In Which I Give A Detailed Sports Analysis
I may be cheating at this task. You see this is something I do on a regular basis and is really an underground sport practised by a few of us. We have regular meets, discuss tactics and are often to be found in training for the Big Event.
This is Extreme Shoe Shopping – a Pentathlon.
Let me explain it to you.
First of all the contestants in the race, do their preparations. They all start from different locations and are limbering up, checking their equipment (credit cards, cash, cheque book and discount card)
They are dressed in smart ‘town’ clothing with nothing higher than a three-inch heel on. Anyone wearing new shoes is disqualified IMMEDIATELY due to other contestants being dazzled and sidetracked and go into an ‘Oooohh!’ of delight and ask where they came from. Unfair advantage.
Now the watch is checked, and they’re off!
The first hurdle consists of The Husband/partner (The ‘Questioner’) with the traditional comment of: “Where are you going?”
Experienced Shoeists can normally just answer ‘Out’ or ‘Lunch with the girls’ but it has been known for amateurs to freeze and refuse the first jump. A Grand Master of this art has been know to add ‘Want to join us?’ which has the desired effect of the Questioner recoiling faster than a rugby player at a ballet recital.
Then it’s off to the cash point for the second task: Viewing the Bank Balance. Again the experienced can swap money around various accounts or use someone else cards (known as the ‘But Darling you said I could….’) but others have been known to blanche and return back to base. (This may be replaced with a Bank Manager wagging his finger. In this case, the more seasoned participants merely walk by with shades on with a ‘la la la I can’t see you’ mantra being chanted.)
The third hurdle is plotting the course. (Note: in the rules, a taxi is only allowed for the home stretch) In the early days this has meant that many people died of exhaustion as they criss-crossed the playing field and ended up on the far side of town with numerous bags, with no chance of public transport and without access to a taxi but this rarely happens now due to GPS and the allowance under the rules of a brief recce of the yellow pages and a city map. (see Stovolds almanac for a full description of this rule)
But again, the seasoned marathon runners here can easily move across one side of the course to the other, without retracing their steps and taking in up to 10 outlets at the end of the day.
Fourthly, it’s the dashing to the sale rack, finding your size and – most importantly – deciding what outfit the purchase will be worn with. Contestants MUST give a detailed description, give an example of the event in which they will be worn and finally, demonstrate the ability to walk in the shoes across the width of the shoe department. (carpet for the lesser ranked, parquet flooring for the higher ranked). Points are added for buying them in two or more colours, but only if the outfit matches. You cannot wear two pair of shoes with the same outfit.
This goes on for a few rounds of the course, with purchases being made along the way. Rest stops along the route are indicated by the ‘Café Nero’ signs but are to be no longer than twenty minutes. Anyone sidetracked by clothes or other departments within multiple stores are sent back to the start.
Some routes are obviously harder with sales assistants nowhere to be found, or queues at the checkouts. This MAY count against you in the timing stakes.
The fifth and final hurdle comes in a few steps.
- Points are given for the last minute buying of a large bouquet of blooms to waft, Jedi-like in front of The Questioner to distract them.
- The participants MUST prove that they have too many bags to even CONSIDER taking public transport home.
- You MUST be home in time for dinner.
- You MUST end up within three minutes walking distance of a taxi rank and have enough cash left to pay for the ride home WITHOUT resorting to a cash point.
- As you enter the home straight, you must be able to stow the purchases away within three minutes of entering and disposing of carrier bags where they will not be found.
- First one to the gin bottle after finishing these last tasks, wins.
You can play this in any town centre or large shopping mall, although nothing smaller than Meadowhall in Sheffield counts for the international points.
London rules are slightly different – points are given for the following
(I’d like to thank The Husband for ironically suggesting this post. Ah! the poor fool has NO idea…..)