Even if the shoe fits

One thing that’s always bugged me about going to buy a new pair of training shoes is the level of customer service you get from the sports outlets. Maybe I’m just going to the wrong stores, but in Britain I’m usually served by monkeys who are paid peanuts and have absolutely no desire to be helpful to the customer.

The other day I went into JJB Sports in the retail park nearby with the intention of buying a new pair of trainers. I want to use the new shoes for general wear and also to play tennis, plus whatever other running around I choose to do. Immediately upon entering the shop I’m confronted by a wall of what can only be described as fashion accessories. The shoes were so flimsy that there was no way I could justify spending upwards of ?50–?60 on a pair that would be coming apart after a few games of tennis (like the Nike’s I have at the moment). So that makes the choice of shoe that much more difficult – I don’t want a flimsy pair, nor do I want a particularly garish pair.

However, even if I could live with flimsy, avoiding garish is near impossible – it’s like they’re trying to fucking outdo each other in some warped vulgarity competition. My current Nike’s are bordering on garish, but I thought they seemed robust enough to cope with some running and tennis. I thought wrong, as they’re coming apart in less than six months.

After browsing the shoe shaped fashion disasters before me in JJB Sports, I finally narrowed my choice down to a white and blue pair of Nike Air Pegasus. They weren’t the most sturdy pair of shoes on offer, but they had a nice colour scheme and were on sale at ?49.99. I fetched a nearby sales “assistant” and asked if I could try a pair of size nines on.

Over a squealing and squelching walkie talkie he mumbled a vague description of the “blue and silver Nike’s” to the equally disinterested individual on the receiving end. In my mind alarm bells were ringing straight away, as not once did he mention the words Air or Pegasus, descriptive terms that I thought would help identify these shoes from all the others, being as they were the only Nike Air Pegasus shoes on the shelf.

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