because they are not having a sale. So, despite the absence of customers, no one really seems in a hurry to help a lone guy in the women's shoe department. Maybe they just think I have some strange fetish. I don't know, but they are not helping me. So, finally I ask someone if they could help me. They do, and I show them the shoe on display. Do they have the right size? They will check for me. 20 minutes later they come back and say they don't have anything in that size but will take my name and number and let me know when they come in. Great.
On to Barney's. Very helpful people, but sorry sir, all sold out of all the Tributes. Maybe they would get some in next week. We do have some great bags on sale though. Really? Well this whole shoe thing could really backfire, so maybe a nice bag would be good. OK, what the hell. Now I have one bag and one pair of Tributes, but in the wrong color. Back to Niemans.
Now why am I going back there? Well, if I can't find the Burberry shoes maybe I can find something close. My friendly sales person there says how about this pair of heels. Marked down from $900. Yeah. Those are nice. Black. hot. OK, I will get them. Now two pairs of shoes and one bag, but still neither of the two shoes at the top of my list.
Brainstorm. I'm looking for YSL shoes but have not done the obvious. I call YSL and ask if they have any Tributes. Of course they do. I didn't realize until later that YSL calls almost every damn shoe they make a Tribute. So, I trek the four blocks over to YSL and ask for the person who helped me on the phone. While I'm waiting, I see them. The purple shoes. The quest is over. I can hear the angels in my head singing.
One problem. They don't have the right size. The only size they have is almost two sizes bigger than the ones I need. This is going to require a text. "I found your shoes. Can you wear them two sizes too big?" The response. "Hell yes. I will make them fit."
Great. I am so happy. Thrilled beyond belief. After waiting for 20 minutes for them to put one pair of shoes in a bag the size of a small home, I am headed back to Niemans and my car.
Wow. I get home and I can't wait to show her the shoes. In a text I told her that I had not realized that the purple Tributes were a different style than the mustard Tributes, and that I thought all of the t-straps were the same. "Umm, the t strap Tributes are all the same style, hence the name," she said. "No, they aren't," I said. Uh oh. I mean, how am I supposed to know that they make more than one Tribute style in that purple color? I take a photo of the shoes next to each other and send it to her.
Later I heard she was laughing and crying and didn't know what to say. I got the wrong purple shoes. I got Tributes, but not t-strap Tributes. "The vamp is completely different." The vamp? What the hell is a vamp? Apparently the vamp is something down at the bottom that goes over the tops of the feet. I had got it wrong. 8 hours of shopping for nothing. I didn't get either of the two things I went to get specifically for her. Sure, I got three pairs of shoes she would love and a bag, but not the ones that would get the look. That squeal. I was so frustrated with myself. What could I do?
I will tell you what I did. I went to 20 or 25 stores. Scoured every internet site. Made hundreds of phone calls. Oh, and I also ended up buying another bag at Niemans and some perfume and some chocolate. Had to make up for not getting the purple shoes.
So, yesterday. I got a call from Burberry. Good news; they had the right size. Would I have time to come in? Of course. I could get one pair and things would be great. I text her and say they have your size. Do you still want them? Of course she says yes, and so I tell her I am about to buy them. Success. I get there and look at the box. It's the wrong size.
They apologize and will get back in touch with me when they come in. So, the end result of all this is that I didn't get anything I started out to get. The lesson learned here is that I should have dived into that free for all at Saks and got the shoes. Now I know why they were doing what they were doing.
Thursday, November 27, 2008