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Dear Clarks, do you hate parents?

Shopping for school shoes is a nightmare at the best of times – this year I left the whole shopping for uniform thing a bit late, we didn’t need many bits and Bigger grows like a weed during the summer (last year she grew over THREE inches between June and September…) so I didn’t want to be buying uniform that would be too small before we’d even done the first day of term photographs

What I hadn’t counted on was the swarm of other parents having picked the shops empty of school issue black shoes – live and learn I guess

Shopping for children’s shoes is never a fun process – not only is there the waiting to get measured whilst trying to prevent your children from spotting some totally unsuitable, eye wateringly expensive, doesn’t even come in their size object of desire but then you have to get them to cooperate whilst their feet are sized and then not reject every single shoe just because it is black (of course it is black darling because that’s the colour you have to have for school so just accept it’s going to be black…)

And then there’s the whole wanting something built to last rather than something pretty that will fall into pieces in seconds – thank goodness Bigger is still young enough to be distracted by ‘oh look it has a BOW!’ from the Mummy friendly ‘oh look it has really thick soles that should last well’

Which presumably was where I went wrong

Admittedly we only had a choice of 2 pairs in her size and one was about as substantial as a wet paper bag so naturally I grabbed the sturdier pair, handed over my credit card with only a small wince of financial pain and left rejoicing that we hadn’t had any temper tantrums and I could tick something off the list without having had to resort to threats or needing a lie down

And that I thought was the last of it – I could rest happy in the knowledge that we had AGES before we’d need to go through it all again

Until some oh-so-helpful little girl in the year above happened to mention to Bigger at breaktime that these oh-so-sensible-looking shoes had a little bit of a secret and some oh-so-helpful-adult had hidden away a little toy in the soles of her shoes

Which naturally she had to take out and naturally became the most precious thing in her world and also came with some computer game you could play

Needless to say the inevitable occurred and by home time the next day the teeny tiny totally superfluous toy had got lost – a sad Bigger was collected from her classroom, we spent a fruitless 20 minutes looking over the playground for the toy and the weekend was punctuated by ‘I am so sad because I have lost my toy’

School shoes don’t need gimmicks to sell – we have to buy at least one pair of boring, sturdy shoes each year for each child, we are a CAPTIVE audience and all we want is a hassle free, lasts for a few terms, doesn’t harm their feet and polishes up nicely plain boring shoe

We don’t need little toys that are going to get lost hidden away – the only thing those toys are going to do is cause us trouble and we don’t need that from a pair of school shoes

These are totally pointless toys, we don’t want them, we don’t need them and I cannot imagine what they good people at Clarks were thinking when they decided that they were A Good Idea

I can only imagine they were put there by someone who hates parents and had thought long and hard about a way to really make us suffer – if the shop assistant mentions these shoes have toys then there is inevitably going to be a tantrum if these aren’t the shoes that fit and the toys are bound to get lost (and aren’t the same size as Lego figures so there’s no way to find a replacement when the inevitable happens) leading to angst, unhappiness and having to spend time in the rain looking at tarmac in the vague hope that you might find the blasted thing

Clarks be brave – remember who has to pay for these shoes, remember that we pick up the pieces of your silly ideas and treat us with some love – get rid of the blasted gimmicks!

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14 comments to Dear Clarks, do you hate parents?

  • Oh I do so agree with you! Last year I had to buy a pair of those shoes with toys in the heels because they were literally the only thing that would fit my daughters (extra wide) feet. I made her take the toys out so she didn’t take them to school, but surely then her heels are not fully supported as there’s an empty cavity where the doll should be?

    Didn’t like them, would never choose to buy them again.

    • Hannah Brewer

      EXACTLY – I didn’t know about it and if I had would probably have still had to buy them but at least would know to take the blasted things out

  • Oh well said! Luckily school policy in our case is “absolutely no flashing lights or gimmicks” which takes the decision out of my hands somewhat, but I still find myself hastily turning away from the flashing dinosaur shoes or whatever is on offer in favour of good old fashioned black shoes that work. Just.In.Case. we have a meltdown. It’s probably a whole lot easier with a boy, than a girl – I remember giving my poor mother some grief over her choice of suitable shoes, which (obviously) didn’t match my own, but still. Clarks, please listen.

    • Hannah Brewer

      I just want plain sensible shoes – I’m happy to buy things with sequins for special but for everyday I just want a simple shoe that will last!

  • I always remove said toys when we buy the shoes. I hate them too

  • I refuse to buy them and tell Clarks how stupid an idea this is. Clearly this has not made any difference as they’re still selling them a year later. Ah well.

  • It is truly a stupid idea and one of the worst examples of unhelpful marketing to kids that I can think of (chocolate Weetabix being another).

    When we went to buy sneakers recently, there appeared to be no choice but ones with flashing lights.

    • Hannah Brewer

      Oh yes chocolate Weetabix…. think we need to find a way to make it VERY clear to these companies that we are not impressed by their bad behaviour (sort of like a company naughty step)

  • My daughter has these shoes. When we bought them the shop assistant didn’t tell is they were anything special and we just bought them because they fitted her best and I was impressed by how sturdy they looked! Anyway, when I got home I happened to be looking on the Clark’s website and noticed that they were the shoes that were meant to come with a doll. I looked in the box and there was no doll so went straight back to the shop the next day asking for my doll which they kindly gave us a spare. it was only a couple of weeks later when I was labelling the shoes ready for school that I noticed little tabs inside the shoes, I lifted them up and wow there were toys. As my daughter already has the little doll in question I’ve not actually told her about the secret in her shoes. Does that make me a bad mummy? I just don’t want her to be fiddling round with her shoes all day at school as she’s bound to want to show everyone!

  • Jules

    OMG I have just read this … is this ACTUALLY for real. Clarks have actually really done this, they must have done. I am gobsmacked. Utterly gobsmacked. Hannah go to the greeks you might spend a couple of extra pounds but boy they take the stress away!
    Mwah X

    • Hannah Brewer

      It’s for real… they hate us… am never buying Clarks shoes again (which is not fair, I’m lusting after a pair of their shoes for me)

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