I decided it was time to get some new running shoes for the treadmill and to cascade my other shoes.
Last fall / early winter I had purchases a set of Nike Vomeros but I found they didn’t work quite right for me (felt like my stance was too far back on my heels) so I went back to my old standby that I have used for years – the Nike Pegasus. I have used these as my main running shoe back to 2002 for sure but maybe longer. I have tried others from Nike and from other companies but I always come back to the Pegasus in the end.
So last fall I purchased a set of Pegasus to use for my Goofy Challenge training but they were such a frightening colour that I really didn’t want to wear them out of the house! I tend to wear running shoes to work as well that are usually a cascade of my running pair so I usually change my shoes out while they still have some cushioning so that they are still good to walk in but really wouldn’t do too many more high mileage runs in them. So in this case I started using my Vomeros for work and using the scarey Pegasus shoes on the treadmill.
I did want to start running more outside as I started getting into my training and we started getting lots of snow so I didn’t want to take the Pegasus shoes out in the snow and then get the treadmill dirty. To solve this I ended up finding gortex versions of the Pegasus on sale at the Running Room at such a good price I ordered a couple pairs. I kept one pair in the box and used the second pair for outdoor runs (the gortex was great for running in the snow and slush that I had to deal with). As more mileage was put in I eventually found that switching between the Vomeros for walking and work and the Pegasus for running made the Vomeros feel less comfortable than I would like. So I cascaded the first pair of gortex Pegasus to my work and walking shoe and started using the boxed pair for outdoor runs. Still using the lime green monstrosities on the treadmill.
Then the treadmill broke down and I guess I ran on the damaged, sagging deck for so long that once we replaced the treadmill I couldn’t run in the green Pegasus shoes any more. They had been warped to compensate for the sag in the treadmill deck (more of this story here: http://biggoofyrunner.com/and-it-is-toast/ and here: http://biggoofyrunner.com/new-treadmill/ )
So I tossed the scarey shoes and started using the lowest mileage gortex Pegasus on the treadmill – it was cold enough outside at this point that I was already doing all my runs on the treadmill so tracking in dirt wasn’t a worry.
For the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge I used the lowest mileage gortex Pegasus for the races and the higher mileage ones for my walking around shoes. This worked really well.
Now a month later and the higher mileage shoes are basically about done and I want to cascade the shoes again but I really don’t want to get the scarey green Pegasus again so I started doing some looking around and was pleasantly surprised to find that Nike is in the process of swapping out to the next model year.
I saw that the Running Room didn’t have any of the new version shown as available online but I figured I would check out one of the local stores to see if they had them in stock locally.
Now I have been doing my running gear shopping at the Running Room since 2002 at least and no matter how in or out of shape I have been I have never felt out of place or unwelcome walking into one of the stores. I had always thought it was one of the core values of the company to grow running and be inclusive of all (thus the invention of Walking Room). I had been in the store back in January shortly before heading to the Goofy to pick up extra running shorts and had great service but I went in about a week and a half ago and I got a the distinct impression from the clerk at the store that she didn’t think I belonged there. There were 2 clerks there and the second one seemed less than friendly to this clerk so I chalked my impression of being unwelcome up to just that one clerk’s attitude. They didn’t have the new ones in my size yet at any of the stores in the city and they offered me a new version of the gortex but I wanted a standard version so I headed out figuring I would check again in a week or 2 to see if they had updated their stock and put the attitude out of my head.
So today I went back to the same store and went in with my wife and kids as my wife was looking for some gear. As soon as we walked in we were greeted normally by the staff member working the cash register but very quickly her questions to me took on a very condescending tone. I told her specifically what shoes I was looking for (which should usually be an indication that I have half a clue) but her questions and her attitude continued and she then tried to sell me gortex instead of the normal and then tried to sneak a pair of the scary green ones on me too. Finally it came out that they don’t have the new ones yet (even though they are on display) so at that point we walked out while I am thinking to myself “What the hell? Is it just me or was that really insulting?” – this was a different clerk than the one I ran into a week ago. While I was trying to decide internally if it was just in my head my wife asked “what in the world was that?”. It wasn’t just me she had caught the same impression I had about not being welcome or that I couldn’t possibly know what I wanted. As we talked it through we realized too that even though I had said that I was there to get shoes she never once looked at what I was wearing (a set of the gortex Pegasus) to get an idea of what I use to offer something similar – rudeness impression aside this seems like a fundamental business item – if you are selling someone shoes check out what they are currently wearing.
We then went on to find what my wife was looking for at a different store (she wanted a full body suit similar to what tri-athletes use for use on the treadmill) which it ends up Running Room doesn’t sell anyway.
And then we went to Stride Ahead to check for my shoes. What a difference in service level – the guy knew what he was talking about, recognized what I was wearing and was able to compare and contrast what I wanted versus what I had. On their display they had a different colour version than what I was looking for but it wasn’t scary green so I figured it would work and when he went to check he found he had my size in the colour version that I wanted they just didn’t have it on display. Excellent!
My wife has a relatively longer foot for a woman but needs a narrow running shoe and when she saw the service improvement she decided to check their stock for narrow width womens’ running shoes and they had a couple different makes and models which the clerk was able to identify and talk about quickly solely based on experience without having to look anything up – again showing a very good customer service. In the end we walked with over $300 worth of shoes.
Fantastic work Stride Ahead – Running Room…what the hell? In over 10 years of going to the store I had never felt like I wasn’t welcome and then twice in a 2 week period I have issues? I hope this is just a glitch and I will buy from them again I imagine but at least in the short term I will be leaning toward shopping at Stride Ahead instead.