Sneakers That Rock


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I hate shopping…. but there we were on Saturday, looking for sneakers for my daughter at the mall. I’d already been wrung out by the experience of shopping for clothes with her.

If I even looked at a rack of clothes, that was reason enough to consider them hopelessly uncool. So I sat outside the fitting room and watched TV while she chose and tried on clothes.

So next, it was on to buying sneakers.

Contrast experience at two stores – Foot Locker was the one we first went into. we were studiously ignored by the 3 shop assistants in there – but we pressed on nontheless to look see – and found one that she wanted to try. Somehow a mother’s taste in sneakers is ok, while taste in clothes is not,…. go figure. Everything was arranged along the shelves just as you would see in every other shoe store.

We made eye contact with the assistant who was trying to walk past us without talking to us and asked if there was one in her size. He took the shoe, to the guy in charge – who said – I don’t think so – anyway, after some time looking, came back and said No. The manager would not speak with us, he seemed focused on “training” the assistant – so when we asked questions like “are there any in a half-size larger”, the assistant would ask the manager and the manager would reply officiously unhelpful back to the assistant and the assistant would come back and say “No”.

We made a half-hearted attempt to think about whether any other sneakers were interesting and gave up

Feeling even more wrung out, we slunk out feeling that our quest for rockin’ sneakers was doomed.

Then we went to Journey’s – it was a much smaller shop – the stuff was displayed “in the round” on revolving stands, and there were matching bags and neat looking accessories that looked a little funky.

The shop assistants looked pretty happy to be there and greeted us immediately in a welcoming manner. We drifted here and there and finally found a sneaker she wanted to try on.

The older assistant went round the back and pretty quickly got the right size, which my daughter tried on. Another sneaker caught our eye. It looked different – multi-colored images of people’s legs, little hearts on balloons on a white background.

Of course, all were sold out. Then the assistant said – “you can have the right size shipped to you for $2.95, but let me take a last look in the storage downstairs.” He was happy to help and glad we had found something we liked – yes, we BOTH liked it.

He came back empty handed and seeing our disappointment, said – “you can have the one on display which is your size”.

Then he asked if we wanted socks – and yes, indeed we did need socks.

Finally after all the transaction was done, he said – “You chose Converse’s contest winner”. And he opened the catalog for Converse and showed us 19 year Maria from San Antonio who had won $1000 (in Converse shoes) for designing that sneaker.

So we were reinforced in our pleasure of having chosen something new and fresh and a sneaker had a story behind it.

Everyone who has seen the sneakers since then have admired them. And I have a great story to tell about a good case study in Crowd-Sourcing by Converse. See more of what they are doing with affiliation marketing at

I am fulfilled as a mother, having sacrificed my Saturday to go to the mall.

And my daughter has a “Rockin’ pair of Sneakers”.

Mei Lin Fung
Institute of Service Organization Excellence, Inc.
Mei Lin Fung, blogs on ebCEM – evidence-based Customer Experience Management. The Service Leadership Transformation Program developed in an innovative public private partnership with Avaya and Oklahoma State University received the Phillip Crosby Golden Medallion in 27. Her curriculum has been implemented by Microsoft Telesales in China, and Johnson and Johnson in Asia. She designed the first US Department of Labor approved Contact Center Apprenticeship Program in Oklahoma. Blog: Learning to Earn Customer Trust by Mei Lin Fung


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