True Confessions: My 3-pairs-of-shoes week

shoe-houseI’m going to tell you a story about shoes.  Well – it sort of has shoes as a main player in the story but truly it’s about finding my way, one foot at a time.  Even in my determination to withdraw from over-consuming I bought 3 pairs of shoes in one week just a few weeks ago, and so am feeling that I need to confess.  Being Jewish, it’s far too long to wait until next Yom Kippur (our standard confession season) so if you don’t mind I’m going to do my confessing here.

One recent  morning  I was chatting with some of the other women in my crack-of-dawn aquafit class as I sat mbt-blue-sneakersputting on my MBT shoes (these are truly miraculous; you roll when you walk and your whole body feels so much better.  Since I’ve been having such problems with arthritis in my metatarsals these are the only shoes I can wear that don’t hurt my feet).  I bought these MBT sneakers a little more than a year ago and quickly went out and bought a pair of MBT sandals mbt-sandalsmbt-sandals1mbt-sandalsfor the summer.   A few months later I bought another pair of MBTs;  this time a pair I could wear in the fall .   Thing is, they didn’t have these shoes in my size; they’re so popular that they always sell out pretty quickly.  So I boughtmbt-suede-shoes1 them 1/2 size too small with encouragement from the salesman that they’d likely stretch.  After all, it was only 1/2 size and I could barely feel my toes hitting the end of the shoe.    I remember when I was a teenager and I bought a pair of fabulous Capezio shoes that looked just like ballet slippers; bought them a full size too small and they stretched and became my favorite pair of shoes for several seasons.  Anyhow – long story short – the MBTs never stretched and I found myself pretty much never wearing them since after an hour or so my feet would be in agony.  

Time passed … until that morning when I found myself in the Y tying my MBT sneakers.  One of the other women asked me if I knew that a shipment of new MBT sandals had arrived; they were at a shop just a few blocks from the Y.  So, once I’d finished my workout, I decided to head up and see if I could snafu a pair before they were all gone.  I arrived at the store at 9 a.m. but they didn’t open until 10.  There was someone inside at the counter so I knocked on the door and when she came I asked if they had the new MBT sandals in my size.  With what my mother would call a “sour puss” she responded that I’d have to wait until 10 for her to check the stock.   I haven’t bought any shoes in months and months, I wasn’t in too much of a hurry, so I waited.

peaceful-penguin1Here’s where my new-found sense of peacefulness set in.  Yes – imagining penguins does work for me as a reminder of what peacefulness means.  Anyhow, ” Come back in an hour” to get the answer to a question she could have answered right then with a quick glance at the computer screen right in front of her would have once put me around the bend.  Instead, I walked to a nearby bookstore, bought a book, bought a coffee … spent the hour relaxing and reading and sipping my Starbucks.  

At 10 I returned to the shoe store to find out that they didn’t have any left in my size.  There was another store in Toronto that had them in a 39 (my size) and a store in Oakville (a town about 40 minutes away; this is where David has his law practice) that had them in a 38.  So … off I went to see if the 39s were going to fit (we’d also held a pair in Oakville just in case and David was on-call to pick them up for me if necessary … helpful fella that he is). 

When I arrived at shoe-store #2 that day I was immediately offered a bottle of water.  What a change from the treatment I’d received earlier in the day.  I commented on what had happened earlier and before I knew it I was having a chat with the regional manager for the entire chain of shoe stores.  By the time I left that shop a number of things had transpired.  

I bought the new white sandals (they are lovely).  I’d agreed to bring back the shoes that were too small and have them replaced with ones that actually fit properly (okay – that’s not quite a purchase but it is a new pair of shoes).  I’d also bought a pair of beautiful green sandals to wear to my great-niece Tari’s Bat Mitzvah in California in a couple of weeks.

Coming home with three pairs of shoes definitely left me squirming.  I can rationalize all I want but clearly this is excessive.  That said, maybe it is just a part of who I am and I need to be a little more gentle with myself about this change.  That said, how will things be any different if I don’t change my consuming habits?  

Another part of the process I guess.  Thanks for listening.

As I packed for my great-niece Tari’s Bat Mitzvah in California, I went through the bins of summer clothes I’ve stored away for the winter; seemed like a good time to give away a dozen or so pairs of sandals that I’ll never wear again.  Anybody wear a size 8.5 and want sandals in many colours/styles

Well – enough frivolity.

Now it’s time to sit down and finish thinking through – seriously – what I’ve learned in the last six months; my first six months in retirement.


