When you want to buy a pair of shoes you might well go to a shoe store. I have done that; but probably only a few times since they stopped having the X-Ray machines available to look at your feet and give you uncalled for levels of radiation. No, I tend to go to department stores and use their shoe departments. That was my plan yesterday.
I needed to buy a new pair of shoes for walking, so I went to the mall to find a bargain. I found a bargain, but that wasn’t all. I found something to write about. Hence, this post.
I parked my car and entered Kohl’s, one of the anchor stores. They usually have a pretty good selection of shoes, so I started there. There wasn’t much to choose from. I found one shoe on display that I thought that I could be happy with, and since no sales staff were working in that department (these stores seldom have staff working in them) I made a mental note of the style number and started looking through the boxes for a matching number in my size. There was only one, so I pulled it from the bottom of the stack (my size is always on the bottom) and peeked inside to make sure it was the correct style. It was correct, but there was only one shoe in the box. “Hmm,” thought I, “perhaps the shoe on display came from this box.” A quick check made me believe that my solution was incorrect, because both the display shoe and the shoe in the box were designed for a right foot. That made me wonder if a peg-legged pirate had bought a left shoe, or if someone is out walking around in two right shoes. Insert your own joke about dancing.
I wanted to check the next aisle to see if there was another style shoe that I might like; but the aisle was blocked by a woman who was standing, silently staring at the boxes of shoes while her young son raised holy hell, having a tantrum over something. I saw that and quickly retreated.
I decided to walk over to Sears, another anchor store, since I had good luck buying shoes there in the past. I was lucky because there were no screaming children. I was also lucky because I quickly found a pair of shoes that appealed to me. Of course they were in a box on the bottom of the stack, but they were my size.
Now Sears has cut down on the number of cash register stations that they staff on a full-time basis, so to check out I had to take the shoe box to the ladies’ clothing department. When I got there I found one cashier on duty and two women in line in front of me, and another woman standing resolutely at a cash register where no one was working.
The woman who was checking out was using a number of gift cards to pay for her transaction, and the cashier, who appeared to be new, was having difficulty with the cards. It didn’t help that the customer was trying to tell her how to handle the transaction. Meanwhile, the woman at the empty cash register stood, looking straight ahead.
I had time to observe the woman standing in line ahead of me. She was wearing a black jacket, black trousers, and a white blouse. All of the visible items of clothing had price tags on them. She was carrying another set of clothes that looked identical to what she was wearing. Meanwhile, the woman dealing with the cashier finally finished her transaction and walked away with two large bags of clothing. Also meanwhile, the woman at the empty cash register stood, looking straight ahead.
As the woman ahead of me walked up to clerk, she leaned in and whispered so that everyone could hear, “I want to wear these clothes out of the store. I brought along another set that you can ring up.” Sensing that this transaction might also be problematic, and because more people were lining up behind me, the cashier got on the house intercom and asked for assistance. That was good, because soon another cashier arrived and started working with the woman who was at the other register.
The original cashier actually had no trouble ringing up the woman ahead of me, though I know she wanted to check out the large bag that probably held the shopper’s original clothing, to check if they were covered in blood…or maybe chocolate, or to see if there was yet another set of matching clothes. The shopper handed over the requisite amount of cash to pay for the clothes while fumbling with her smart phone. The cashier took the cash and gave the woman her receipt, along with a half-dozen coupons that also printed out. As the shopper accepted the receipt with one hand she showed the cashier the screen of her phone and asked if she could get the 30% discount that was available on the coupon she showed her. The cashier looked at the screen, voided the previous transaction, and tried to scan in the barcode that was on the screen. It didn’t work. She tried entering the information manually. It didn’t work. At that moment a third cashier walked up and the original cashier asked her how to enter the information. The third cashier looked at the phone’s screen and said, “That’s from J.C. Penny, we can’t accept it.” The original cashier started re-ringing the merchandise from the voided transaction.
Meanwhile, the second cashier was ringing up about a dozen pieces of ladies’ apparel as the shopper stood, looking straight ahead. The third cashier beckoned to me so that she could ring up my shoe purchase. She tried to scan the barcode from the shoe box into her register, but the scanner wasn’t working. So she took it and gave it a hearty rap on the counter, which caused the it to start working.
Meanwhile, the second cashier finished the transaction with the woman who had been staring. That shopper took the receipt and stuffed it into a large bag of clothing. As she pulled her hand out of the bag, she brought with it an orange sweater and said, “I changed my mind, I don’t want this.” The cashier told her that she would need the newly printed receipt in order to refund the shopper’s money. The shopper started rummaging in the bag, looking for the receipt she had just buried.
My transaction was finished, thank goodness, and as I turned to go, the original shopper who had been using gift cards, stepped to the end of the line with another article of clothing that she wished to purchase. Is the ladies’ department always like this?