Footwear is a big deal if you walk a lot. And since I live in a walkable neighbourhood, I recognize the importance of properly fitted, comfortable shoes. I’m also at that age where current fashion trends don’t faze me. It’s all about classic style, comfort and value for money.

 Since I also believe in supporting local businesses, I thought I’d go for an afternoon walk (to get my feet puffy) and then try on some shoes at The Shoe Inn in Westboro. I wasn’t convinced that I’d buy them there, because I like to shop around for price. But, if the service is really good, I don’t mind paying a bit extra to support a local business.

I walked about 6k before I arrived mid-afternoon. There were no other customers in the store, and when I walked in the bell chimed and I almost didn’t see the middle-aged woman sitting behind the counter. She didn’t look up or say hello. So I started the conversation:

Me: Hi, I was looking on-line at different shoes and I can’t remember which brand was made for wider feet.

Her: We don’t carry any wide widths.

Me: Okay, but is there a brand that is made wider? I know some Ecco shoes are made wider.

Her: We don’t carry Ecco.

Me: Okay.

I walk into the long narrow store, and pause beside a line of shoes that look wide-ish.

Her: Those ones are a bit wider.

Me (holding up a black shoe): Are these European sizing?

Her: Yes.

Me: Do you have them in a 38 or 39?

Her: I’ll check.

After less than two minutes she returns.

Her: No. I have 37 and 41.

I wondered what I should do next. She didn’t look for my size in another colour or try to sell me another style in the same shoe. So I left, and won’t be back.

That service ranks right up there with Café Ventuno and Fresh Air Experience: businesses that I have wanted to support but completely lacking in service. 

Lesson learned: althought it’s called the Shoe Inn, she couldn’t shoo me out fast enough!