Tuesday, 24 April 2012

April 18: The Point Of No Return

On Wednesday, April 18, I had just spent a whole working day in a large conference room in the centre of Bristol listening to luminaries on the subject of logistics and IT in the Defence sector. For my sins, they were very good and that area is highly relevant to my work – but this is not about my work. I write enough about that as it is. All you need to know is that, after some seven hours in there, I had a journey to make. Or at least begin.

The physical journey went from Central Bristol to Whiteladies Road – number 49, to be precise. Fortunately there is never a shortage of buses heading that way, as my left foot (the
8 ½ in this story) was starting to ache - not a good omen This is the address of MOTI, a running equipment store I’d found online the previous night. Their helpful staff get you on the treadmill and film you to ensure you buy shoes that are right for you, comparing your efforts on a shoe-by-shoe basis. In my line of work we call that the “trusted advisor sale”, a highly successful technique. But this is not about my work.
see, I'm not making all this up
So, having slipped out of my suit and into a 30-year old (approx.) Blades t-shirt and some cheap shorts, the tests began. As I stepped onto the treadmill, Journey's Dont Stop Believing started playing on the radio - yes, of course, the compulsory in-store Radio 2. Was that a message from Simon Mayo? Hmmm doubt it.
Asics, Nike, New Balance, Adidas… all good stuff. Hard to provide detailed responses to the “How was that different?” interrogations by Maria (whose name I only know because it’s on the receipt) (yes, I ended up buying). To me they all felt good, subtle differences being lost on my untrained feet, though the Asics did feel a bit better. No surprise, then, that they were the most expensive, coming in at £100. That’s £50 a foot, or £10 a toe. Still harbouring memories of my parents splashing out on a decent keyboard (the instrument) only for my initial enthusiasm to wane when I realised I wasn’t gifted with natural ability but had to put in some effort, I politely enquired as to the existence of cheaper alternatives… something more in the £5/toe range…

…lo and behold, there was! Another pair of Asics. Not as good as the £10/toe ones, obviously, but the monitored jog on the treadmill did not reveal any major problems. So I duly went for a pair of Asics Blackhawk 5 blue and white shoes. I know, blue and white… look, I did ask if they had any other colours and they didn’t. So I set out to console myself with the thought of pounding blue and white on our dirty British streets for months to come.

Sneaky, conniving, tight-fisted creature that I am, I told Maria my budget was £50 when it actually £65. That enabled me to invest a further £10 in comfy running socks and even £2.99 on one of those O-shaped plastic tubes also known as “running water bottles”. So yes, I did break my budget by all of 99p. Still, they were throwing into the bargain a free (and red!) Nike shirt, so on the whole I did alright. Yes, I did look up those shoes on the Web the following day and yes, I could have saved myself about twenty quid. But, whilst I may not have needed all the video replays I got, I did need some indication as to what I should buy. As much as anything, it was useful to get my feet measured: apparently one foot is a 8 ½ and the other is a 9. When you think that I’ve been buying size 10s for years, I can but assume that something got lost in shoe-size translation when I stopped buying 43s.

Anyway, that was it
no going back now. Going home, yes, one shopping bag heavier and £65.99 lighter. But the point of no return had truly been passed (well, I can take the shoes back within 30 days, but that hardly makes for a dramatic ending, does it?). Can you guess what happened next? Come back soon to check!

No comments:

Post a Comment