Sunday, February 21, 2010

Me and Kristen were in TK Maxx* today, while she rummaged around for a pair of cheap but wearable shoes. Shoe shopping, generally, is one of my least favorite activies. I don't hate it as much as I hated, say, the process of buying new trousers back when I was a fat bugger, but I do dislike the way shoe shops operate. The whole process can usually goes thusly: First, find a shoe you vaguely like the look of, then spend five minutes trying to get the attention of a clerk. Once this has been achieved you wait five minutes for them to come back with the shoe, at which point you invariably find that the shoe is the wrong size. So you spend a further five minutes waiting for said clerk to return with bigger/smaller size. They then inform you that the shoe is out of stock in your size. Repeat until too bored to think, leave.

It is this process that led me to get my last pair of shoes from marks and spencer (it was a freak event -- I was in there buying some smart clothes and happened to come across some shoes that looked to have been designed for/by someone under the age of seventy).

At TK Maxx you get the simpler approach of just pulling stuff off the shelves, combined with the cheapness of a shop stocked only with things other shops couldn't sell. So Kristen got some cheap new shoes, and I got to marvel at some astoundingly ugly footwear. I took pictures of my favorites

This isn't a particularly unusual boot, until you realize that you're looking at what Doc Martens would have looked like if they were invented in the 19th century. Think of it, victorian skinheads! Twirling their moustaches and moshing to some punk piano rolls.

What you can't see in this picture is just how heavy and inflexible these shoes were. I know they look heavy and inflexible, but they were actually more so. They look like the ideal shoes for people who have a tendency to blow over in strong winds, or take off when they fart.

This shoe is truly the masterpeice of the whole store. I mean, just look at it.What's not to like? It's got inexplicable woodgrain vinyl, a strange photographic print of a forest and a deer, and it's lined with white fake fur! What possible market, what hypothetical consumer group could this shoe have been designed for? Is it for urban ghetto kids who want to express their desire to live in a cabin in the Canadian wilderness? For geezers who secretly want to become gamekeepers in the Scottish highlands? Sadly, this is a mystery we'll never be able to solve, because I don't think anyone will ever buy them.

EDIT: It has just been brought to my attention that the "Deer Shoes" pictured above come in an even uglier hi-top version.


*I have no idea why they changed the name from TJ Maxx to TK Maxx in the UK. I've known two people who've gone by the name TJ, in both cases it was an abbreviation of Tajinder. I can only assume that in focus groups the name TJ Maxx made Londoners think of a Sikh superhero.