They walked into the shop that afternoon. It was a slow weekday, and there were few customers and plenty of room to sit.
It was one of the old style of shoe shops, the type now dying out in the days of “pile it high, sell it cheap”. The walls were lined with shoeboxes and the old timbers of the building sat well with the aroma of leather. It had been the same store, owned by the same family, for a century, and that family were obviously proud of the fact. They couldn’t compete with the big chains of shops, but what they could give was customer service.
They were just another couple. Nothing special. A tall, thin guy; a shorter, plumper woman. Both in black denim jeans. They’d walked in arm in arm, she’d rested herself on a cushioned bench, and they’d waited for an assistant to approach them.
“How can I help you?” the assistant said. Nothing special about her, either, apart from the badge that said “Hello, my name is Therese”.
“Can she try the dark red pair in the window? Size 37, please.” He had a Midlands accent and a smile that Therese thought was cute. She smiled back, having been glad to hear his politeness. Not everyone bothers these days. She nodded, and walked over to the other side of the shop. Her eyes scanned down a row of boxes, then found the one she was looking for. She slid it from the shelf, and brought beşevler escort it back to the couple. The woman had taken off her trainers, and the man was crouching beside her, next to her white-socked feet.
Therese opened the box and started to remove the packing paper. “Please. May I?” The man, now standing, deftly removed the box from her hands, and resumed his crouching position. She lowered her arms and placed them behind her back, in her habitual “I’m ready to help” position.
The man pulled a shoe from the box. It was a deep red, almost purple, court-shoe-pump with a kitten heel. With his other hand, he gently lifted the woman’s left leg slightly off the floor, and slipped the shoe onto her foot before lowering it gently to the carpet. He did the same with her right foot. Therese was reminded of Cinderella, and the Prince Charming finding his princess by fitting the glass slipper on her foot.
“Wiggle your toes”, he told her. She did so, as his fingers pressed on the front of the shoes to check the tightness. “Walk.”. She stood up, and gingerly took a few steps along the floor, turned and walked to sit back down, this time more confidently. “They feel okay?”
“Fine, no worries”, she said. She had a soft Scots lilt to her voice. “But maybe… not red?”
The man looked up at Therese. beylikdüzü escort She blushed slightly, but knew what she was about to be asked; “Black, white, cream, pink, dark green, navy.”
“We’ll try the pink.” He gracefully pulled the woman’s feet from the shoes, and by the time Therese had found the new pair, the red shoes were back in the box and the packing neatly arranged on top.
This time Therese handed the box straight over, receiving a “thank you” from the man. Again, with infinite care, he took it upon himself to fit them onto the woman. They were exactly the same, but in a soft creamy pink. Again, his fingers were dancing around the woman’s feet to check the fit. Again he asked her to walk up and down the shop. And again she told him that they felt fine.
“And you prefer this colour?”
“Good.” He packed away the trainers in the empty box, then handed the red pair back to Therese. “We’ll take the pink”.
Therese turned to put the unwanted box back on the shelf, but couldn’t believe what she saw when she turned back round.
The man and the woman were each holding one of the pink shoes. Simultaneously, they pulled them up to their mouths, and softly placed gentle kisses around the toes. Then, crossing arms, they held bilecik escort them out so that they could kiss the one each other was holding. They looked deeply into each other’s eyes for a few seconds, then he broke the gaze, taking the shoe from her and placing her feet in both pumps with the same gentle grace.
Everyone in the shop was now looking at them. A few customers, three assistants, the old owner over by the cash register, and Therese, now totally blushing. “How romantic!”, she thought, “and how… erotic!”
The couple stood up and walked over to the counter with the old cash register on. Therese could see the way the shape of his jeans had altered. The owner stammered for a couple of seconds, but eventually managed to get his words out: “That’ll be £39.99, please”. The man handed over two twenties, and they went to walk out, only stopping so the man could pick up the box containing her trainers. They left as they came, arm-in-arm, nothing special.
The door closed behind them, and there was silence in the shop for a few seconds. Therese wanted to move – she knew she’d want to take a break, go straight into the staff toilet, and think about what would happen when that couple got home. She was sure she was getting her underwear damp – but she didn’t want to be the one who broke the spell.
A woman, maybe in her fifties, was the one who spoke first. “Mr Gallagher,” she said, in the direction of the owner. “that’s what I call customer satisfaction.”
“Hmmm? Oh, yes, obviously a talented young man, Mrs Pearson.”, he replied. “…maybe we could learn something. After all, we have always been about excellent customer service…”