And the technician or whatever she is was the reverse of the pissed-off clerk who so ungraciously condescended to sell me shoes last year. Said she'd do what she could for the orthotics, but explained that they wouldn't go as flat as I wanted and must be worn with insoles. I brought out the offending shoes and demonstrated that there was no room in the shoe for insoles and orthotics and my feet all at once. 'These are way too narrow,' she said. 'Why would anyone sell you a shoe that fits so badly?" I tactfully said nothing.
She went off to work on the orthotics and I looked about the room she'd brought me to. Which had a shelf of shoes, different models from the ones displayed out front, and a new-to-me brand. 'What about these Blah-blahs?' I asked when she came back. 'They look wider than the New Balance ones.' She brought out a pair and we tried them with the orthotics, and she shook her head. 'You need the next size up and I don't have any.' She brought another pair, velcro with soft sides. Lovely comfy fit but-- 'Are they waterproof?' Sadly, no- the nylon uppers leak, but naturally. 'Wait a minute- let's try these.' She disappeared into a storage area and came back with large black shoes like boats, with the NB logo on the side.
'That's the old model! Before they redesigned it!' 'They didn't. See, it's a different model number from the ones you have. It's our most popular style-- everyone wears them. Nurses, teachers, sales clerks...' I put the full-length orthotics in, put the shoes on, and ohhh-- 'Hello old friend.' Am almost too happy to curse last year's sales clerk whose inability to recognize the store's most popular model has to date cost me well over $500. I have new shoes! That fit! And that can be dubbined into semi-waterproofness, as I well remember from 2012.