Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Wife -- Imelda?

Carol and I have been married a long time.

Occasionally people will ask, "How long have you two been married?" Carol will usually begin to do the math in her head (which doesn't take her long because she's a very sharp lady). I, however, immediately blurt out the correct answer, which is (take note husbands), "Not long enough!"

That always earns me a smile and points. NOW who's sharp?

But I digress: In those many years since we said our vows, we have noticed a recurring phenomenon. We will occasionally find a product we really like. It's always just right for us. It fits our needs perfectly. It's comfortable, in every sense of the word. It's well-made. Sometimes it's even available at a lower price than similar but not-so-perfect items.

These products can be a simple as a hand-held gadget for the kitchen or as complex as a motor vehicle. A garment. A tool (hand or powered). A bed-pillow. A particular restaurant's version of General Joe Chicken (Szechuan style -- yum!), and so on.

How do we find these perfect items? Well, we shop carefully. We compare. We discuss our likes and dislikes about similar items we've tried that aren't perfect. Plus sometimes we're just damn lucky and stumble onto "it."

What's the recurring phenomenon I mentioned? It seems to be one of those immutable laws of nature, like the fact that the dropped slice of bread always lands buttered-side down. It is the apparent FACT that not long after we find one of these items/products/devices/garments, etc., it is discontinued.

Oh, maybe not immediately, but soon! Want some examples?

I've written on this blog in the past about our early SUV, a 1984 3/4-ton Dodge van. We put over 200,000 miles on that van in 13 years, and loved it! By 1996 Dodge had improved their van but hadn't changed the basic design, so we gave the old one away (literally, to a friend) and bought a brand new one just like it. By 2008 the "new" one was getting long in the tooth, so we thought about replacing it. You guessed it; Chrysler had quit making the vans.

I mentioned General Joe chicken above. Here in Victoria there was just one restaurant that got it right, with just enough hot spices to make your nose sniffly, but not enough to burn away the taste. Yep, they went out of business.

Anyway, our solution to this damnable phenomenon is this: Once we find one of those perfect products (other than perishable stuff, like General Joe chicken) we stock up.

Is there a point here? Does it have anything to do with the post's title? YES!!

My wonderful wife Carol has discovered the most comfortable shoes she has EVER worn in all those years of our marriage and beyond. You may have seen them—they are Skechers Shape-Ups. (No, I'm NOT getting paid to endorse this product.) (Darn it.) These are walking shoes with a boat-shaped, rounded sole that allows you to roll from heel to toe as you walk.

This rounded sole is cushioned and designed such that the entire sole of your foot is supported throughout each step -- even if you have very high arches. Some reviews say it feels like walking in sand, but without the resistance.

Now . . . YOU may not like these shoes. But Carol says she may never wear another shoe in her life that isn't one of these Shape-Ups.

After wearing her first pair for about a week, she bought another. Then another. Then a pair of low-top boots of the same brand and design. She's going to try playing golf in a pair (instead of her soft-spiked golf shoes), and if successful will keep a pair just for golf.

Yesterday we bought, assembled and installed in her closet a horizontal storage rack just to contain all these shoes. This for a lady who already had plenty of shoes she used to think were comfortable.

So . . . All of that to say these two things: First, if you want to try on a pair of these Shechers Shape-Ups for yourself you'd better hurry. Experience tells me they won't be making them for much longer.

And second, if they DO keep making them for a few more months you may want to buy stock in the companys that makes shoe storage racks, because Imelda Carol will be buying more of them soon.


Jack K. said...

It's amazing how couples can learn to live together. Maryann and I have been together quite a few years. (Thanks for the "not long enough" comment. I'll keep it in mind.) We rely on each other to finish sentences, provide names, addresses, etc.

Glad to learn Carol loves her Skechers Shape-Ups. I hate to tell you, but I heard somewhere that, after careful testing, they don't do what they are touted to do. So if Carol finds them comfortable, she should buy as many as your budget and good humor will allow. After all, if she finds them satisfactory, what do testers know? lol

I find your views quite accurate on the demise of those items that we find so wonderful.

kenju said...

As soon as our snow and ice melts, I'll go looking for them. Maybe they'll replace the fake crocs I've been wearing for 3-4 years - and guess what? - they were discontinued by the mfg.

Duke_of_Earle said...


Yeah, neither one of us believed the hype about "get a workout without ever going to the gym." Why would anyone think that walking with a rounded soled shoe would help your posture and all the other claims?

All Carol cared about is the fact that they're COMFORTABLE!

And the fact that the products we really like don't stay around very long is just more evidence that we are out of the "mainstream" of U.S. consumers, whatever THAT is.

The burdens we bear!


Duke_of_Earle said...


Yep. That's the way it goes. If you like the Shape-Ups, you'd better stock up fast!


jan said...

I thought it was just me. As soon as I find a product I like it gets discontinued.

But I've learned to look for closeouts. I once bought six pairs of Reebok walking shoes I liked and ten bras that fit.

Nankin said...

Oh, how true. I can't tell ou how many times I've found a body lotion in a scent that doesn't send my allergies into a torrent...and then they discontinue it.

I'm going try these Shape Ups on Carol's reccomendation of comfort. When my feet hurt, my whole body gets into the act.

Ashley Mc. said...

John, please tell Imelda not to worry. Shape-ups will be around for a long time. (I have more then 1 inside source from their main office in Manhattan Beach). Especially after seeing their commercial during the superbowl...and they just launched - I know Shape-ups aren't going away any time soon.

Great story about your wife btw.



P.S. - they have done a handful of testing (although paid for by them) and all for the most part have been successful. The real measure of success is from the thousands of happy wearers / testimonials online. There's nothing better then word of mouth. ;)