Walking blues (my search for dress shoes)

I was checking my email and noticed that images of shoes were appearing every time I opened a new file. Dress shoes, so-called. Tassel loafers, oxford bluchers, brogues. Shiny and super-square. The sort of shoes I stopped wearing around the same time I quit working at cube farms.

“Where they all comin’ from? ” Swamp Rabbit said, looking over my shoulder at the shoe advertisements on my laptop screen.

“I did this to myself,” I replied. “I did an online search for local shoe stores this week and now every company in the world that makes shoes has my address and wants me for a customer.”

I explained that my search was in preparation for a formal occasion where my running shoes wouldn’t be appropriate. And that an online search for any commodity creates a plague of related ads that infects the sites you subscribe to. (Algorithms in action.) The capitalist monster finds out where you are, then it eats you.

Why’d you do an online search?” he said. “There must be shoe stores all over Philly.”

“You’re thinking of sneaker stores, rabbit. Running shoes, if you will. The neighborhood stores that sold dress shoes are mostly out of business now. The only places that come up when you do a search are those high-end shoe stores in Center City. There are a half-dozen of them, tops.”

“What you mean by high-end?”

“Shoes that are wildly overpriced because of their brand names. Wolf & Shepherd, Allen Edmonds and so on. Some poor-schmuck salesman at some high-end store on Sansom Street showed me a pair of loafers with a $395 price tag. That’s probably close to his take-home pay for a 40-hour week.”

“Why don’t you shop at a department store, or one of them consumer dumps like Walmart or Target?” Swamp Rabbit said.

“The shoes at those places cost less, but they’re much more cheaply made, so they wear out fast. Relatively speaking, they’re overpriced, too. Inflation is a bitch. The media isn’t telling half the story.”

He scowled. “Dress shoes are a lot cheaper at Target. You just don’t want to spend any money, Odd Man.”

“You’ve got no room to talk,” I said, looking down at his shoes. “You’ve been wearing those Chuck Taylor All Star high-tops since Obama was president.”

He asked me what I would wear to the formal occasion if I couldn’t find any dress shoes that suited me. I told him I’d dug up a pair of old black running shoes to wear with my suit.

“Great plan,” he said, rolling his eyes. “Don’t forget to polish ’em.”

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4 Responses to Walking blues (my search for dress shoes)

  1. White Chocolate Willy says:

    The Capital monster is consuming my family
    Whether you search for
    A screwdriver
    A pair of pants
    New shoes or a place to dance
    Or a Doctor to put you in a trance


  2. Margaret says:

    Ugh. When my son-in-law died when his Jeep rolled over and I posted about it on the Book of Face, I got inundated with FB ads for… you guessed it … Jeeps. A classic case of the algorithm going wrong.


    • oddmanout215 says:

      That must have been infuriating. I guess we all should have realized that the Internet would turn into home base for a million hustlers who will never tire of trying to sell us shit we neither need nor want.


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