Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ageless Love

"Excuse me miss.  Do you have any New Balance shoes?" he asked, gently taking my elbow.
"For men or women?" I ask.
"Oh, for women.  You see, my wife has bad feet and needs a new pair of shoes," he answered.
I walk over to the crowded table, pointing to a bright pink stack of slim boxes.  "These are all the New Balance shoes we have for women.  What size is she?"
"I don't know.  She'll be along in a minute.  She's at another store, probably spending all of her money on clothes," he says with a good humored eye roll.
As he walks to another table and tries shoes on for himself, I begin to help other customers.  The store is rapidly filling up with potential customers now, and I have to keep track of everyone.  I always think big sales bring out the worst and best in people.  Living in a primarily Dutch community usually means big sales bring out the worst "money miser" side of people.  The old ladies have a hard time understanding that the phrase "All Sales Are Final!" means exactly that: no returns!  But still, they try to manipulate your words, claiming that you never told them about the no returns policy.

A child begins to scream on the other side of the room.  It's only about the fifth child to have a tantrum today.  This time mom and dad won't let her play with the yellow footballs in the bins.  I almost wish they would so she'd stop crying.  Not getting her way, the little girl stomps her feet all the way out of the store.  As she storms out, a boy and his mother pass them coming in.  I hear the mom say her son needs some basketball shoes.  I point them in the right direction and resume my sentinel post by the counter.  Five minutes pass, and I glance over at the mom and boy.  The boy is pissed because he can't get the shoes he wants.
"They're too expensive.  You're not getting them, especially since the season is halfway over," said the mom.
"Why don't you try these ones instead," she says hopefully.  The boy puts them on, all the while with a disgusted look on his face.
"How do they feel?"
"I dunno," replies the snotty son.  He just sits there, not moving or giving any feedback.
"Try these ones instead," says mom as she pulls out another pair.  "How do those ones feel?".
"I dunno.  The same, I guess" shrugs the boy.

Seriously?  Is this kid actually throwing a fourteen-year-old tantrum because he can't have a certain pair of shoes?  You've got to be kidding me.  Sure enough though, ten minutes later, the mom comes to the counter with the forbidden pair of shoes in hand.  I ring them up, all the while wanting to smash the kid on the head with the shoe box.  Like I said, sales usually bring out the worst in people.

Shortly after, I glance over to the corner of the store, spotting the old man who I helped earlier.  Now his wife is here, trying on shoes as well.  As I study them, I can't help but smile.  The husband is so concerned for his wife.  He keeps walking over to the shoe table, picking out various shoes to present to her.  He actually seems genuinely interested in which pair she chose.  As I look closer, I realize the man is holding his coat, her coat, a pair of shoes, and his wife's purse all at the same time...with a smile on his face!  His love for her is written all over his face and could be heard through his actions.  After a while, they both come strolling up to the counter, each with a pair of shoes under their arms.  I ring them up and send them on their way.  The leave the store, both smiling, arm in arm.


  1. A day of noise, downfalls, tantrums and unconditional love all wrapped up in one post. Well done, the old couple give me such hope!

  2. i liked the part where you wanted to smash the kid on the head!! lol :D
    very nicely written :)

  3. nicely done. i liked the stuff about the older couple a lot.

  4. enchanting.. you bring out the emotions really well..