Don’t Bring Your Mom. This really means don’t bring anybody for ‘support’ but also literally don’t bring a parent -they’re the worst.
What happens is you get two people speaking as one then suddenly breaking to argue with each other then turn back to you as one again; or the parent interrupting you to pepper the kid with unhelpful questions; or acting like they’re a celebrity body guard with their kid as a client and insisting what they’re wants are.
Now oddly I’ve had the opposite situation – where an adult child has brought in their elderly parents and acted as a coach and translator and it’s worked out great – except for one time the child described herself as a professional movement specialist and shit-tested me constantly. Mostly though the dynamic works for elderly people who ‘don’t want to be a bother’ and don’t want their kid to spend money on them.
With parents and children though the parents are really controlling – of their kid and of me – out of a good place of wanting the best for their kid and of course the problem is they have no idea what’s best or how to act so they come off like an unbearable dick. Dads do it too and can be worse but dads taking their kids shopping is a blue moon compared to mom’s taking their kids shopping.
Come To The Running Store To Buy Running Shoes. I’m already fucking up my list here because this is a what-not-to-do list so I guess just don’t do anything other than this is my point.
The exception is that we get a lot of old people who need a comfortable supportive shoe or people fresh from the podiatrist or physio who got recommended a specific shoe for a specific injury or need and that’s fine.
My go-to hilarious example of this sin though is I had a girl come in – to The Running Room – and reject each option I brought out because it looked like a running shoe. But then wanted to keep trying stuff and acting a bit like I was letting her down.
And I was like, no bitch, you let me down. You let the whole store down.
And the criminal variation of this sin is the person who wants an everything shoe and then wants to just plow ahead when I tell them that’s a terrible idea. Because I’ve learned to clarify right at the start that you want a shoe specifically for running? and I sometimes get the reply yeah, running and walking and the gym and stuff.
The honest answer is that that shoe exists – just not here and you can’t handle it, suburban mom. In a perfect world I’d have access to a selection of zero-drop crosstrainers and you’d have a fully functioning achillies tendon but here we are.
A great running shoe is a terrible gym shoe – and vice versa – for 90% of the population and 100% of suburban moms. And I explain why using my years of study and insight just to be told it’s fine.
So now you have two different goals. That’s bad. My job, and truly my joy, is figuring out what your bio-mechanical needs are and what your goal is then eliminating all the shoes that aren’t it. And I have absolutely eliminated every shoe in my store and sent people off with a list of shoes that might suit them to find and try elsewhere.
But some people just want to buy shoes. Just one pair, today, and feel things about it. That is their goal. Not being better, not working towards something, just having new shoe day.
It’s something I saw when I worked at a video store, when I was a cook, when people ask me for romantic or life advice… Someone asks is this good and I say no and they say they’re gonna go with it anyway. Which only begs the question of why did you ask, why the little show of being interested in expertise or feedback? Why did you come to the running store if running isn’t your priority?
And of course the honest answer is we’ll listen. That’s why so much of our clientele is the elderly and the injured – they don’t even necessarily want their concerns assuaged, they just want them heard. They want to get to say what’s on their mind because their doctor and their friends won’t let them get all the way though it. As bartenders are to emotional issues so is the shoe salesman to physio.
Which, again, is fine when people who need to do that do that. People who are needy have needs and if I can meet those needs, great. It’s people who are wanty that I can’t fucking stand.