My other ramblings

Shoe Shopping Shenanigans

Today was the day I had to stop burying my head in the sand and accept that my ‘baby’ is starting school in two weeks. This moment of realisation led to me and MrCraft taking a nice family trip to our local shopping outlet. We decided to go fairly early to avoid the queues. Unfortunately so had everyone else. Outside of the shoe shop were some carefully arranged barriers to create a very British theme park style queuing system. This was not a queue to actually buy the shoes, it was merely for the measuring of the thousand (OK maybe just 50) little feet which were crammed into the line along with a menagerie of pushchairs and parents (or other willing shoe buying volunteers). MrCraft’s face was a picture when he saw the line, so I decided to cheer him up by telling him we will be doing this for the next 16 years! The mood in the queue was quite jolly, considering the sheer number of people trying to achieve the same goal in a very small space. Some brave souls had attempted to get all of their children  (including todders) measured and get the shoe shopping ‘experience’ out of the way. The toddlers, however, had organised a mass rebellion and many refused to cooperate, with ear splitting protests being made if the foot measuring device came within a metre of them. I was not feeling brave enough for that! Luckily (if you see it that way), Jess had also managed to out wee her nappy thanks to guzzling all of her drink that was meant to last the day during the car journey. I gave MrCraft the exciting choice of whether to do the full outfit and nappy changing or wait with William in the queue. Sensibly, he chose to take her and leave me and William to fend for ourselves. Eventually we shuffled our way to the front of the queue and his feet were measured without any fuss (thank goodness, though he did ask if she was using a taster to measure with!)

The next part of the shoe shopping challenge was like a scene from Crystal Maze. We had gained entry to the shop itself, clutching our little green card with his shoe size written on it, and had to find the right shoes, in the right size and as quickly as possible so we could get a fitting ticket, get them checked and escape the madness. We practically ran to the boys shoe section and scanned for shoes. I grabbed a pair in the size we needed, plus the size above ‘just in case’ and dashed to the fitting area. William, who had been remarkably patient until then, announced that he ‘didn’t want school shoes anyway’. I’m not sure what he expected me to say, or what he thought he was going to wear for school, but we were saved by a very calm shop assistant who called out our ticket number at that moment. (Anyone remember the deli counter tickets in supermarkets? It was just like that!) For the first  (and probably last) time ever, the shoes that we chose actually fitted. I may have accidentally sighed with relief as they were the only shoes with rubber toes (I’ve seen what little boys in reception class do to their shoes and it isn’t pretty, and life is too short for polishing out scuff marks!) Part two of the footwear triathlon was over.

We were into the final stage, payment. Theoretically it should have been easy, but the poor harassed staff were let down by technology and the till froze. The atmosphere in the queue began to get a little tense, one of the toddlers had decided to up their game with meltdown mode (I felt very sorry for that mum, been there and done that so many times!) and a few tuts could be heard. The tutting did not make the card machine work but one of the staff members worked their magic and the queue was moving again. We paid (a lot less than if we hadn’t gone to the outlet!) and literally headed for the light at the end of the tunnel as we went back out into the street from the cool and slightly dark shop. We had survived, and although I felt like we’d run a series of gauntlets each with their own potential for a grumpy 4 year old strop, there was no celebration. It was a little disappointing. It felt as though there should be a finishing line, with people cheering on the participants who crossed the line, huffing and puffing but with bags filled with the coveted brand new school shoes.

They’d better still fit in two weeks time! As for me, I’m having a drink and wondering how on earth spending the best part of a morning buying shoes that aren’t for me has become an actual day out.

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15 thoughts on “Shoe Shopping Shenanigans

  1. This made me smile, been there and done that, mine was the meltdown child (pre autism spectrum diagnosis) now we go to the full price shop which is always empty and get measured then we can just choose, pay and leave. Much quicker. Rubber toes are a must too. Good luck for first day at school to all of you xx

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    1. I think this was the first time we avoided full on meltdown. The full price shop sounds like a sensible option to avoid ASD meltdowns, it’s a sensory nightmare queuing like that. Hoping his shoes pass the smartness test as although they are black they look a little casual and have dinosaurs on the soles. We will see when he gets there! Thanks for the good wishes. x x

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  2. My sympathies to you both! Thankfully I only had one 16-year-old young man needing men’s size 13 (US) tennis shoes. We have a specific store we always go to and I was lucky enough to get the same brand and style as last year, though different color, and they were even on sale! I’m praying his last growth spurt doesn’t mean larger shoes.

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      1. We went through that stage 3-4 years ago and I thought between shoes and jeans I would go broke. I have been very grateful to have shoes (which he is very hard on) last both size and quality-wise for a whole year. He’s pretty chuffed about it too. I like when they are getting old enough to understand how much it takes to keep everyone in clothes and such. 🙂

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  3. I believe that would be called ‘parenthood’! Still though, mission accomplished, everyone intact, right? Things could always be worse. I knew someone who swapped the school shoes his mother could barely afford for a snake…

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  4. Bless you Mrs Craft, for taking me back a few (several) years to when my girls were little and we had to do this. I quickly learned a brilliant trick. I got the new school uniforms the start of the second week of the Summer Holidays, and the new shoes at the end of that same 2nd week. It took me about four years to work this system out, but I just couldn’t brave the hot, sticky slow moving queues, and there are only so many rounds of ‘I Spy’ which my girls would go for.

    I’m filled with admiration that you got through this with your brain intact and you didn’t loose your cool when the tills broke just as you could see the finishing line. You are, officially, my HERO of the Week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, thanks for that accolade! As you can tell I’m still a rookie at the school mum game. We had to wait for the first post holiday pay slip to replenish funds before embarking on school shopping. We will be planning better next year! 😁 x

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