Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Running Shoe Complaint and Book Club Discussion Guide

Husband always buys same brand of running shoes.

Goes to same running store.

But today, Sir, you must try this new brand.  They have extra cushioning.  Resistant to temperature changes. Techtonic supernova technology. Your Feet Will Love Them.

What if they don't fit right?

If they don't fit right you can bring them back.

Sounds fair.

Runs in store aisle.

Seem fine.

Runs outside.

Significantly less fine.

Returns to running store.

Brings back this new brand of running shoes.

Not. So. Fast.

You can't bring back these shoes Sir because you ran in them.

Yes I did. They are running shoes.

You ran outside.

Yes I did. This is where I run.  (Husband too polite to say that running up and down store aisle would make training insurmountably cumbersome).

We can not take them back.

Husband says I don't need these shoes. They don't fit me correctly. I will leave them with you and I will also buy the same brand that I always buy.

Husband watched me on TV  looking quite adorable in my turquoise necklace explaining to all of Canada how and why to complain (click here to view a summary video) yet he still calmly put down the running shoes, bought a SECOND pair of running shoes from the SAME store and walked out satisfied.

Couple of days later his phone rings.

Sir you were in our store a few days ago attempting to return a pair of running shoes.

Yes that's me.

I said We couldn't take them back because you ran in them. Outside.

Yes that is where I run.

Good news. I took the shoes in the back and was able to clean the soles. They are as good as new.  I can resell them no problem.


So we have gone ahead and issued you a complete refund for the shoes.

Book Club Discussion Questions

1. Running is often a metaphor for escaping.  Discuss whether you are someone who runs "in the aisle" or someone who runs "outside".  What are the similarities? Differences? Can someone be both an aisle runner and an outdoor runner? Would they wear the same shoes?

2. The narrator alludes to her television appearance and her turquoise necklace.  Does the necklace hold magical complaint related powers? If the husband in the story was wearing a turquoise necklace would he have complained in the running store?  Discuss the symbolism of turquoise as a necklace, a tool for gender identification and a refutation of magical thinking in heterosexual relationships.

3. The sales person character washes the soles of the shoes and refunds the husband's money in full.  What do you think his or her motivation was? In the Bible, there are several instances of foot washing. Abraham washes his guests' feet in the desert, and Jesus washes his disciples' feet.  Was the author using these allegories to illustrate the best possible customer service? Or do you think the sales person was just trying to be nice? 

4. In this story, not complaining worked as well as complaining.  Does that mean that complaining isn't worth the trouble? Or is this the narrator's way of telling us that complaining is more of an art than a science?

Friday, 20 February 2015

The Back Story

Important TV show calls and asks about complaining.

Calls again.

Of course I can get to Toronto.

Of course I can be there tomorrow morning.

Arrive at destination at 10:07am and realize that I have to be at taping at 10:30am.

Further realize that if I have to be at taping at 10:30am so does my face.


Racing through airport like crazed lunatic leisurely strolling past gates when remember that when en route to give keynote speech in Thunder Bay bought lipstick at favorite makeup store in airport.

Um, this might be a strange question but I'm uh going to be interviewed on a TV show today and as you can see I'm like beyond useless with my face.

Yes I can see that, says makeup artist with red jewel glued to chin. How much time do we have?

Fifteen minutes.

That's it? Well I will do what I can.

And then, like a chin jeweled angel, Soraya the makeup artist made me as passable as she could with only fake eyelashes and Miami Beach pink lipstick as her spirit guides.

Racing through airport like crazed lunatic walking slowly to the Ground Transport area I look out the window and don't see any cabs.

Just then, like an angel (but without the chin jewel) a cab driver appears and says You looking for Taxi ma'am.

Yes, as a matter of fact I am.

Start following him and have a minute of hey wait a second where is this guy taking me.

So what I'm just supposed to trust you?

He takes a photocopied license out of his pocket.

Just then, hallway doors burst open and like two angels, fully uniformed Airport Police call out Hey Ma'am did this man tell you he was a taxi driver?

Yes, as a matter of fact he did.

He is an illegal taxi driver.  He has no right to pick up fares here.  He would lead you to his car and not

Before they could finish their sentence, I was already racing through the airport like crazed lunatic to the official taxi stand and jumping into a cab.

Running so quickly I forgot to check something.

Did the Airport Police have chin jewels?

Morals of The Story:
1. Cab drivers without chin jewels can not be trusted.
2. Miami beach pink lipstick has no business in Thunder Bay
3. Where is Della Reese when you need her (look it up)
4. If someone who is an expert in customer service, and WHO IS ON HER WAY TO BE INTERVIEWED FOR A NATIONAL TELEVISION SHOW ABOUT CONSUMER PROTECTION can be duped by a wannabe cab driver, it can happen to anyone. Please be careful.