Ladies’ shoes: a crapshoot

It is inevitable that some money gets wasted because you don’t use whatever it is you bought.  Perishable food that goes bad.  Gym memberships.  Downloaded Kanye West albums.  But probably the absolute worst thing for me is shoes.  Because many ladies’ shoes are absolute garbage and you have little way to know until it is too late!

No matter how old and practical I get, I always get screwed with shoes about half the time.  In fact, it’s not even like I really like the other half.  The other half are smelly, or make my feet sweat, or are just kind of meh.  But at least they fit, and do not give me blisters or injure me.

But the really bad half.. well ladies, you know what I am talking about.  You pop on the new shoes, admire yourself in the mirror in a variety of silly poses, and walk out of the house… then within 45 minutes you feel like you have been dropped into that Bear Gryllis show and are wondering how bad a blister would have to be before it gets infected.  You hunt around for bandaids, even bothering your cube neighbors if necessary.  You scold yourself for not leaving a reliable pair of shoes around your desk.  But you wouldn’t be able to put those on anyway!  And so you contemplate whether you could just walk around barefoot for the next 8.5 hours through your large defense engineering complex.  Or fashion fake shoes out of stapled together paper, a la Chapman’s sanitary pad slippers in Orange is the New Black.

That is way too much crazy to endure before the first cup of work coffee.  This happened to me recently, about 5 minutes into a 2-hour presentation I gave to the military.  There was no desk under which to kick the horrible shoes and put up my feet.  Just me on a stage, standing ever so imperceptibly on my tippy-toes.  And at the end, per the site protocol, I had to escort the visitors back through our Deathstar-sized building.  With my shoes on of course.  Also on tippy-toes.

I wanted to throw those shoes directly into a trash compactor just from the trauma. Or a vat of Dip from Who Framed Roger Rabbit.  I was so sure about these in the store.  And I did not wear them immediately, so I do not remember what I did with the receipt.  Oh, and I wore them outdoors so the DSW people probably would not like that either.

You really have to carefully follow every step of the Shoe Algorithm in order not to get cheated in the shoe game.

  1. Buy the shoes and save the receipt and box
  2. Walk around in the shoes for a really really long time in the house
  3. If you still want the shoes, wear them AT work (not TO work, on the street); pack the new shoes in your bag so as not to get street scuffs
  4. Keep the shoes (yay – discard receipt and box) or return them (boo – fall into a sartorial fit of despair, consider buying more expensive shoes to solve the problem)
  5. Do not buy more expensive shoes – they are junk too

I basically broke every rule here, so I am not surprised it ended with Goodies 0 Junk Shoes 1.  And you really need to be prepared to ultimately make a return, even if by mail, even if it requires turning your house upside down for the receipt or begging and crying to the DSW clerk if you could not find it.  This is about where I lose interest these days.  But I will need to confront or improve the process if I want to improve my shoe budget retention rate.  Because about half the shoes I buy are totally unacceptable.

Let me take a tally to see how shameful it is, from most recent:

  1. Caterpillar work boots, $168.  Too tight despite the dimensions noted online.  Returned.
  2. Wing-tipped heels (to replace other similar $50 heels), $40.  Need to exchange these by mail for larger size.
  3. Crap shoes described above (to expand my look), $30.  Donated.
  4. Fancy boots (to replace other fancy boots after 7 years), $70.  A little painful at first but a win over all.
  5. Patent leather T-strap heels (to expand my look), $30.  Blister city.  Donated.
  6. Little black heels, same make and model as the only other reliable pair of shoes I can recall in 5 years.  $43.  Meh but worth every penny.

My recent metrics would indicate that I am horrible at buying shoes, with about a 50% success rate.  Am I worse than average you think?

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2 thoughts on “Ladies’ shoes: a crapshoot

  1. Interesting — I was just TODAY reading a sign posted at the entrance of a shoe store stating it would no longer accept returns without a receipt and the return had to be made in 30 days.

    I am shoe shopping as well — it’s time to put away the pink summer loafers — I am looking at the local department store ads online and am stopping in tonight to hopefully buy a pair. As most shoes are boring and unattractive, and I am tired of driving from mall to outlet to shoe store, I’m doing my shoe shopping recon online.

    • Yes I have been doing the same. It’s easy enough to keep the receipt… it’s harder to wear a shoe long enough to know if it will have problems, while still being able to return “in an unworn state.” Someone should make a company which rents out popular shoes, and then sells them after 5 rentals at a discount!

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