Wednesday, 1 October 2008

size 2E

The rain was pouring down this morning, so I stayed in my comfy chair with a book.

In the afternoon when I looked out of the window I saw the snackbar across the road being emptied. They were loading the whole interior into moving vans. I've known the two guys who run the shop for almost 30 years. They're Egyptian and make the best halal french fries in the east of town. I walked over to ask Sem, the owner what was happening; maybe he had sold the place?

It turned out that the greengrocer's shop next door had been leaking water into the ground for years which had finally rotted the beams under Sem's floor which consequently had collapsed; the new level was half a meter lower! Sem was not a happy camper at all. He was looking at closing for over six weeks while the whole floor, the electrical system, water and gas pipes had to be replaced.

collapsed floor at zizi

I wanted to buy new walking shoes. I've got a very comfortable pair of New Balance shoes, so I thought I'd buy another pair. I looked on the internet for dealers in Amsterdam. There are a few in town, so I walked that way. First I went past Ali's, since I still have one of her books. She wasn't at home, so I walked along the Amstel, past the Amstel Hotel and then onto Weteringschans. On Vijzelgracht the North-South metro works had caused another collapse: a whole row of houses had subsided due to the construction works. The people who lived there had to move out on a minute's notice.

north-south of up-down?

I walked into the shoe shop on Vijzelstraat and asked about New Balance shoes. I told the salesman I have wide feet and therefore needed the 2E width size that NB shoes have. He went to the basement and came back with a bunch of boxes. It were all NB shoes with a D width. I told him again I needed 2E and then he told me he didn't have any, but could order them for me. I said I wanted to try them on before I would buy. He didn't want to order if I didn't promise to buy.

This is the fourth NB dealer that didn't have 2E sizes in stock. I asked the salesman what the use is of a manufacturer that makes 2E sizes when nobody stocks them. He said they never sell any. I can imagine you don't sell any if you don't have them in stock. I just wonder where the hell I can buy shoes that fit me if nobody wants to sell them?

I walked out of the shop and onto Herengracht...


... and down Spiegelstraat. I hadn't been here here in ages. It is still full of strange antique shops and little art galleries.


I walked back onto Weteringschans and went to Carl Denig. They've been selling walking shoes since 1906 according to their propaganda. They've also been sending people with size 2E away since 1906. I think they could have made a fortune if they'd been the only shop in Amsterdam that stocks 2E shoes… Imagine all those thousands of people since 1906 who didn't buy their size 2E there…

The salesman here told me he had bought wide shoes in Lelystad. That's only an hour on the train. Why didn't I try there? I was tempted to tell him where he could stick his wide shoes but didn't. Instead I walked out the door and took a tram back home. If I can't find shoes I can't walk (it had also started to rain again).


I was soaked when I got home; an afternoon in town but nothing to show for it. Maybe I'll write the NB factory and see if they're willing to send me 2E size shoes for free. Nobody is selling them, so they must have a large collection in their warehouses gathering dust.

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