Maya Seligman
Swarthmore College
English 95: Fictions of Consumption
Prof. Lisa Cohen
April 02, 1997

Shopping Journal #9

I've been using the same pair of jogging shoes since middle school -- a pair of '80s Nikes. They've treated my feet well, but last week I finally realized that it might be time for a new pair (since I started running again regularly this semester). On Saturday a friend and I jogged to the local Sneaker Stadium across the street from Borders. The store was filled with shoppers that afternoon, as well as many young sales clerks. All in all, it was a frusterating experience. My expectations did not match what I was offered in terms of the whole shopping experience; for I wanted/needed the honest advice of an expert of running shoes, yet the people working there were not trained to this degree. I got a number of conflicting recommendations from the various employees ("Nike is best" vs. "Nike is the same quality of the others, but it just costs more," for example). The shoe designs seemed to have so much flashy technology: colorful overlapping layers of leather and plastic, with windows on the soles in order to peek at the gel, air or grid support. What is real and what is hype? I wondered to myself.
I spent more than an hour trying to find the right shoe. In the end I chose a New Balance brand shoe, discounted at a considerably low price. After jogging on them a couple times in the last few days, I realized that they didn't quite work on my feet since my ankles and arches had sharp pains. Thus I took them back to Sneaker Stadium today, having to go through the same selection process (in hopes of finding a decent substitute for the returned shoes). This time the store was pretty empty -- less shoppers and salespeople, which made me feel a little more relaxed. Yet the manager I had to deal with was cranky that I was returning the shoes, explaining how he would have to wipe off the soles since I wore them outside. I tried on nine pairs of sneakers. Yet I ended up walking out of the store with my same old '80s Nikes and money from the return. I didn't have enough trust in any of the other shoes -- all were either too expensive or they didn't fit right. Aargh, what a complicated process for a seemingly-simple task: buying a new pair of sneakers. Do I need to hire myself a personal sneaker expert or something?

* * *

Mrs. Dalloway. Virginia Woolf.

consumption | writings | main page

other shopping journals:
[ #1 | #2 | #4 | #5 | #7 | #8 | #10 | #11 | #12 ]