There had to be a reason I always had such trouble finding shoes, the right shoes that met the unique requirements of my dear feet. I can’t see anyone doing this to me on purpose. Frustrating an eighth-grade boy by giving him size 13 feet when most shoe stores carried up to size 11, 12 if he were lucky. Forcing him to shop at the men’s big and tall shops for shoes that were far from being in line with what the other kids with normal feet wore. My abnormal feet and I have been on quite a journey since then. In-grown toenails, a bunion removal, and countless bouts with ill-fitting foot ware. The one thing about my happy feet I have not been able to change is my Morton’s Toe. Both feet have been blessed with having second toes that are close to a quarter-inch longer than the big toes. Oh lucky me! This crazy foot construction blessing has meant that, when it comes to finding running shoes now, I have to buy one size larger to allow for foot dynamics on the trail. So instead of size 15s, I have to go with size 16 running shoes. Piece of cake right? More like mission: impossible!
For the past several years ASICS has been my go-to brand for running shoes. They carry shoes in my size — I guess because there are more of us blessed big-footers in the world — and they make, in my humble and non-professional opinion, a well constructed shoe. Let’s get something straight: this is not a commercial for ASICS running shoes. In fact, they are about to take some lumps.
Out with the old. My faithful road warriors. May you rest in peace in running shoe heaven.
Megan, my girlfriend, offered to gift me with a pair of new ASICS. It was time. My current pair have seen a lot of miles which definitely show. We had a good run together (sorry about the pun!) and it’s time to send them off to running shoe heaven. So I scoured the internet — maybe more like lightly scrubbed it — to find what would become my next pair of trail companions. And, as if it were meant to be, I found them on the ASICS web site. The Gel-Fluxes. They were the right size, the right width, right for my pronation style — for the record I’m an underpronator — and the price was right. Just under 60 bucks. That was about 40% off the original price. Quite a bargain for a brand of shoes that tends to be a bit pricey. Megan placed the order. In short order we got payment and shipping confirmation emails. I thought within five to seven business days I’d be once again on my way to runner’s nirvana.
I waited. Five days came and went. OK. I had to know it was a long shot that I’d get them early. Not to worry. I could be patient. The seventh business day came. Still no shoes. Perhaps there was an unforeseen circumstance that hampered the delivery. All right. I’ll give it another day. I did. The shoes did not arrive. The wait was over. Time to take action. I called UPS. When I finally got to speak with a fellow human I explained my predicament. The woman at the call center did some research. What she told me after doing some digging broke my heart: “Sir we never received the package to ship out.”
How could that be? ASICS confirmed the shoes, my Gel-Fluxes, were on their way to me. Why would they tell me that if this were not true. I called them up and asked them that very question. Their response, as Megan put it, was lame. The woman at ASICS told me the shoes were out of stock and I would not be getting them. Why did they send out a shipping confirmation? She never answered that question. Why did they not realize the oversight and reach out to us with a refund? She never answered that question, either. She did apologize for the “inconvenience” and offered a 10% discount on a future order. Looking out for my fellow runners I pointed out, purely as an operational issue, that perhaps there was a flaw in their system if something like this could happen apparently unnoticed. Again, no direct response. Lame.
Upset over how all this went down I looked at getting non-ASICS shoes. Ultimately, after Megan made all the right points about quality, fit, and my already long-standing history with them, we went with another pair of ASICS. But we did get them from an online retailer, not the company’s site. I went with the Gel-Nimbus 16s. We placed the order, got the online confirmations, and five to seven business days later I finally had my new pair of running shoes. They are fantastic shoes and I’m happy.
Gel-Nimbus. Hello gorgeous! Just looking at you makes my feet feel fleet! And I’m willing to overlook how your name sounds like a Harry Potter flying broom.
Then something unexpected happened on the eighth day. I came home and found a box at my front door. I wasn’t expecting any other deliveries. I got the box inside and looked at the sender. It was from ASICS. I opened the box and found a pair of size 16 Gel-Fluxes, the same size, style, and color that we’d initially ordered and that ASICS later told us was out of stock. I told Megan what happened. She confirmed her account had been credited for the shoes that never came, the shoes ASICS told us — for all intents and purposes — did not exist. Yet here they were.
Wait, is that a unicorn? A sasquatch? A yeti? No, those are just a pair of size 16 Gel-Fluxes.
So it would appear that I got a free pair of running shoes. Megan and I have talked about what we should do about them. What’s the right thing to do. I received the shoes Friday night (1/23/15) after the ASICS call center closed for the week. The earliest I could contact them about this apparent second oversight is Monday (1/26/15). What should I do? What would you do? Stay tuned…