May 29, 2024
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May 29, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

It’s that time of year again. School is starting, and most of your children have outgrown or ruined all of their shoes. The problem is that most other families are dealing with the same issue. The shoe stores are fully stocked and fully staffed to deal with the onslaught. To make the experience more pleasant—it’s really all a matter of attitude—here are some practical guidelines.

Feed your children nourishing food before heading to the shoe store. Hungry kids are crankier and less reasonable regarding choices and fit.

If your favorite shoe store has a number system, and most do now, send an older child to save your place in line. Have them call from the store, allowing enough time for you to get there with the rest of the children.

Study your children’s school’s letter regarding dress code. You do not want to spend money on a shoe and then find out that it cannot be worn.

Leave your baby at home if possible. Try to trade off with a neighbor, offering to babysit for her when she buys shoes for her children. It’s even worth paying a babysitter. You may sometimes avoid a costly mistake, which might happen if you are dealing with a crying baby in a crowded store.

Try to take your toddler early in the day, when the stores are not so packed. It may even be worth your while to go twice, especially if one of your children is particularly hard to fit. You will definitely get better attention and service in the quieter store hours.

Be considerate of other customers. If you do bring along a snack, stick to something benign like potato chips or pretzels. No one appreciates the smell of barbeque garlic-infused snacks in the close confines of an overcrowded store. Stick with plain water, preferably with a sports cap. Spilled soda can ruin merchandise, rendering it unfit to be sold.

A crowded shoe store is not the place to catch up on gossip. Besides the obvious issue of lashon horah, everyone is there for one purpose, and wants to get out as soon as possible. Loud conversations, especially across the room, are very distracting.

Be considerate of the store owner and staff. They spend hours dealing with customers, and more time unpacking and restocking. If your third grader is happy with the second pair of shoes she is shown, and the price is right, do not ask to see everything else in stock. Pick up wrappers and empty water bottles and dispose of them promptly. If you do have your baby or a toddler along, and the child is restless, have an older sibling take the younger child outside while siblings are being fitted.

If the store posts an official closing time of seven o’clock, do not show up at 6:45 with eight children and expect to be served graciously.

As the cashier figures your total (ouch), don’t forget to thank them, as well as your salesperson. And have your children say thank you as well.

By P. Samuels

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