Sunday, 15 July 2012

People are strange... shoe hell

I was in London on Friday and I'd been walking round for hours. My feet were burning thanks to all the walking and my sandals - which are usually quite comfortable, but not, I now know, for that many hours - were cutting into my toes. It was all I could do not to cry. I need a pair of new shoes and knowing that the Marks & Spencer sale had just started, I figured I'd find some there.

I hobbled to M&S at Marble Arch and spent a painful half hour checking out the sale stock, hope growing fainter that I'd find what I was after - navy slingbacks with a wedge and no cut-out toe, in their comfy sole range, or failing that just some comfortable shoes or sandals that weren't totally flat. Eventually I found a pair of navy suede sandals but the front totally covers the foot, so there's no bits to dig in and pinch. The heel is a heel rather than a wedge and it's a little higher than I wanted, but they were comfortable and I was in soooo much pain.

I paid for them and instead of putting them on in full view of everybody on the shop floor and thinking about the poor shoppers who would have to put up with my smelly feet if I did, I went to the loos. They were a state, the cubicle was swimming in water (?) so I couldn't change into them there. I put them on in the main open area of the loos, next to the sinks, and the looks I go from people queueing! You'd think I'd stolen them. The fact they came out of an M&S carrier bag didn't carry any weight. I was a little embarrassed so on leaving said to a random woman in the queue 'That's better'. I couldn't believe it when she glared at me.

Now maybe I'm being a little paranoid but I swear she thought I was a shoplifter. What happened to solidarity, or at least, good humour? We all know shoes can be a total pain in the feet, we've all suffered from them, so why the attitude? I fully expected to be stopped by security guards when I left the shop, but luckily they were less judgemental than the woman in the queue and I left without having to explain what I'd done.

I don't think I've had a reaction like that before. People are usually cheery and friendly - yes, even in London despite what the city's reputation would have you believe. That made me wonder, are people becoming ruder? Could it be because of too much stress, the financial situation or sales fever? I know I've spent too long thinking about this and I need to let it go, but I was shocked at the reactions. Has the same thing happened to you? I'd love to know.

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