Memory Lane: Shoe Stores

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I had to buy new shoes today, my old ones–only a year old–were suddenly falling apart at the seams.

I don’t know about your part of the country, but around here there are no more shoe stores–no Thom McCann, no Marmax–so I had to go to Wal-Mart. There, you’re on your own. Nowhere to sit down and try them on, I had to sit on the floor. And nobody to measure your feet with those nice sliding scales, so you can get a proper fit. All I could do was to keep plucking shoes off the display and trying them on until I found a pair that sort of fit.

Where are the Thom McCanns of yesteryear? What was so wrong about the neighborhood shoe store, that it had to perish? Another small amenity bites the dust.

Maybe I can find a better pair online somewhere–only then, of course, you can’t try them on and walk up and down the aisle before you decide to buy them.


13 comments on “Memory Lane: Shoe Stores

  1. Oh, boy, I so certainly know what you are talking about here. I really do miss those shoe stores and the quality shoes available, not this ridiculous
    junk available now. Womens’ styles are so ridiculous, I would not be caught wearing them anywhere (even if I could stand up on them). I have tried ordering on line, too, and out of two pairs, I was finally able to manage one pair, not comfortably, but sort of tolerable. The other pair
    flops around on my feet, so can’t walk in them at all. I could just scream
    sometimes. After spending your limited income on such as this is really maddening. We have one shoe store in the little town I just moved out of,
    but very limited selection, and almost no help, even though a clerk is standing up front watching traffic go by.

    1. Sounds like PayLess, which just went out of business. But there at least someone would help you if you made a point of asking. No sliding scales, though.

  2. You’re so right, Lee. Shoe stores seem to be another thing relegated to the pages of history. The malls have ’boutiques’ with grotesque shoes, the styles of which couldn’t be imagined in a nightmare! And occasionally there is an old-fashioned strip mall/plaza that contains a Payless Shoe Store. Otherwise, we’re left with stores such as those you mentioned. Online purchases work sometimes. I’ve had both positive and negative experiences with online shoe purchases. Not being able to try them on is definitely a drawback.

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  3. I’ve concluded that I was born at a very auspicious time. Life was genteel and gracious compared to the way it is now. My parents bought shoes from the shoe department at Wards and the fellow that had worked there for a long time was good with children, so they trusted him. The last time I remember being in a bespoke shoe store was at least 30 years ago.

    I’m fortunate, in that there are a pair of Rockports which I can buy reliable online and they always seem to fit. But it’s not the same as having your feet measured by someone that had a lot of experience in such matters.

    Our world is much different than it used to be and, while some changes are for the good, it has become a very impersonal place.

    1. Because computers are truly perverse. I’m not being funny here, or attempting satire. Computers have had a perverse effect upon on civilization. They frequently give us just the opposite of what they promise.

  4. I knew when the gas stations became self-serve it was the end of the world as we had known it. Who would have believed they would expect ladies to fill their own tanks and get the smell of gas on their hands? You want new shoes? Find a box your size and style and try them on yourself. I read where Walmart is to have a new super center with no cashiers.

    1. Here in NJ we don’t have self-service gas, which puts me at a disadvantage if I need to buy gas in another state–what a mess I made of it in Maryland! And a certain woman laughed herself silly over it, too.

  5. I am blessed !! Sioux City, Iowa has a Rudolph’s shoe store with quality name brands and clerks who size you and go to the back room to bring your size out. Full Service and good, quality shoes. God is good !

    1. That’s nice country, up there. Farm country tends to root people to a greater degree than city life. Sioux City is right in the heart of the heartland; a beautiful place.

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