Yesterday, I decided to go to an established Asics shoe store in inner Melbourne, to buy another pair of Asics, as the new Mizuno’s were giving me a bit of trouble.
If you have never been to this particular sports store, I can highly recommend it. Not only can you buy a cheaper pair of runners, you can also be ridiculed and psychologically tortured, which in today’s world of political correctness and anti-bullying, is hard to find.
Normally, one would ring with an enquiry, but if you ask how much the shoes are, they will yell out..”No prices over the phone!!” So, after being told that, what I do now, is carefully ask in this order:
Me: “Do you have the new Kayano 26 in stock?
SS [Sports store person]: Yes
Me: “Do you have US size 11 in men’s?”
SS : Yes
Me: “If I came in with 240 in cash, would I get change?”
Me: If I came in with 220, would I get change?”
Me: If I came in with 200 would I get change?
I know I am getting warm, so this is good enough for me, but if you get a no, you don’t want to push it any further, or there will be no soup for you.
I get out of my truck in my tradie outfit and change into my old kayanos and running socks on the footpath. I only have to walk 20 steps and I am in the old-fashioned shop, wondering where the eccentric owner is hiding. But, a new girl at the desk is on the phone, she hangs up and comes over straight away.
“Hi, what do you want?” She says. But before I can answer, she points down to my old kayanos….
“What’s the big idea of not doing up your shoelaces?”
I was just about to tell her that I had only just popped them on and walked 20 steps…. but no
“Don’t you know that shoelaces are designed to pull your heel back into the heel box and keep your toes away from the front of the shoe?”
” I had a rough idea” I meekly replied ” I also thought that they were there to help keep your shoe on your foot too, but I had only just changed into them and only walked…..” She cuts me off
“So, what do you want to buy now? More Kayanos?”
She made me do my laces up, and told me to bang the heel back into the shoe, stand upright, looking forward, being quiet….
“Your toe has worn a hole through the top of the shoe”
“Yes, for me, that normally means a I need a new pair” I said
“That also means that your toes point up, but a lot of people’s do, so don’t worry about it too much. Do you run in these?” She asked
“Oh yes, I do a bit of running” not wanting to open myself up for more ridicule.
I ask to try on the GT’s, then the new Kayano 26’s. If you look on the bottom of the cling wrapped display shoe, it reads “Living room” because that’s where the stock is….in the living room, as there is a bit of a house on the back of the old shop. The Kayanos have “Top of stairs” so you can work out where to find those. Then the owner comes out of his hiding hole.
“After some runners?” He asks.
I did want to say “No, I was actually feeling cool, calm and collected and exceptionally centred, so I thought I’d come in here to be shot down in flames”
But I just said “Yes” …. deciding to keep it simple.
I asked him what the drop difference was between the Kayanos and the GT’s. He gave me a demonstration of how a clown runs when shoes are too low in the heel and they do their Achilles, and then tells me that Kayanos have a high heel, so I’d be okay. He then told me how he goes for a walk in them in the dark and they are good.
I decided that was as good a deal clincher as anything, so I said, “I’ll take the Kayanos.”
“Beautiful colour” he said, “That’ll colour up your day.”
I pull out my credit card, remembering that years ago, it was only cash here…” Can I use this here?” I stupidly ask
“No….cash only, there’s a post office down the road, a Commonwealth Bank, you can drive or walk down, parking is easy this time of day and you’ll be back here in no time, beautiful colour though, these will really colour up your day.”
Yes, it was like Monty Python’s dead parrot sketch and I I felt like he was reading this well-rehearsed script off the wall.
“Do you do a bit of running?” he asks
“Just a little bit, I’m hoping to run the Queenstown Marathon in November. Oh look, I have two hundred cash in my pocket” I reply quietly
“Have you been training? yes it’s two hundred cash”
“Oh yes, we ran the 50k at Surf coast and have done a 28, 35 and 37ker so far. Can I have a receipt please?”
“Oh, you are so fit, I only walk at night, that’s amazing and who do I make the receipt too?”
I take my receipt and shoes after another five minutes of explaining Run with Alan. I exit the shop, walk the twenty steps back to my car and just sit in my car for five minutes, just thinking about what had happened. It hasn’t changed in all the years I’ve been going here. If your life is a little bland and everything is just a little too beige, I can highly recommend going to this sports store, for a pair of Asics. That’s all they stock, just Asics.
Some people say that we are losing the skill and the joy of interaction, going into a shop. Most of us have all bought a dud, or the wrong size or colour, online. So, give it a go, try going into a shop, and if you are really game, try finding a store like this one. Take cash with you, don’t ask silly questions, make sure your shoelaces are tied up, and you should have an interesting interaction with the staff. You will need to be of strong mind and extremely fond of being made a fool of. But you will be rewarded with great shoes and down to earth, knowledge and service.
I loved it, and I feel like the shoes have coloured my day as much as the physical, shopping experience.