I wear a size 7 shoe.
Most kid’s shoe sizes stop at size 6. Many men’s shoe sizes start at size 8. I’m in no man’s land. The idea that I can walk into Dick’s Sporting Goods, look at a Nike Air Max, and tell the sales rep “Hi, I’d like this in size 7” and they say “Oh yes, here it is” – will never happen for me.
How bad is it? I even have a hard time finding shoes on Zappos.
I have no idea how I ended up in Shoe Carnival for the first time, but it’s altered the trajectory of my life. It’s like they gave me a warm hug and whispered into my ear “It’s okay you have a tiny peg foot, we created a discount store that will make you feel like a normal big boy.”
You see, I love a new sneaker. A high quality sneaker pairs well with khakis and at any moment, I can break into sprint. I’m much faster than you think. Seriously, I can beat you in a 75 yard foot race. Don’t test me.
Every year, I travel to the beach to spend time with my in-laws near Wilmington. Since NC somehow forgot to put a highway towards the East, I’m forced to take the traffic light nightmare known as Independence Blvd. Some would be frustrated, but I’ve made this my annual pilgrimage to the Carnival.
I hate shopping more than I hate cats – and I’m highly allergic to cats and find them disturbing. But, on Sunday, I grabbed a small cheeseburger and fresh fries from the McDonald’s on Independence Blvd, just so I could snack as I took my time pursuing the latest shoe fashions on the Carnival racks.
Here is a list of my favorite things in life:
(2) Panda Express
(3) Fresh, perfectly-fitting Nike sneakers.
(4) Marketing gimmicks.
(5) Making out.
Shoe Carnival offers me a combination of 3 and 4. Just imagined if they opened a Panda Express inside the Carnival and I traveled there with my family and made out with my wife in aisle 4… One can only dream.
As I was checking out, I asked the 23 year old lady behind the counter “I get to spin the Wheel of Savings, right?” I immediately kicked myself for sounding like a 6 year old girl who can’t wait an additional 10 seconds. Oh well. She responded, “Of course, let’s do it now.” I walked over. A 7 year old boy came to watch. I used about 19% of my strength on the spin. Tick, tick, tick. Shoot. I ended up with the worst option – $2 off. The sales lady winked and said “I think we can do better than that” and moved the pointer from the $2 off area to the $3 off area. Yay! Honestly, it was hysterical because I realized that (a) the manager was close by, so this is clearly a common occurrence to make customers feel good for the low cost of $1 and (b) the salesperson acted like she had just saved me $10,000 on a new home instead of $1 on shoes. I LOVED it.
What did I get? Glad you asked. 2 pairs of sporty, high quality Nike kicks. Sized 7 and 7.5 (needed a little breathing room). I topped it off with some children’s socks and 3 pairs of black Nike calf socks specially made for size 6-8 shoes (personal favorite) – which is a rare find.