I know exactly what I need. I know the color, size, style. I can almost envision them in my mind. But I don't think they really exist! I'm talking about the perfect boys' tennis shoe.
Not long ago I went to JC Penny's to use up some gift certificates, and I was in the market for a new pair of shoes for Caleb. I cruised through the kids' isles in search of the perfect shoe. But lo, it is not on the displays, so I ask someone for help. A young male sales associate seems eager to assist, "Can I help you with something, Ma'am?" I started rattling off my requirements. "Size 10, dark colors... navy, black or even gray will do, only velcro closures, no lights of any kind, no comic book characters and it must 'look cool' to my 3 year old." He nodded, looking confident that he could find something to meet my needs, and disappeared to that mysterious back room for several minutes.
Meanwhile, Caleb proceeded to open every shoe box he could reach in search of his idea of the perfect shoe, including the wrong size. Josh was trying to entertain Brooks, but ended up tipping the stroller part way over before hitting his head on a chair. I was sweating through my shirt.
Our sales associate, let's call him Jeff, came back bearing a mountain of shoe boxes. He opened the first box... a white pair of Addidas. I immediately turned it down because of the color, or lack there of, but he insisted that we try it on just to check the fit. I knew it was too narrow, but I tried not to insult the shoe expert and humored him. We continued to try on several dubious choices with no luck. Eventually Jeff was joined by another associate, let's call him Jim. Jeff proceeded to inform Jim of my requirements, although he forgot to mention velcro closures and no lights. For every shoe they brought out, I would take one look and reject it politely. Jeff and Jim started to look as ragged as I was. After about the 18th pair, they asked how committed I was to the velcro. "Do I look like I have time to tie shoes?" I tried to force a little smile. They nodded and closed up the box and headed to the back room.
Unfortunately for Jeff and Jim, I didn't find the perfect pair of shoes at JC Penny's. But fortunately for me (and Josh, Caleb and Brooks), we did find a nice little pair of Sketcher's at Kohl's. But I'm still trying to block out the hour and a half of my life that I'll never get back inside that JC Penny's shoe department!
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