Friday, September 7, 2012

If You Can't Say Something Nice... ~ Life Lessons from Buying Tap Shoes

My daughter is in dance class this year. Both of them are actually.

In my efforts to be prepared and efficient, I made sure that both of them had all the shoes and other paraphernalia they needed for class about a week before it was scheduled to start.

On the day of their first class I discovered that my younger daughter was missing a tap shoe. She went to her first tap class in ballet slippers. I turned the house upside down and sideways looking for the shoe. Nowhere.   Our best guess? My son liked it and either hid it somewhere or threw it away.

She went to her second tap class in ballet shoes.

After another week of searching, I gave in and said we'd replace them, but I'd try the used bin and the dance studio first. They didn't have any small enough.

She went to her third tap class in ballet shoes.

So suffice it to say, I simply had to go get her some tap shoes before her fourth class which was this week. There are a few important things to know about the purchasing of the tap shoes.

The shoes. 
1. They had to be tan. 

In case you are a normal person and don't have a daughter in dance class, let me explain the import of this statement. It means you have to go to a dancewear specialty store because places like Wal-Mart, Academy Sporting Goods, and Payless sell black tap shoes.

2. Her foot is tiny.

Which means that not every dancewear store is going to have shoes small enough.

3. There aren't many dancewear stores around me.

In fact, there's really only one. I usually drive to one near my parents' house about 45 minutes away. There's a super nice lady there, she gives me a discount, and my mom swings by to help watch my other children while the one getting shoes is fitted. I didn't have time to do that this week.

4. Dance shoes are a bit finicky in how they fit.

So I couldn't just order a pair off the internet. Which is painful. Because I order almost everything aside from food over the internet. Sometimes I even get food.

5. The dancewear stores that are around me have funky hours.

Even my normal one by my parents. It doesn't open until 2:30 which makes sense as most of her customers have, you know, school. That doesn't make it any less frustrating.

So my mission, which absolutely had to be accomplished, had a lot of difficulties.

Monday was labor day. My husband had it off so I thought we'd go get tap shoes Monday.

The store near me is closed on Monday. It's actually always closed on Monday, not just labor day. But on Tuesday (which, by the way, is dance class day) she's open from twelve to six.

So I think, not a problem. My two youngest usually go down for a nap at noon, but we can delay long enough to run down the street and get tap shoes. Shouldn't be a problem.

There was a problem.

I pull in the parking lot and see a sign on the door that the credit card machine is down so they can only take cash and check right now. Don't have my checkbook or enough cash on me, so I run down the street to the Publix ATM (which charges a fee, but it was ten minutes closer than my nearest bank branch).

I get cash, come back, it's 12:30. Get the kids out of the car, go up to the door. And it's locked. No movement inside. Nobody's there. The store isn't open.

Not getting tap shoes is not an option.

So we pile back in the car, my son is VERY not happy about this, and I'm so frustrated I'm about to cry.

And this is where I make the key mistake in this whole nasty business. I called the store's phone number, just to see if she was in the back and had forgotten to unlock the door or something like that. No answer. In my frustration I leave a polite but not anywhere near nice message about how she should be open when she says she'll be open and I guess she won't be getting my business.

As soon as I hang up I think, "This is going to come back and bite me."

We get in the car and I head toward a big sporting goods store about twenty minutes away. It's my next best shot. I have my mom call around while I'm in route in case there's somewhere else I can go. Well, the sporting goods store only has black shoes and the other dance stores don't open until after school which means I don't have time to get to them and get back in time for dance class.

As I turn around to drive home, I realize I'm going to have to check the first store again and see if it's open. Because I pass it on my way home. And not getting tap shoes isn't an option. By this point my daughter is in the back crying because she thinks she's going to tap class in her ballet shoes again. Not good.

Sure enough she's open now.

We go in. It takes me five minutes to get up the courage to confess that I'm the meanie who left the nasty message and I'm really sorry.

She hasn't checked her messages yet. Which, in a way, is a good thing, because when she hears it she'll know I apologized.

We got our shoes.

She gave me a discount because of the earlier trouble.

I felt like dirt.

Why do I tell you this story? Because it just goes to show that the old adage is right. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. You never know when it will come back to bite you.

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