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About a month ago I worked with a young woman who bought quite a few things from the company that employs me. Today I was thinking about her, I'm not sure why she drifted through my mind but I was speaking with someone else and wondering how she was doing with her foot problems when she walked into the store with her mother. Through the course of the return process she explained that her podiatrist was upset that I had recommended the wrong shoe/orthotic combination for her foot.*

To give you some background on the situation I have to explain that orthotic inserts are one of the big money makers for people in the footwear industry. Pitched as a wellness product they are recommended by orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, chiropractors and podiatrists. Every year the company I work for makes millions of dollars selling orthotics, they are a product that I have personally benefited from and because I understand how they work I'm generally very good at helping people understand the benefits an over the counter arch support will provide.

If the company I worked for really wanted to help people they would train their sales associates how to fit people with shoes and orthotics because very few wardrobing experiences can compete with getting a great pair of shoes that function as a natural extension of your body. If you go behind the scenes at a shoe store you'll see vendor sponsored incentive plans and pet shoes, you can find daily, weekly and even hourly sales goals however you won't find any manuals explaining the difference between a stability/motion control running shoe and a cushioned one designed for a completely different foot.

At work I consider myself a professional rather than an expert. I'm aware that I have a lot to learn, I'm not afraid to tell people that I don't know the answer to their question and I'm also willing to let customers walk out with nothing rather than push them into a product they aren't comfortable with. Naturally I want to sell shoes but the way I work is different than the way some other people work. I consider it a privilege to work with me so if customers treat me like crap or aren't interested in what I could tell them about their foot I provide exceptional customer service but my goal is to get them in and out of the store as quickly as possible so I can focus on the people who want to work with me. 

Daylogs are difficult for me to wrap up because there is no good way for me to end the story. Tomorrow I will go back to work and deal with the same set of people and problems. Incomprehensible stupidity is everywhere, most people don't care about good supportive shoes the way I do, very few people are willing to sit for the amount of time it takes to help them understand their foot so I'm selective about what I say to people. Maybe this sounds callous but that's my way of protecting myself from people who walk into the store and want to dicker on the price of a clearance shoe. Times are tight for almost everyone these days and I will work with any shoe budget you give me but if you disrespect my livelihood and lack the common courtesy I feel every person is entitled to then I consider you toxic and have no use for you.

*Shoes, the right socks and orthotics are a system in which each of the components can be manipulated to increase wellness, balance and end comfort. This system works best when you understand what each component has been designed to do and how they can work synergistically with each other. Due to lack of training I had inadvertantly created a situation where this woman's arches were being strained due to an excessive amount of support.


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