Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A little disturbing...

I went out to the mall on Saturday to the national chain where we usually buy our children's shoes, because I wanted to buy the next size up from what they are wearing and put them away for future use. The prices on some of the shoes were very reasonable, but after a call home I decided that I had better have the wearers of the shoes pick them out, because there were apparently too many varieties/features on them for me to pick them out and be reasonably sure of no complaints on my return home. I saw that the sale is to continue until the beginning of August, so I reasoned that when we return for something else before then, the children will have their choice in footwear. So far, so good.
I was about to leave when I further reasoned that my youngest wouldn't care and would be delighted with anything that I would pick out, so as long as I was I went and asked for the appropriate size on one style of shoe. The salesgirl returned and said the best she could do was one size smaller. I asked for another style. Still not available in the right size. I asked for a third style. They had it only in a different size. I asked when they got their shoes in, and she indicated weekly. I thanked her and left.
Now, to be fair, there was the style of shoe that my child is currently wearing, but I didn't ask about that one, so they may have had the size I was seeking available, just in a style that I didn't particularly want. But what it comes down to is this, which I know has been applied an infinite number of times to other situations: things aren't always what they appear to be. They have the shoes, displayed, apparently on sale, but what good does that do if they don't have the size you are looking for? It made me wonder if they were ordering fewer items into stock because of the economy, or if they were closing out choices to help with the bottom line, and when the last sizes available were gone, that style would be gone from the display. You may think that everything is readily available, but that may change, even when it looks like everything is going smoothly, and you can still go get whatever you need tomorrow, next week, next year, you fill in the blank. Looks can be deceiving, so everyone needs to be as careful as they can to make sure that they have what they need in storage, with food and other necessities as well.
I still have time to let my children pick their shoes ahead, whether at that store, or somewhere else, but I want to get it done soon. My children are still growing, and shoes are a necessity that I am not able to make sufficiently on my own. With the prices of fuel and food going up, it's not that big of a leap to imagine that other necessities will go up significantly as well, or may not be available for whatever reason, whether it be businesses failing, or the stores in the area carrying fewer items in order to stay afloat in a struggling economy-unavailable=unavailable=unavailable, no matter which way you slice it.
In an emergency situation, I would have of course been grateful for any style of the right size available, and checked every style out and bought what was available. My reasoning in trying to find something else is this--little things can make a big difference in a hard situation. If I can find something that my children actually like to store away for the future, perhaps it will bring a smile to their face when we pull it out for them to use. Prices may go up, and availability may change, but you'll be ahead of the game if you have what you need put away already.
I may be totally off on this--maybe I hit the store on the wrong day, and maybe all of the circumstances put together --timing, everyone needing the same size shoe on the same weekend, it was the weekend after the 4th, etc.--ended up with me trying to put two and two together and ending up with five. Thing is, there were hardly any people in the mall, (also a little disturbing) which can't be good for the economy, and at the time I was asking, I think I had the shoe department all to myself, so it didn't appear that I was in the midst of a run on shoes. Just something that's not food for thought.


The Scavenger said...

I ran into that a few days ago at our local farm supply store. They had great boots on sale and I went to get a pair that had been marked down 70%. The problem was that all the boots they had (about 25 pair ) were all size 12. Everyone of them. Not too much help for a guy that wears a size 9.

Marie said...

You bring up a good point--if it was a really, really good sale, (like 70% off) maybe I am bothered about it unnecessarily--maybe everyone just heard about it before me and got there first. I didn't get the impression that the prices were that out of the ordinary, and to have 3 for 3 styles out of stock in that size just hit me as odd. If it was a great sale, it gives me another way to look at it...thanks for adding another perspective!

Ron said...

Very interesting post... I find the very same thing disturbing. I, too, felt that way about a much bigger picture. In spite of all of the stores near us where we used to live, what we really needed was not all that much... and there were numerous times when we just could not find it. What good are 100 stores if no one has what you need?

Big stores, malls, groceries are all overrated, and give us a false sense of security I'm afraid.

Fortunately, times are not too bad, so preparing for whatever is fairly painless!


Marie said...

You are right--it's not too bad right now and I'm glad that I still have options and that at least I am thinking about it right now. If the economy gets worse, the options may dwindle--so I either need to get ready now or increase my number of skills. I doubt that I would take up shoe-making though... :)