After a joint or two Dave decided I should spend my spare cash on a new pair of open toed sandals. We left the café and walked round the corner to John Barnet’s shoe shop. The assistant looked down at my filthy feet, clad in a disintegrating pair of sandals and said, “Well I am sorry Sir, you wont be able to try them on.”
I said, “That’s cool, I know my size, its nine. How much?”
She went off and climbed the steps. Ascending to a million boxes she brought back a lovely white box deliciously smelling of new leather with the contents wrapped in tissue and said, “£2.19s.11d.”
I only had two quid so I said, “Is that for both of them.” I was sure that she was now beginning to think she was going to catch something infectious from me and was backing off.
“Yes, of course.”
I said, “Could I have them for £2? I really need them as mine are falling apart and it’s all the money I have.”
By now she’d had enough. She put the sandals back in their box. It was getting late and we were the last customers in the shop. The other assistants and manager gathered round in disgust and were giving support to her. It then dawned on me that my right sandal was in much worse condition than the left so I pressed on. I said, “How much would one be?”
She looked puzzled said, “I am sorry Sir, they’re only sold as pairs.”
I said, “That’s OK I only live up the road I’ll take one now and hop back next week to get the other one.”
At this point the manager got a little closer and with an air of menace said, “I am sorry Sir, we’re closing soon. You should leave.”
I said, “Hold on, this is discrimination. What about if I only had one leg, in which case you could make a killing selling the other one to someone else with the complementary leg.”
He said, with emphasis, “Sir, in the last five years I have once sold a single pair of shoes to a one legged man.”
The effect of my last joint was wearing off and quick as a flash I replied, “Exactly my point. Who was he and what leg was missing?” I knew the manager was a bullshitter and sure enough he couldn’t answer. He couldn’t remember anything about his one and only encounter with an alleged one legged man. Out of the blue he threatened to phone the police. So we left.
As soon as I got outside the shop it dawned on me what I should have said. It was obvious. The killer argument. When a two legged person comes into the shop you wouldn’t dream of making them buy three shoes would you. Well why not? Well I’ll tell you why not it’s because it would be one shoe too many. Exactly the same as for a one legged person having to buy two shoes. It’s simply one shoe too many.
There would have been no answer to that. I always had that problem, my best arguments always came to me too late.
* Romford, LB Havering