I’m not much of a shopper. Maybe it was my years in retail. Maybe it is due to my complete lack of patience with crowds, lines, dressing room quotas, checkouts, and parking. In any event, I need new shoes, and I’m totally procrastinating on this next purchase endeavor.
My recent trip down memory lane actually reminded me that this has always been a pattern for me. When I was employed at GapKids during the early 90’s, the grunge with a hint of preppy look was considered perfectly acceptable work attire. I confess that in addition to my bootleg Gap jeans (at 50% off discount, of course), flannels, and my irreplaceable army-green barn jacket; I had a fascination with my patent leather, black, semi-high-thick-heeled penny loafers. Yep, I was stylin’. I wore these loafers on most days, sunshine or rain, and after a while they began to look quite a bit weathered. Once patent leather gets really worn in, it starts to have a horribly cracked and aged look to it.
But they were the most comfortable shoes EVER. I could stand in them on double shifts for hours on end. I would love to say it was my adoration with the shoes, and the immense level of support they provided that dissuaded me from purchasing new ones. If I’m honest it was because the last thing I wanted to do, after spending time in a store all day, was go to another one.
Now, at my store we were a one stop shop for all your child donning needs, and that my friends included kids’ shoes. A substantial portion of my day involved fitting the aforementioned whiney, angst filled toddlers into stylish little soles that cost more than I would have spent on a pair for myself. But seriously, they were cute, and the definition of “irresistible” to first time moms.
One afternoon a mother brought in her young daughter, who announced proudly to me that she was 3 years of age. The mom explained that she was in need of new shoes and selected a style for her little one to try on. As I helped the little girl into her new mary-janes, she pointed to my happily patented leathered tootsies and stated with pure sincerity:
“You need new shoes too!”
As I was kneeling down I looked to my feet and gained the toddler perspective of just how very correct she was. The mother was horrified, apologizing to me for her child’s blurt, which only made matters worse that yes; it was the brutal honest truth. I shrugged it off with a smile and a laugh and told the little girl that she was right. I think I may have waited it out for a little while longer, but I did eventually retire them.
There was no accusation in the little girl’s statement. I love that about kids, the way they say it like it is; their total lack of filtering. I see it with my daughter all the time:
“Mama, your hair is messy. You need to visit the hair cutting store.”
“Daddy, you’re stinky. You need to take a shower.” (Sorry honey)
I will miss that lost innocence, when she learns that there are polite ways of saying things, and that there are other statements that had best be kept to oneself. For now…speak your mind, my child.