Clarks Shoe Shop

Yesterday, in a move of surprising organisation I’m not normally used to in holiday time, I was able to muster the children together and get them out the door and down to the local shoe shop by 9.10am. Unfortunately, a great many other mothers were even more organised and by the time I arrived I had to take a ticket like I was in a deli and I braced myself for a wait until they called number 17. They were waving their number 9s and 7s under my nose, I swear it. HEARTLESS flaunting there.

But they weren’t all like that. I scouted the shelves with one other mother and we were both picking up the shoes to inspect the price tag, immediately putting down again those out of our desired price range.

Not cheap, is it? I asked.

She turned around and waved at her children. I’ve got four to fit, she said. I’m wondering how I’m going to do it.

Finally – finally! – it was our turn. Riley slipped his foot in the silver measuring contraption.

The assistant said, wow, he’s got a fat foot.

Yes, I said.

She wasn’t finished. Really fat, she continued. And square. Like a brick!

I’ve known this for some time. We’ve needed to buy extra-wide shoes his whole life, thus putting out question shopping options such as Target or Payless Shoes. I’m resolved to this and try to be serene about it most of the time. Like a picture of Mary, staring upwards out of loving patience. Yep, that’s me all right.

Well, okay, maybe not. Especially after we’d tried on no less than six pairs of shoes and none of them were right, not even the normally dependable Clarks. By this time I was looking at my watch. We needed to get going. So I quit. Pulled the plug and started gathering up my things – until Keira piped up that she absolutely needed new shoes too. By now my mobile phone was getting a text-a-minute from Adam wondering where we were and could we please hurry up?

And because I was seeing red I texted back words to the effect of Don’t fuck with me, man. I’m on the edge here.

I let Keira tried on several pairs. None of them were right. Naturally. Sometimes the shoe gods are with you, sometimes not. Today, not.

So we left, and I felt a little sorry for the assistant, who by that point was wiping the sweat from her brow. An hour gone with nothing to show for it.

And I’m not sure what I’m going to send them to school in. I’ll have to try a different store, perhaps.

In sum: drat.

Where do you shop for school shoes? Have any tips for me? Can I buy them online (reliably) anywhere?

Image: Mat Gartside.
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Karen Andrews is the creator of this website, one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Her latest book is Crying in the Car: Reflections on Life and Motherhood.