I recently went to buy a pair of trainers, unaware how complicated that simple task now is.
Having perused the large and colourful array of footwear on the shelves of Sports Direct, I chose a trainer (size 10) and handed it to the “Footwear Technician.”
He then got on his walkie-talkie to ask someone – presumably not in an air traffic control tower – to fetch the corresponding pair.
Having showed off his pointless phonetic alphabet skills, ‘That’s Nike – N for November, I for India, K for KitKat and E for E-gyptology’ (because he was struggling), he then said to me: ‘We have them in a 9 or 11.’
At what point did he think that telling me they have a smaller or bigger size was helpful?
‘Well, that’s okay,’ I said. ‘Maybe I can just chop my toes off or defy thousands of years of evolution of mankind and miraculously grow a bigger foot right now to fit them?’
I chose another trainer and a right sized pair were dutifully brought out for me to try on. Having tried one on, the “Footwear Technician” said: ‘Would you like to try on the other one?’
‘Well, no. I thought I’d try walking around lop-sided for the rest of my life and develop a scoliosis or just hop around this shop on one foot like a madman.’
Finally sporting two trainers, I did that obligatory mini walk around the shop that serves no useful purpose.
I walked to a floor mirror which conveniently shows all the angles of your footwear, in case you weirdly like the front and not the back – or vice versa – and returned to my seat to say: ‘they feel comfortable’ whilst feeling uncertain they’d not be scraping my heel down to the bone on a 30 minute walk around Tesco.
The “Footwear Technician” then took the trainers from me and placed them behind the till because, apparently, with all this trauma, I might have forgotten to pay.