Today I helped a very interesting man. He was about 55, and very Jewish. His clothing was very wrinkled, and he had an overall disheveled look to him — right down to the yamacah that was so poorly pinned to his thinning hair. He had brow plastic-framed glasses that looked like he had been gnawing on the arms of them for years and was wearing and old pair of plastic soccer sandals. He had made a heel strap for them out of some rubber bands that he knotted through holes he had gouged in the material.
He told me he was looking for something to replace his customized sandals, and that he would like something similar but closed toe to wear in the approaching cold weather. I showed him a pair of Crocs, which he promptly tried on.
“These are too small,” he said. “Do you have a half size bigger?”
I explained to him that crocs were small, medium, large, etc. &and that the size he had on was designed to fit a men’s 10-11.
“So, it’s ten and a half?”
“I guess that’s one way to look at it,” I said. I then explained that the next size up in Crocs was a 12-13.
After debating the semantics of shoe sizing for a bit longer, he settled on the extra large Crocs. He paid for them, left the store, and then quickly turned around and came back in.
Up until this point, I had thought of him merely as a quirky older man. What transpired next totally changed my opinion.
“Hi. I was wondering if you had read any of the articles that have been in the paper about people who wear Crocs getting their feet caught in escalators, getting their toes slashed and bleeding everywhere?”
I simply stared at him for a few moments with my overly-polite customer service grin on my face while I tried to register what it was he had just said to me.
“Well, I’ve certainly never heard of anything like that happening.” My voice was trembling a little as I tried to hold back the peels of hysterical laughter.
“You said you have Crocs, right?”
“So when you’re on escalators, do you stand off to the side, or in the center? Because I’ve heard that with tennis shoes you shouldn’t’ stand to the side because your foot could get stuck and yanked right off your body. So I’m wondering if I need to remain conscious of that with Crocs on, or if I can stand a little closer to the rail.”
I racked my brain to think of a reply that would satisfy him enough to leave and also one that I could say with a straight face. “Well, if you really want to be sure you’re safe, I would take the stairs or elevator.”
“You are so right,” he said and left my store with a smile on his face. Am I good at my job, or what?