Tuesday, April 20, 2010

That Word: I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

Rare is the moment when devoted partner is critical of my physique/style/beauty and equally rare are the moments I solicit his opinion, so when an unprompted critique comes along, I pay attention. It must really bother him if he's going to talk about it. So it is with, of all things, my choice of summer shoes. As has been related in the past, I have a healthy assortment of spiky shoes and little else. When summer comes along I need shoes that will go to the beach and occasionally to the supermarket and to work. Since I have a mental block against paying money for flats, especially of the flip and flop kind, I have, for the past several years, purchased my summer casual shoes at CVS. For $8. That seems about right. The flip flops are of the more fashionable style - where the thong part is besequined, but these are clearly cheap shoes. And devoted partner, apparently, thinks I can do better.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, and ready to embrace my new suburban surroundings and cultural touchstones, I visited a place I felt certain would provide me with inexpensive, yet stylish, casual summer footwear. It is a little enterprise known as Designer Shoe Warehouse (or DSW). Now, I know what you're thinking: "certainly a warehouse of designer shoes will satisfy both your fashion sense and your parsimony!"

But you'd be wrong.

The term 'designer' has been used here to mean 'someone who has made a shoe.' For example, I would not have been at all surprised to see a piece of tire with some rope on the shelf. And 'warehouse,' a word that calls to mind places like Costco, where things that are normally expensive are not, more aptly described the decor and less aptly described the prices, which were clearly marked as being $5-$15 cheaper than had you gone to the 'designer's' store. For the record, I won't buy a pair of $55 Steve Madden flip flops for any more than, say, the $8 I would spend at CVS for the simple reason that both enterprises have used the selfsame materials. These shoes - ALL OF THEM - contained no leather. They were all made of plastic. Which is fine. Petroleum products have long served us well, but they should be priced accordingly. If I can fill my tank with sweet sweet petroleum product for around 40 bucks, certainly I should be able to find shoes made of petroleum product (made from far fewer than 14 gallons of the stuff) for less than 40 bucks. And $39.95 doesn't count.

I sort of giggled every time I picked up a shoe. Not only were they, nearly all of them, seriously ugly, but picking them up I got the same feeling as when I throw Wonder Bread to ducks: "um, I think if those ducks don't get to the bread soon, it will simply disintegrate!" And again, disintegrating shoes are not necessarily a deal breaker (though I have been immensely impressed with the longevity and durability of my CVS flip flops), it's just that it's hard to swallow after the $15 mark.

So I will be returning to a CVS to select this summer's sequined flip flops while keeping my eyes peeled for sales of actual designer shoes that would fit the summer casual bill. And I will remember that there is a very good reason I don't like shopping at strip malls.

1 comment:

  1. What about sandals (not flipflops)? Don't sandals boast a serious ancestry? Greeks, Romans, etc.? Aren't there decent sandals out there?