Do I owe anything to a shop that helped me try on shoes?
November 17, 2020 3:50 AM   Subscribe

I went to an upscale mens shop for a specific boot in a hard-to-find size. They helped me try on a few pairs but didn't have the size they eventually thought I needed but offered to special order them. The thing is the "right" size they could order didn't have a key option that, during my subsequent research, I realized was critical to me (rubber sole). An online store does offer likely right size w/ rubber sole. I don't want to feel like I "used" the shop in any way (they were a little helpful in narrowing down likely size)--do I just buy something else (I may not really need) from the shop, or just let it go as 'part of doing business'?
posted by Jon44 to Human Relations (16 answers total)
Not sure if it's against the rules (probably so, but maybe not since you were clearly NOT trying to promote a specific company), but maybe you could post the store's online presence here...there are probably a lot of other mefites who need shoes they could provide, and they'd benefit from the business. Alternatively, you could do an honest "plug" for how helpful they were on Twitter, Facebook, etc...
posted by richmondparker at 4:03 AM on November 17 [2 favorites]

It's just what shops are for! That being said, it's a pandemic and some businesses are suffering more. Word of mouth about how great they are, or an online review is more than enough compensation.
posted by london explorer girl at 4:04 AM on November 17 [9 favorites]

Did the shop know about the rubber sole when they were trying to order for you? If not, now that you know it's a must-have, they may be able to get it for you by bypassing the limited form and calling/emailing/etc. their supplier instead. I'd give them first dibs.

But if they can't, they can't. Give them positive online reviews, recommend them to others and go back to them next time you need shoes.
posted by headnsouth at 4:05 AM on November 17 [29 favorites]

This is just part of doing business. Leave a good review if you actually found the experience good and keep them in mind for next time you need something that they sell.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 4:27 AM on November 17 [9 favorites]

That’s just shopping. I have an unusual bust size and have to go to specialty boutiques for bras; sometimes I’ll try on dozens of them with an attendant bringing them to me and checking in and offering to order things online and I walk away without having bought anything. You don’t owe the shop anything, although a nice online review would be valuable.
posted by Mizu at 4:34 AM on November 17 [5 favorites]

A second vote for asking the shop if they can order the shoe with the rubber sole. You don't get that kind of sizing service from an online store.
posted by vincebowdren at 5:24 AM on November 17 [11 favorites]

Yeah as I shop owner I don’t mind if a customer goes somewhere else if I can’t get them what they need, but if I’ve put a lot of service into helping them figure out what they need, I hope they give me the chance to order what they want instead of going online immediately. Check again, but if they can’t get the rubber sole in your size, you should feel free to get it elsewhere.
posted by rikschell at 5:30 AM on November 17 [14 favorites]

You could e-mail them a link to the specific shoe that you found, and ask if they're sure they can't get it for you. It could be that seeing that model -- maybe with a model name/number -- will provide them some information they can use to get the shoe for you.
posted by amtho at 5:45 AM on November 17 [5 favorites]

I'm with majority here and would call the shop and ask if they can special order that size with the rubber sole. I have done similar things with the local places that are good to me and either they can or they can't and they always appreciate the opportunity. I've done this at shoe stores, outdoors stores, bike shops, and hardware stores.
posted by advicepig at 7:05 AM on November 17 [1 favorite]

FYI--unfortunately, the retail shop definitely can't get the specific shoe I want.
(I clarified this when I was in the shop--the shoe company (Alden) will make a run of uniquely configured boots in minimum quantity of 12. So, "the system" sort of favors the online guys who distinguish themselves with unique offerings they can justify through large volume.)
posted by Jon44 at 7:25 AM on November 17 [1 favorite]

well, if they can't get you what you need, they can't. Next time you need shoes that they can sell you, buy some there. Buy something else there now -- insoles or socks to give as Christmas gifts or whatever.

(I appreciate you asking this. It's so gross to me when people use brick and mortar boutiques to try stuff on and then order it on amazon to save $5, and then not connect to dots to stores closing.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:43 AM on November 17 [5 favorites]

Leave a good review, if there was a specific staff member who was especially helpful call/email and tell their manager, remember them next time you need shoes, and mention them to a friend if the topic comes up.
posted by cgg at 7:51 AM on November 17 [3 favorites]

Figuring out whether the merchandise will work for you is the reason stores let you try stuff on! You're not exploiting their customer service in a disingenuous way, since they can't sell you what you need. Leave a nice review on Yelp/Google.
posted by desuetude at 9:12 AM on November 17

I worked at an upscale shoe store for 8 years -- this sort of thing happened all the time. No biggie at all.
posted by thebots at 9:14 AM on November 17

the shoe company (Alden) will make a run of uniquely configured boots in minimum quantity of 12.

As an Alden fan myself, I really want to know what you're ordering.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 1:16 PM on November 17

Go back and buy insoles, socks, laces, whatever
posted by Caxton1476 at 1:37 PM on November 17 [3 favorites]

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