Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Shopping Therapy--not what you think!

Toxic People are like shoes that just don't fit. No matter how attractive they are on the outside, no matter how much we dreamt about the "perfect pair" -- the reality of it all is that they just don't fit.

You know that reminds me of a recent shopping trip my H and I experienced together. We were invited to a "black tie" event by a new client of his and had only a couple of weeks to find each of us an entire outfit from head to toe. The shoe department is a great place to observe gender differences. Generally speaking, Men took a very practical approach, they selected the styles they liked, tried them on and narrowed them down by comfort, color, style, to determine the perfect fit. Women varied in their shoe selection. Some knew exactly what they wanted, scanned the shelves, found that the store didn't carry what they were looking for and moved on, or they found what they have been searching for and went in for a closer look. Others took a gathering approach and had piles and piles of different shoes, in different colors, styles and they were not just concerned w/comfort, but style and how their foot looked in a certain pair of shoes.

I got to talking to one of the sales people about the gender differences in selecting shoes, and she confirmed what I had observed, that again generally speaking, men are much more practical, they know exactly what they are looking for or at least have an idea in their mind including color and style, and make their selection based on comfort, then they select their final pair. Women on the other hand consider how a certain pair of shoes look, are influenced by the current fad or fashion style, consider how the shoes will accessorize w/other items, like a purse, cost is a huge influence especially if it appears to be "a great bargain" or "on sale for a limited time", comfort seems to be one of the last characteristics Women consider while it is the first and often only that men consider before purchasing a pair of shoes.

Men often shop by themselves or w/a wife or girlfriend, but rarely shop w/another friend compared to Women who usually shop in pairs. The sales person said, You really hear a Man ask another Man, "How do these shoes look on me?" and when they do the response is usually, They look okay, Are they comfortable to walk in? (this was my H's constant & consistent reply to me). Women have just acquiesced to accepting the fact that certain shoes are not designed for comfort as if they know that they will just have to deal w/the pain certain shoes are inherently going to cause based on how they were created. These comments from the sales person made a lasting impression on me, "It is the price we are willing to pay to feel sexy. We know at the end of the night we are going to be in pain, but we put on these hurting & painful shoes anyway perhaps partly deluding ourselves that this time they wont cause pain, or that our feet will be stronger and use to the pain and we wont notice it as much. I have never seen a Man try to squeeze his foot into a shoe that obviously doesn't fit and then purchase it."

I also wanted to add that there are those deceptive & defective shoes, that seem to fit pretty good in the store when you try them out. When you take them home and try them out for short periods of time they
still seem to fit okay. It is only until after you wear them for an extended amount of time do they reveal that they are not designed to go the distance. And from that point on no matter how hard you try to discover the source of the enormous discomfort and w/ failed attempts to doctoring them up, they just bring you more & more pain. Unfortunately all the shed blood, sweat, and tears has wasted valuable time and it is now too late to take them back -- so you just have to throw them away, or give them away to someone who likes defective shoes -- the OW (other woman). Of course you wouldn't give defective shoes to someone you really care about, at least not without pointing out the defect that is causing the pain.

Those darn deceptive & defective shoes, the manufacturer didn't even want due to the poor quality -- that's why they were put on sale and seemed to have been such a great deal -- they were a
clearance item that once purchased can not be returned. Too bad you can't slap Warning Labels on toxic Counterfeit People saying known to cause extreme pain.
Don't use for an extended amount of time, not designed to go the distance.
Will collapse & fall apart under the tiniest amount of pressure.
Can not weather a storm.
Will cost you more than they are worth.
do not purchase, these shoes have been recalled because they are dangerous and can not live up to what they claim.

Before we went shopping for shoes, I did a little spring cleaning and decided to get rid of all those items in my closet that I never wore or hardly ever wore because they were uncomfortable, not my style, or just didn't fit anymore, because I simply grew out of them over time. As I looked at this pile I asked myself two questions, Why did I choose those items that were not a good fit from the very beginning? and Why did I hold on to others that clearly did not fit anymore as long as I had?

For the items that use to fit that no longer fit, I was holding on to them for sentimental reason and they no longer had a purpose in my life. They were just filling up space that I needed for items that fit who I am today. For the items that never fit me well from the very beginning, my conclusion is that w/each one of these items my own physical & emotional comfort was the very last thing I considered, if I did consider it at all, when I purchased these items. I also noticed that I made most of these purchases during a huge time constraint and out of desperation to get an outfit for a certain event (holiday, business event, special celebration, etc.). I remembered that w/most of the items I was not completely happy w/them, I had reservations, but I talked myself into purchasing them because they were "good enough" & I settled because nothing better was available at the time. I had not discovered the Art of Doing Without. The entire sales industry is based on our feelings of inadequacy, that is how they get us to purchase items and fill our closets w/things we don't really need.

This time before I went out to purchase new items (again for a certain event in mind) I took inventory of what I already had in my closet. I found a dress that was beautiful and still fit perfect. It was sleeveless, so I borrowed a matching shawl from a close friend. Instead of going to the department store and paying full price, I went to a local Consignment Store and found a matching clutch purse that was as good as new for only a couple of dollars, I planned to wear my pearls and get my hair done earlier the day of the event. The only thing I didn't have was the right pair of shoes. The ones I had in my closet to match the dress were the ones I didn't wear on my wedding day--don't know why I held on to them as long as I did? I didn't even wear them on my Wedding Day, so there was no sentimental attachment. Time did not change the fact that these pretty shoes just didn't fit right, so time to get rid of them for good. Before I headed straight to the expensive shoe department, I started locally and found a comfortable pair of flat shoes. I liked them and planned to use them in my day to day life and I thought if I didn't find a comfortable formal style shoe, then I could wear these. Sure they were flat and some might say they were inappropriate, but hey they coordinated w/ my dress and who's comfort am I
more concerned about, mine or others? When my H and I went to the Shoe Stores, I was not looking out of desperation like I did so often in the past. I considered my own comfort first and foremost. I am definitely not a "shoe person", but I must say, if one could love a pair of shoes I found the perfect fit for me. They have a little bit of a heal, but one that was comfortable to walk in, would not throw me off balance and they had a secure surface so that I would not slip & fall. The particular style complimented my foot and actually looked very sexy -- I have a fat foot, so this was quite a feat! Who would have thought by changing the way one shops could have such a positive impact on how we walk through life?

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