… Brannock devices?
Interestingly, just about every model version seems to be $72.50.
Growing up, there were two places in our town to buy shoes. You were either Aiken’s people or Lobb’s people. We were Aiken’s people.
Buying a new pair of shoes was always a big deal and it really was a science of sorts. The advice was to come buying in the afternoon because your feet are bigger then, we’d sit down, take off a shoe and place it in to the Brannock device to get sized up. It was important to wear “are these the socks you always wear?” socks. The embarrassment of putting on those little bootie things if you showed up without socks was too much to take.
Then, mom would tell Mr. Aiken (whichever one was waiting on us) what kind of shoe we would be getting (always running shoes at the time) and he’d go into the back and bring out a box with brand new shoes, nicely wrapped in a box. He’d sit on this really cool stool that he’d roll over to be in front of us and we’d put our foot into the new shoe that was nicely angled on the stool. Then, came the second shoe and we got to walk back and forth in front of a mirror placed at floor level to see how we looked.
Pay a little money and the job was done.
Not so these days.
I had to get a new pair of shoes this past week. The experience was completely different. There is no specific shoe store in town; there’s a men’s wear store, Walmart, and Mark’s Work Wearhouse. This time, I went to Mark’s.
Buying shoes is no longer a craft mastered by someone who is just in the business of selling shoes. There’s no inventory in the back; it’s out on the floor. There’s no Brannock device; I had to take off my shoe to see what the previous size was! I guess I could have done this. Then, there was a stroll along the displays to find a shoe that looked like it would do the trick. The “trick” is to hold up while dog walking. My days of fashion making my choice are behind me. There was no mirror but you could walk along the aisle to test out the shoe. There was another lady there trying out shoes and, gasp, she wasn’t wear socks. Gross!
The shoes were interesting. Some had obviously been tried on before because the wrapping paper on some of them wasn’t in new shape. So, I picked up 3 or 4 shoes and went back to a bench to try them on. A salesperson did come by to ask what size I was and brought a few more boxes over and told me to give her a shout if I needed help. I went with these.
For a Sunday, what are your thoughts?
- Do you buy shoes at a specific shoe store or are you like me and have limited options?
- Do you get measured with a Brannock device every time?
- Do you have a brand loyalty or do you choose your shoes based on some other criteria?
- Do you go and get fitted by someone who is in the shoe business or do you buy off the rack?
- Are there other sales features from the past that are no longer available to you?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
This is part of a regular Sunday series where we get to share some of the good ol’ days and some of the not so good days. Please join in.