Last week I was reminded of the virtue of small, locally owned stores.
Last fall Doug realized his old cleats were dead, so we went in search of new ones. The one and only big sports equipment store around here is Dick's Sporting Goods (it's okay to laugh at the name), so we obviously went there first. It was here that Doug fell madly in love with these:
Crazy, I know. But he tried out several others in our price range, and they just didn't compare. They didn't have his size, so we decided that we'd try again in a few weeks. When we did, we found out they not only did they not still have his size, but the kid working there did not know anything about anything (note: this is probably not true, but it's sure how it felt).
We tried back again in a few weeks. Nothing. And, they still knew nothing.
We checked online, and they were really hard to find. That's when we figured out that these cleats were being discontinued. Lame.
At a loss of where else to go, we went back to Dick's after the holidays. We tried to find new cleats he liked, but he wasn't impressed with anything else. Dick's offered to check with other Dick's stores in the area for his size. They apparently found his size, so they promised to have them sent over in 2 to 3 days. Well after many phone calls and visits, they finally told him they had lost his order and no other stores had his size. Thanks, Dick's.
So we decided to just pick a different pair of cleats and buy them online. He still wasn't certain what size he was, so a quick visit to our local mall helped us figure that out. Note: the kid that worked there also didn't know anything about cleats. Or soccer. Or football. Or anything but basketball.
This is where the miracle comes in: as we were leaving the mall, we passed a small store called Disco Sports. It sounded like a sports bar, but they claimed to have sports equipment so we decided to check 'er out. And BOY are we glad we did.
At dear sweet Disco Sports we found the original dream pair of cleats available in multiple sizes. The kid that helped us is a soccer and football player, so he actually had excellent feedback on the different types of cleats. He also knew how to make eye contact with people. The price was really good, and I even discovered they have a whole dance section in case I ever suddenly take up ballet one day. We were THRILLED.
In our financial state, it's really easy to turn to the big stores to try and get a deal. Wal-Mart, Target, Dick's (it's okay, laugh), and such. But what a great reminder that if you want service, quality, and people that know their stuff, you can't rely on the 17-year-old working at a big store to give you what you want. He just doesn't get paid enough, and he'd rather be playing basketball anyway.