Sunday, March 29, 2009

It's A Matter of Size

I hate shopping for clothes, shoes included. So when my black shoes fell apart (literally) it took a lot of effort to buckle down and get a new pair. Thankfully, us guys really only need a few pairs of shoes, so I don't have to go through this too often.

I have some very high-quality shoes. When I know I'm going to be on my feet for a while and I can't wear Crocs, I wear one of those pairs of shoes. When I'm going to be at work all day sitting on my butt, I don't usually wear one of those high-quality pairs. Pretty much anything will do.

Since the shoes I needed to replace were primarily for work, I didn't mind getting a pair at Walmart while we were shopping there anyway. I thought to myself it would be an easy thing. Alas, I was wrong.

I went to the shoe aisle at our local Walmart and grabbed a pair of nine-and-a-halfs to try on. I couldn't even squeeze my feet into them. I thought that strange, but I've run into times where sizes were a little off - no doubt to the metric to English conversion. So I grabbed a pair of tens. I got my feet into them, but they were way too tight. So, I tried a pair of ten-and-a-halfs next. They fit in perfectly in width, but they were about two inches too long.

I grabbed another pair of another style and brand. I was thinking, perhaps, if the one factory didn't do their metric to English conversion very well, perhaps another factory did. Well, this style fit just like the others I had just tried on: nine-and-a-half was too small, ten was too small, and the ten-and-a-half fit perfectly in width but was about two inches too long. I figured they were made in the same factory as the other ones.

I gave up at that point. I hate shopping for shoes in the first place, but now I was upset because someone didn't do their math correctly. I commented to my wife: "Can't we send our overseas manufacturers a ruler with inches so they can check their sizes before they ship stuff out? It seems we're not doing them or ourselves any favors by keeping the actual length of an inch secret."

In my town there is a shopping center with a Shoe Carnival with a Ross next store. Whenever I'm there for any reason, I always stop at Ross before going to Shoe Carnival because there's always a chance a nice pair of shoes will be for sale there for cents on the dollar.

In Ross, I found a great pair of leather shoes, just right for wearing to work. I grabbed a pair of nine-and-a-half and proceeded to walk around a bit. I practically walked out of them. Disgusted, I grabbed a pair of nines, thinking I might have to go down to eight-and-a-half on this brand. Thankfully, the nines fit perfectly and I left the store getting a great pair of shoes for the same price I would have gotten the Walmart cheapies for.

Am I the only one who has trouble buying clothes and shoes which fit? Aren't sizes supposed to be based on actual inches (or at least their metric equivalents)? Shouldn't one size nine shoe be same as another size nine? If I get a pair of pants with a 34-inch inseam, shouldn't the next pair of pants with a 34-inch inseam be the same length? Am I just being too picky?

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