They Don't Give Golden Eggs When You Buy Shoes Anymore!
The other day I saw a group of teenage boys all huddled around a computer. A group of teenage boys all ogling over the images they were seeing, I just knew they were up to no good. I went over to investigate. They weren't watching a video on YouTube, they weren't playing the latest version of some popular online game, they weren't Skyping or Ooovooing with friends, no, they were looking up shoes. Shoes? Really? Teenage boys? This is how they spend their time these days? Shopping for shoes? Drooling over the latest shoes online? My how times have changed since I was a teenage boy. I remember, many years ago when my friends and I would sneak a copy of the Sears catalog up to our bedroom, and close the door. I assure you we were not looking at the latest shoes Sears had to offer. The shoes these boys all liked cost over $160 dollars. Some type of skate shoe. For riding a skateboard. Really? You need a special skateboarding shoe to ride a skateboard?
These teenage boys looked at page after page of these skate shoes which came in every color imaginable. They looked at shoelaces of every color. They debated amongst themselves which was the best color. When I was growing up all the kids had the same shoe. Keds. They came in two colors; black or white. The shoelaces came in two colors; black or white. They weren't "tennis shoes" they were sneakers. When I was growing up you had two pairs of shoes. Your "good" shoes (most likely Buster Browns) which you wore to Church and you had your play shoes which you wore everywhere else. Back then you didn't need to take out a small loan to buy a pair of shoes.
We always bought our shoes at Deitz's Shoe store, which was an authorized Red Goose Shoes distributor. After the clerk measured our size with one of those metal contraptions that looked like a slide rule, he or she would walk to the back room, behind a curtain, where I imagined cobblers hard at work making the shoes as we waited. Eventually the salesperson would emerge a few minutes later with a box of shoes. We tried them on, our mother would press her thumb at the tip of the shoe and checked out how much distance there was between our toes and the front of the shoe and we were on our way. If you bought shoes at an authorized Red Goose dealer, they gave you a Golden Egg with small prizes inside. A stick gum, a metal clicker, and maybe even a plastic goose. The Golden Egg even had a slot in it and you could use it for a bank and save your coins. I saw on eBay recently that a Red Goose display sold for over thirty thousand dollars. Talk about a golden nest egg.
As I mentioned, back in those days the shoe clerk would measure your foot in a device that I have since learned is called a Brannock shoe measuring device. The shoe store was offering a service to you by measuring your feet. These days the Brannock Shoe Measuring device is still there but most people just measure their own feet with it. We've really gotten away from offering services to customers. I remember pulling into gas stations when I was younger and the attendant would run over to the car, ask how much, start pumping your gas for you, wash your windshield and check your oil for you. Today everything is self serve. I remember getting on elevators and there was an elevator operator who would ask, "What floor please?" You would tell him and he would push the button. Today, elevators are pretty much self serve as well. After all, an educated society such as ours is perfectly capable of pumping our own gas, pushing our own buttons and measuring our own feet. But it was nice back then to get pampered a little bit. Stores, hotels and gas stations, they made you feel important. You were after all, the customer and they wanted to treat you right for shopping at their store. They appreciated your business and they showed it by pushing the buttons on the elevator for us, cleaning our windshields, giving us Golden Eggs and measuring our feet for us.
I don't know how many brands of shoes are out there today, they seem to come in every imaginable color. Shoelaces come in every imaginable color. I guess we don't live in the black and white world of Keds anymore. People don't pamper us when we shop their stores. I kind of miss it. Those teenage boys will never know the thrill of getting a Golden Egg for buying a pair of shoes.