Self was going to the library to pick up a book she had placed on hold (Doris Lessing’s The Making of the Representative for Planet 8 — the only copy of the book in the entire Peninsula was in Burlingame, of all places) when she saw people standing at the corner of Jefferson and Middlefield waving signs. The signs said: SHOE PAVILION GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SALE — 80% OFF, EVERYTHING MUST GO!
Holy moly! Before self could even say “quick-as-a-wink,” she was heading in the opposite direction from the Library, quite forgetting that she had only placed enough coins for 30 minutes of parking.
And when she arrived at the Shoe Pavilion (which was only a few yards away from the Library, after all), she thought a bomb had hit, for the shelves were practically empty, and the few items that had been left behind were strewn across the floor in no discernible pattern, while the last hungry vultures — er, self means: women — pawed at the ground and stuck shoes sized 6 on their size 8 feet and — Self doesn’t know how she could have missed the sale notice, for she lives in Redwood City, and Shoe Pavilion is less than a mile from her house.
Anyhoo, the sight of women grabbing at shoes must have caused adrenaline to kick in, for in short order self, who when she left the house that morning had no idea that she needed shoes, bent down and began digging through piles of Steve Maddens and Tommy Hilfiggers. Most of the stuff that was left were a hideous brown or enormous size 12s. But, in one pile self managed to unearth a pair of pink loafers, and in another she unearthed a true find: gold Aerosole ballet flats!
Then, clutching these precious items to her chest, self made for the check-out lines, which were about 15 people deep. And then, standing in line, she decided she must consult someone on her purchases. So she tried calling first Penny, then other aunt who loves to go shopping, then Sandy, but no one picked up. Self finally reached cuz in Virginia, who said: “Where are you? Why is there a baby crying in the background?”
Funny, self hadn’t been aware of a baby in her immediate vicinity, but after cuz mentioned it, self looked up and discovered that she did indeed happen to be standing behind a woman with a baby stroller, and the stroller was festooned with at least eight pairs of shoes.
Self then inquired of cousin if, given the choice, she would go for a pair of pink shoes or a pair of gold shoes. Cuz said, with absolutely no hesitation, “Gold shoes.”
So, self decided she would ask the cashier how much each of the pairs were, and if she said something like $20, self would surrender the pink shoes.
It was a long time before the line moved, however, and self suddenly remembered the parking meter. But she knew that if she handed the shoes to someone to hold while she left the store to add coins to the meter, that person would make off with self’s precious stash. So, self swore under her breath but decided that, come what may, she would remain steadfast and wait in line.
Eventually, woman with the crying baby got through paying for her purchases (eight pairs of shoes for something like $50??? Self wasn’t sure she heard correctly), and self was now facing the cashier. Alas, cashier had no idea how much self’s two pairs of shoes cost. “Didn’t these come in a box?” cashier asked. “No,” self said, “They were on the floor.” “But, didn’t you see any purple boxes lying nearby?” Self shook her head; she hadn’t. And this was the absolute honest-to-God truth. So, the resourceful cashier produced an empty shoe box from under the register, aimed her little laser at the UPC code, and out came the amount: $3.50. “For both?” self inquired, when she was once again able to speak. “Your total is $7,” the cashier said.
And then self ran with her $7 worth of shoes to the parking lot across the street, and she saw that she had not yet gotten a ticket. Oh happy happy joy joy. How self loves the day after Thanksgiving in a recession-driven America.