The Emperor’s new shoes

Posted: 16th November 2010 by Get No Happy in Angry Rants, Miscellaneous

The following took place between 9:15 and 9:32 this morning. Names have been omitted to protect the innocent

“Jesus Christ” I exclaimed, unable to keep the words from bursting forth. A deathly silence descended over the shop and an instant later a shop assistant was by my side. I fell to my knees before her, and with a heart pounding its way through my chest and skin pale and sweating, I raised my spinning head and looked her in the eyes. “Who won the second world war?” I cried, “What year it is?, who’s the Prime Minister?, for the love of god TELL ME”. I was now tugging at the lapels of her uniform jacket “please tell me” I wept as my head sank back down.

The longest silence I have known.

Was this another world? another time? Was Hitler in fact a revered modernist painter? Was there time to warn everyone about Iraq? 9/11? Hannah Montana? After what seemed like an eternity the assistant spoke “Well I don’t know about the first or last ones” she began “but it’s definitely 2010”. “Aha” I thought, only the education system I know and loath could have produced such an answer. Of course this wasn’t another dimension. The very thought indeed. I hadn’t shifted through time and space since my stay at the secret army testing lab (cleverly disguised as a mental institution) where they had corrected my quantum oscillation. I stood up calmly and regained my composure, making the polite gesture of straightening her jacket, now crumpled in the way only the terrified grip of a stricken gentleman can achieve. I contemplated briefly whether to explain more fully my temporary fears to her; however the look on her face suggested perhaps now would not be the best time. Maybe over a coffee…?

My private deliberations were interrupted by a polite cough swiftly followed by “Can I help you sir”. Now the colour had returned to my skin and my heart was happy to stay in its traditional place, I felt I could once again converse on a more civilised level. “You already have” I smiled, perhaps more intensely that I intended, “more than you could ever know and now I can help you”. Satisfied there was nothing supernatural afoot, I turned and pointed her in the direction of the display that had been the cause of my momentary mental anguish. “It appears” I said, adopting a playful tone to distract her from the circumstances that brought us together “that some business rival or young hoodlum has been sabotaging your products”, I was about to add ‘or possibly a terrorist’ but I didn’t see the need to alarm the poor girl further. “You see” I continued “They’ve sneaked in to this fine emporium and changed the prices” I began to laugh and gesture wildly “they’ve attached a sticker to this shoe saying it costs £180”. I turned to her, grinning at the gall and absurdity of this act of corporate warfare, expecting her levity to mirror my own.

It did not. In fact she seems completely unmoved and unconcerned by this act of wanton aggression. “But” she began “that’s just want they cost”.

My mood turned sour. How could this be? The stimulus that had at once induced me to a whimpering wreck and then caused such laughter was real. Not an aberration from another realm, nor some move in a never ending retail conflict, or the desperate attempt at a courtship display by one of England’s underclass, but a genuine pricing decision. The thought filled me with anger. “How can this be” I asked somewhat forcefully. Not waiting for a reply I continued “It’s a shoe, it occupies the liminal space between my sock and the floor, its sole (no pun intended) purpose is to walk over things I would rather not. It’s the clothing equivalent of a privy slave, how could it possibly be worth the price for a flight to the Americas!”. Indignant, I waited for a reply from the now frustrated shop assistant. “Well” she huffed “if you can’t pay that then that’s up to you, there are cheaper shoes. This one however is a Timberland, that’s why it costs what it does”.

Now, I’m not sure whether it was her impolite tone or the suggestion my indignation was caused by poverty, but this reply simply fuelled my rage. “Look” I said, biting down a more colourful/sweary version of my next sentence, “Unless Timberland is the post-colonial name for the lost city of Atlantis, there’s no way in hell it can be worth than much. Tell me the damn things are made from unicorn hide or are equipped with the latest in fashionable jet-packs, or that 15 men died on a expedition harvesting them from the carnivorous shoe-tree of the Amazon, then I’ll agree with you. But you can’t, they were assembled by the same children in the same factory in the same secret basement out of the same material as all the others”. Upon reaching this crescendo, and to (somehow) demonstrate my point, I picked up the offending items and proceeded to hurl them against the front display window. Again. And again. And Again.

Breathless, and filled with a warm glow only the attempted liberation of overpriced footwear can bring, I turned to behold my people, my fellow patrons. Surely they would by now have seen the truth of my words and be ready to revolt against this insanity? Alas not. Instead of a jubilant crowd cheering me as their new prophet and demanding we take our revolution to the ‘Schuh’ next door, I beheld a frightened and broken people, cowering behind racks of the very shoes who’s prices oppress them so. There would be no revolution that day I realised. Composing myself once more, I turned back to my friend the shop assistant; now struck dumb with what was no doubt awe and admiration, bid her good day and left with my head held high.

It was only several minutes later, after making sure the sirens were not heading in my direction, that it struck me. I still needed a new pair of shoes!


I really hate shoe shopping…

  1. Get No Happy says:

    Not that I could find, not even a TK Max *shakes head*

  2. taziun says:

    wow – you could write a twatlight sequel.