"I'm looking for a boy's black lace-up boot that fits this DVD box". Not an auspicious start. The sales assistant responds to this quixotic opener with that special Georgetown bored quizzic. I explain the situation. Raul, the gorgeous Ashley's older brother, needs a pair of black lace-up shoes or boots for school. My sizing guideline and style remit is as follows:
That's all I have. And that is how I find myself swizzling school shoes repetitively over the face of Bollywood's smiling Top 50 Golden Melodies. We decide that Raul must be a size 2 (perhaps 3 in a narrow fitting). He tells me I only have seven days to bring the shoes back if they don't fit. (The journey to check size would take 6 days and cost approximately 17.7 times the price of the shoes). We break a broom straw to length to aid us in our deliberations. We poke the various shoe and boot options. Of course he doesn't have the one I want. I end up with what I hope is a happy compromise.
The shoes are plastic and not cheap: they cost two days of Alison's wages. Weep, all ye who purchase leather shoes cheaper than this at TK Maxx on a whim. Mourn, thou who who throwest away perfectly good footwear for no better reason than that thou art sick of it. I squirm uncomfortably as I think how I would feel if I had to give my hard-earned to a foreigner who knows nothing about children's feet so that she can bring back something that might be completely wrong, just because I have not the power to do my own shopping. Isn't it ironic that the same people who have all the money, and all the choices, also get everything cheaper than the poorest? Oh, yes, I remember, that's what made America and Britain great in the first place. But slavery is in the past. Colonialism is in the past.