New York Daily Photo Analytics

Friday, January 02, 2009


Perhaps you've wondered what it feels like to actually shoot yourself in the foot. Would you like to find out without undergoing any actual physical injury? Then take a trip to Shoemania. Better yet, go on New Year's Day when half of America is at home sleeping or watching TV and the other half is desperate for something to do. And what do most desperate Americans do? Go shopping - shop 'til you drop and other colloquialisms summarize the recreational desires of many.
Shoemania is on 14th street / Union Square, one of the busiest areas in the entire city. They were open on New Year's day with a 50% off everything sale. I don't know if there was any monkey business with pricing prior to the sale or whether these were all discontinued models, but brands that never go on sale were at 50% off - Bruno Magli, Arche, Mephisto, Merrell, Clark's, etal.
So now you have the formula for true mania - 14th Street/Union Square, a workday off for most, people getting cabin fever, too cold to do anything outdoors, nothing much open except retail stores and most of them closed, a prominent location at 14th Street and Broadway with frontage and entrances on both streets and a post holiday 50% sale with an inventory of most major shoe brands.
Shoemania is the type of store that is quintessential New York style and delivers on all the negative stereotypes people have of New York and more. I found brusk service, overcrowdedness, sample shoes strewn everywhere in complete disarray, inadequate seating to try shoes, salesman barking requests to the back room in their wireless headsets and after a selection is brought out from the stock room, customers and salesmen try to find each other like lovers separated after a world war.
The cashier is truly an ice princess and must be a finalist on Make Me Laugh. She truly had no sense of humor and was unflinching with any attempts to melt her. A customer before me who had a problem was dealt with the unfeeling efficiency of a seasoned executioner.
On the positive side they do have a broad selection, good pricing and little sales pressure - it is just too chaotic to effectively wage a war of sales terror.
And the pièce de résistance? Our selection was brought to us in a box with a cover that was destroyed and literally over 1 inch longer than the box itself. The salesman did apologize that it was the best he could do. But amidst all the mania, we did procure a nice pair of black suede women's pumps made by Clarks for $49. Not bad at all ...


Joe Mama said...

Reminds me of the day I showed up for the 12 transistor radio that was on sale for $18.99 at S. Klein On The Square.

Brian Dubé said...

You go back a ways. When I first moved to the city, S. Klein was in the business. It was quite the low end discount operation.

Anonymous said...

its so funny to see americans always and everywhere phoning ^^

Brian Dubé said...

Anon - I only noticed the cell phones after shooting. This shot was what some photographers call a "hail mary." You shoot with the camera overhead, unable to focus, "praying" you get something good.

Joe Mama said...


Yes, the discount factor was part of its success. You had the feeling that you weren't paying for window treatments and granite counter tops, but for what you were buying. The clothes racks made out of pipes were pretty basic.

Anonymous said...

Not only are Americans always and everwhere phoning. All people do so in the worldwide !

Linda in Lancaster said...

. . . perhaps it's the only way the couple can hear each other over the din. They are in reality talking to each other