Shoe-buyer stereotypes exist. I learned this for myself paying my way through college as a department store shoe salesman. I dealt with customers wearing moldy socks, trying on shoes for fun with no intention of buying (wasting this commission-based salesman’s time), refusing to buy shoes because of the marked size (“They fit and I like them, but they say ‘size 10’ inside”), deeming shoes “exactly what I want” before leaving to look elsewhere, and so on.
But my favorite encounter was with a customer who asked me to show her our ugliest shoes. It reigns as the oddest sales presentation I ever did:
–“How about these? They’re way ugly.”
–“Here’s a pair of real dogs.”
–“Take a look at these. The MPAA would rate them too disturbing to show to young children.”
Sadly, I failed to produce shoes that were up to her standard of ugliness. Curiosity overcame me as she turned to leave. “I have to ask,” I said. “Why do you want ugly shoes?”
Leveling upon me a gaze that said duh, she replied, “I need them to go with the ugly dress I just bought.”