For a man, I have an infeasibly large shoe collection. It built up through the hoarding principle ~ this pair might come in useful one day? With each pair, there is a story. For most of them, their day has come. Their usefulness is limited to the tale they are about to tell. I’ll restrict myself to one narrative adventure each but just imagine if footwear could talk!
Fantastical though it sounds, the first chronicle in the series is absolutely true. What on earth motivated the main character?
I bought these after walking into a crappy sports shoe shop in Churchill Square, Brighton and asking for, “The cheapest trainers in the shop, please.” The staff man attending me replied, “We don’t have the cheapest trainers in the shop.” When I pointed out that this was a technical impossibility in a shop visibly stuffed with shoes, he shook his head disdainfully and said, “I remember you from last year. We do not sell the cheapest trainers. Please leave before I call security.”
I remembered him too and that he didn’t seem to share my sense of humour. He looked down at me as if anyone asking for the cheapest shoes in the shop lacked the necessary aspirations to make it anywhere in life. He may have had a point. Feeling emasculated and desperate not to look up at him as a useful role model, I persisted. I said, “Please don’t call security, I just want to buy a pair of really cheap shoes. Look!” He followed the line of my pointing finger and his eyes settled on the pair of rubbish trainers above.
He frowned and said, “What is your problem? You cannot buy these shoes. They are too cheap to sell. I am telling you, I will not sell them to you. No-one here will sell them to you. Please leave, I will not ask again.”
I love a challenge. Luckily, having practised at The Bar, I have mastered the dark crafts. Definitely, this was an appropriate moment to deploy them. I looked him in the eye and started to work my magic. He shifted about uncomfortably, whilst we discussed the merits of the next cheapest pair of shoes. I tried them on and took them off again. “Nah, I’ll take the cheapest ones.” He lost it and called security.
I seized them and ran for the counter at the back of the shop. The staff woman looked a bit surprised when I said I didn’t want the box because I was in a real hurry. Then she said, “Are you sure you want these? No-one ever buys these shoes…”
The purchase was just completed when the security guard tracked me down. “Excuse me, sir”, he said, “have you bought these shoes before? Right… I’m going to have to ask you to leave and never return.” It was a fair cop. I didn’t.