(Today’s post includes some bad language and a bit of general cattiness.)
It’s been a dark and rainy week here in my little corner of Maine, but a sliver of sunlight crept out from behind the clouds around 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, briefly bright. I grabbed my sunglasses and headed off to the post office on foot with another batch of Christmas cards. I started thinking about sunlight and sunglasses and Jack Rogers sandals. You know Jack Rogers sandals, right? They’re leather flip-flops, the official sandal of certain Floridian zip codes. Very “Jackie Oh.”
I’m not a fan of Florida; too hot, too much hot top. I like Jack Rogers sandals. Thoughts of the pleasant sandals in that unpleasant locale was a test of brainpower; I delicately suspended the ideas in my grey matter behind the protection of my somewhat “Jackie Oh” black sunglasses. Mes grandes lunettes noires. The sun jogged a recent incident loose from a locked brain cell; a recollection I had suppressed from last week’s trip to Portsmouth.
I love it when a story comes together on my walk to the post office.
Last Thursday, before old green tie ushered me out of the Portsmouth Athenaeum with his raised hairy eyebrow, I stopped into a shoe store a few blocks to the west. It’s a perfectly lovely shop and they carry a lot high-end heels and flats. Honestly, they’ve got the best shoes north of Nordstrom’s.
Except that retail sales can be exhausting and thankless work. A shoe store associate can carry boxes and boxes of shoes to a customer for an hour and help stuff big old bunion foot bones into this pump or that platform and still not make a sale. Not all customers have feet that smell like roses, either. I can understand the plight of shoe store sales staff. Maybe, just maybe at the hour I trudged into this little boutique, similar horrible things had just fifteen minutes ago happened. I had no way to know for sure.
I was looking for some fun retro-looking boots with a little faux fur around the top, a half calf job like the ones actress Marjorie Reynolds wore in the closing scenes of Holiday Inn. My eyes were drawn to a sale rack of Jacks. But what was this? The box wasn’t tan and brown like the boxes in my closet. It was turquoise and midnight blue and I’m sorry to say, it looked just a tad like a Tiffany’s bag. The “Jack Rogers” logo had changed, too, and for a split second I thought it said “Jolly Rogers.”
Ahoy, sandaled mateys! Shiver me timbers!
Shocked, I blurted out “when did Jack Rogers change their logo?”
The woman staffing the store raised an eyebrow, unknowingly foreshadowing old green tie. You would have thought I had asked “is George W. Bush still president?” She gave me a look and said, condescendingly, “it’s been this way for ages.”
What did she mean by ages? Is an age one year? Two? Five? I am pretty sure I bought a pair of sandals in this self-same shop in 2010, in the comfortably understated tan and brown box. Lee Annie Leonie was with me; it was a “two for one” sale.
Yes, I was sure of it.
The woman was brief with me. Apparently, she had forgotten my previous purchases in her establishment. Three pairs of Jack Rogers sandals, a pair of Italian all-weather suede pumps, and a pair of fugly Tory Burch York ballet flats with the elastic on the back that practically sawed my heel in two. I wore them for all of one hour and then promptly gave them to Tildee Murchoch, sensing that to return them to the high-class shoe store would be a whole new level of foot indignation.
After the comment, I squeaked out a fake laugh and said something like “ha, ha, ha, I ha-rdly ever shop anymore, what with working night and day to create an app that writes Pulitzer prize-winning novels with content from vintage National Geographic magazines.”
Inside, I felt like Julia Roberts in the shopping scene from Pretty Woman. “Look, I’ve got money to spend in here.”
What I really wanted to say was a paraphrase of yet another line from Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion:
“I know. What a bitch, taking your hamburger, I mean, what was that?”
I left the store as quietly as I could, harboring all these thoughts in my broken heart.
I had forgotten about the incident until yesterday’s break in the clouds.
I don’t pretend to be an investigative reporter and I don’t need to be right all the time. But damn it, Jack Rogers didn’t change their logo ages ago and the problem smoldered away in my slightly hurt grey matter all afternoon. I took a coffee break and mixed up some sugar cookie dough, using my favorite measuring spoons.
Then it dawned on me. A eureka moment. I e-mailed the question to the spoon giver, who is one of the smartest women I know. Then, not willing to wait for her response, I asked myself “what would the smartest woman I know do?
In a flash, I dialed Jack Rogers Customer Care directly at 646-480-5153 and with no verbal obfuscation, I got connected with their marketing department. Jennifer said she thought the logo changed around 2012.
Then I got an e-mail from the smartest woman I know who reminded me that she had sold Jack Rogers sandals at her very own chic boutique five years ago. The boxes in her boutique had the old logo.
Finally, after a little Facebook analysis of the Jack Rogers timeline, I put it all together. No, it wasn’t ages ago. It was just a few years ago.
Wow! I’m glad I solved that little first world problem!
But I can’t lie to my blog readers. I’m not perfect. Sometimes, I can be a little snarky and I am sure I’m often misunderstood. I try to listen to people non-judgmentally, and more important, if I had a little store or boutique, I certainly wouldn’t make a customer feel lousy by being a smarty pants. Even if Jack Rogers had changed their logo ages ago. The customer is not always right, but the customer is always the customer.
I’ll have more to say about Jack Rogers and his jolly sandals in the future. Why, I’m wearing a pair right now with my leopard print bathrobe. They make great slippers and purging my soul here on the blog has lifted my spirits. I just might get all the things on my “to do” list done. In these last few days before Christmas, it’s easy to grow impatient, to get lost in our own needs, and lose compassion for our fellow men and women. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
May my sometimes small heart grow three sizes today, just like The Grinch’s!
But not my feet, because goodness knows what would happen if I went looking for a pair of overpriced leather flip-flops THAT big in a chic shoe boutique.