13 responses to “True Confessions: My 3-pairs-of-shoes week

  1. Thanks for sharing this confession, Sylvia. I just stumbled upon your blog by searching under “consumerism,” and I’m glad to find you.

    I worry a lot about what I buy and why, and I’m trying to reduce my consumption for social, political, and personal reasons.

    Evaluating and then talking about our consumption habits (and how that ties in with our values) is key if we want to gain awareness and make a change.

    • Sylvia Bereskin

      Welcome to the conversation Sophie (I think that’s your name). If we want there to be change then I’m absolutely convinced that will come about because of the support we give each other in figuring it all out.

  2. Sharon Griffin

    Ah shoes – the one thing that immediately gets my attention. Being a size 11, chances of any store having anything decent in your size are pretty slim. But I loved when they did, and the higher the heel the better. Especially when I was grossly overweight, so shoes were the one thing that was sexy that I could wear with pride.

    Then I hyperextended my foot, and arthritis set in. For four years, I’ve nursed that foot back to health – no impact aquafit – $500 sneakers when you count the orthotics.

    But my 60th birthday is coming up next month – and, when you are a size 11, what do you really want as a birthday gift. A pair of really sexy shoes.

    I was in Florida last week, and my daughter-in-law said to me – it’s time to try on some Manolo Blahniks and some Jimmy Choos – the one thing I’ve always wanted – even if they are grossly overpriced. But she knows the best discount malls – so off we went.

    And soon (though I’m not supposed to know about it) – I will be the proud owner of a fabulous pair of Jimmy Choo’s. A totally impractical gift, that I can wear to dinner parties (but never dance in all night). But you’re only 60 once – and some little things bring you great joy.

  3. Our feet do change as we age, and it’s OK to buy new shoes as long as you get of the old ones you don’t wear. 🙂

    • Sylvia Bereskin

      I am trying to follow that procedure with everything: bring a new pair of shoes home, give one away; bring a new sweater home, give one away. Works best all around don’t you think … supports the economy and recycles.

  4. MBT shoes! I read about these, bought a pair and they turned out to be too small for my feet. So I exchanged them (and they fit great) but I hate them. Very hard on my knees which have too much sideways wiggle. They are sized on the tongue: EUR 40 1/3; US M 7.5;US W 9.5; UK 6.5. I wonder when the world will go to one kind of sizing! If you can use em, I’ll send em your way. They are much too expensive to sit unused in a closet! If you know someone else who could wear them, that’s good too.

    I have switched to Earth shoes with a “negative” heel. They have gradually helped to stretch my Achilles tendon. Not beautiful but I do feel better.

    • Sylvia Bereskin

      It doesn’t surprise me that they aren’t good for everyone and I wish a 40 was the right size for me. Maybe someone will pop up and respond; if they e-mail me Jeannie I’ll be sure to forward that along to you.

  5. Greetings Sylvia,

    Do be a little more gentle with yourself. Give yourself some room to breathe.

    Best regards,

  6. Confession time. Here’s another with a love of shoes but no longer able to wear elegant ones. I had feet that were sized triple A and for many years only the manufacturers of expensive shoes catered for skinny feet. I have by necessity closed my eyes to glamour but do have in the cupboard a pair of Christian Dior with stiletto heels just becuase they are really too beautiful to throw and memories of the way my feet used to look are a mixture of cheer and despair.
    By the way Sylvia my daughter told me many years ago that I have earned the right not to need to justify. I guess over the years extravagance hasn’t become part of my make-up although the occasional indulgence has; these days that tends to be in the area of special travelling.

  7. Now Sylvia – our feet are the “sole” of our bodies and making sure they are as pain-free and comfortable as possible is a top priority after 60!
    I have size 9 AAA feet and rarely find shoes that fit. I own every possible orthotic insert and a small, albeit expensive, collection of Ecco shoes. One pair of sandals, one pair of Mary Janes and one pair of sneakers. I also have some luck with Clarke’s so when I find a shoe that fits, I have been known to buy three pairs – black, navy and bone – at one time! If Jane’s feet aren’t happy, Jane’s not happy 🙂 so I indulge when possible and never feel guilty about it!

  8. Oops! I meant “get rid of” the shoes you no longer wear! About impulse buying, Michele Benza offers a good solution:

  9. How I Lost Thirty Pounds in Thirty Days

    Hi, nice post. I have been pondering this topic,so thanks for writing. I will definitely be coming back to your site.

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