Thursday, April 2, 2009

"Boots," by Dianne Delany

You go to Sherway Gardens Mall and you walk into The Bay. You know that you’re there to return the boots that are one size too small, but previous impulsive shopping sprees have you concerned that you’ll not only return the boots but purchase more footwear. Much more.

A simple return shopping exercise is becoming a potential disaster. You enter, you see the shoe department. You circle the slipper aisles. Do you dare to pick up a pair and feel the soft, supple suede? Do you run your fingers through the feathers and the beads? Of course you do, but come on, concentrate!

Walk directly to the sales counter. Keep a purpose in your step, in your walk. No! Don’t look at the sandals! They’re not in season yet anyway. Keep your eyes focussed straight ahead. Get in line. Breathe through your mouth so you can’t smell the leather – you know how it entices you. Keep thinking about how those too small boots hurt your toes, think of all the money you’ll save not buying bunion pads and Dr. Scholl’s foot relieving products. Remind yourself you bought the wrong sized boots!

Okay, good, keep a clear head. Exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale. That’s it. Be calm. I see you trying to check out those Aerosoles, those Rockports – oh-my-god – the dreaded sale shoe rack. Look! No, don’t look. Oh you know you saw it – your size 8 – 8½, right there on the left. Oh, now you’ve done it, you looked!

Okay, turn your eyes straight forward once again. Proceed in line to the counter. You don’t need another aerosol can of boot spray. You already have four or five in the cupboard at home.

Slowly, purposefully, open your wallet and retrieve your Hudson’s Bay Card, and yes, find the sales receipt for those smallish yet totally stylish boots – you know the receipt’s there in your overstuffed wallet, because you only bought these little wonders two days ago.

Now, put the credit card and the sales receipt on the counter. Place the bag with the box of boots tidily returned to their spooned, head to tail, tail to head position, softly nestled in tissue paper and microbial defeating, non-toxic plastic bag, and return them.

It’s okay to approach the female salesperson. Yes, you can ask for a return.

”Hello Mrs. Dynamite!” the saleswoman says with a brilliant smile. “Good to see you again. Will this be an exchange?”

Answer quickly, “No, not an exchange. This is a return.” You must state this emphatically. No wavering, hesitation or dilly-dallying is allowed.

“What is the reason for the return?”

“Wrong size.”

“Can I show you our latest stock?”

You know that you want to see it – you crave more boots - but remember that fortune cookie last night at the Mandarin:

“You are headed for financial disaster.”

As sure as salt stains on your Uggs, you know you cannot afford more boots. In fact, in the back of the van, you have more footwear returns destined for Sears, Browns, Capezio, Holt Renfrew and Florsheim. Your fortune cookie should have said:

“No more boots for you, toots.”

And would you have listened? Maybe. You know how superstitious you are. Besides, that little voice inside your head is telling you no more spending on boots, or your husband will give you the boot.

Now walk on back to your parking spot and return the rest of your footwear. Good work!

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