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    5 Soul-Crushing Conversations All Shoe-Shop Employees Have Had

    "Are you sure you don't have those in stock?"

    The one with the customer who refuses to believe you don't have the pair of shoes they want in stock.


    "Do you have these shoes in my size?"

    "Sorry, we're out of stock."



    "Can't you just go and check in the stockroom?"

    "No, sorry. They're out of stock."

    "Are you sure?"

    "OK, let me check again."

    You go and sit on a pile of boxes in the stockroom. You check your phone. You check Facebook. You go back out to the shop floor.

    "Sorry, no, they're definitely not back there."

    The one with the pushy customer who thinks you care about their shoe choice.

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    A customer picks up seven men's black loafers from the display. The shoes all look exactly the same as each other. He shoves them at you.

    "I want these in size 9½."

    "Sure, OK."

    You go to the stockroom to try to find the near-identical loafers. You go back out and give the customer the shoes to try on.

    "What do you think of the charcoal shoe on my left foot compared with the olive-black shoe on my right foot?"

    "Oh, erm, the one on the right. Definitely."

    "Hmmmmm. I think I like the dark-taupe loafer better."

    "Sure, definitely. Definitely the dark-taupe one."

    "It's decided – I'll take the charcoal loafers!"

    You go back into the stockroom. All of the shoes are mixed up because they all look the exact fucking same. You give up, throw the shoes in any old box, and hope the manager doesn't notice.

    The one with the customer with a kid who fucks up your shoe display.

    Andrew Couldridge/Action Images

    A flustered customer enters the shop with her 5-year-old daughter. The daughter wanders off and starts picking up shoes and throwing them around the shop floor.

    "Hi, do you have the latest California Bling Lelli Kelly shoes in stock? My daughter has a party she's going to tomorrow and Sally's mother says that all the girls will be dressed in the latest..."

    "I'm sorry, those shoes aren't available here today."

    "Why not?"

    "They're not in stock yet. We can order some in for you, though, when they become available to all our stores."

    "I don't understand. But I need them for her party."

    "I'm sorry, but those shoes have not actually been shipped anywhere in this country. At all. Anywhere."

    The daughter senses something is wrong, throws a tantrum, and continues to run around and throw shoes.

    "This is utterly ridiculous. Come on, my precious Poppy, we'll try Clarks instead."

    The customer and her daughter storm out. You look around the the shitshow her daughter has made of your beautiful shoe displays. You sigh.

    The one with the boss who is insistent you sell cleaning products with every sale.


    Your boss is giving a serious lecture to you and the other employees about the importance of selling cleaning products with every sale.

    "Look, you need to really sellthe polish. You need to be telling the customers they need to renovate, nourishe, and protect the leather or it will be RUINED. Look, you, try and sell me this polish."

    The shoe-shop boss hands you some black shoe polish. There's an awkward silence.

    "SELL it to me!"

    "Did you know that this shoe polish is really resisting...rain?"

    The one with the manager who is insistent you should try harder to improve your customer skills.

    CZQS2000 / STS/CZQS2000 / STS

    "Remember: Say hello to every single person who walks through our door!"

    "OK, but what if they're on the phone, or with a friend and clearly don't want to be distur-"

    "No excuses! Go up to them, make sure you look them in the face, and smile! Ask how they are! Make sure they feel valued as a customer."

    A customer walks in and looks at a display. Your manager glares at you. You stumble up to the customer, who clearly does not want to be disturbed.


    "...Oh, hi."

    "How can I help you today?"

    "Oh, I'm fine, I'm just browsing."



    You look to your manager, who is still glaring at you. You look back to the customer and force a smile.

    "So... Those are some nice shoes you're looking at there."

    The customer leaves.