Bit of a long one this, but be patient and find amusement in my tale of woe!
Okay, recently I required a new pair of cushioned running shoes. Foolishly, I decided that as I knew what I wanted (a pair of Adidas Response, as I'd ran in them and liked them), I would simply not bother going to a specialist running shop, and instead use a High Street retailer. This was a mistake (now there's a surprise...)
Upon entering an Allsports in Manchester, after not having been able to find the shoes of my choice elsewhere, I was happy to see a pair of Response in the "Running" section where I'd expect them to be. They looked pretty similar to the pair that I'd borrowed from a mate to try; the Torsion system was slightly different, but I thought - hey - this must be the 2002 model, which I haven't seen (this was mistake number 2.)
After trying this on to confirm general fit was similar to how I remembered - it was - and being satisfied with the helpfulness of the sales assistant (who I told several times exactly what I needed) I bought them for £50.
Taking them home, I decided to give them a trial run. The cushioning was quite nice. After about 20 metres, though, I realised that the shoe felt slightly 'wrong.' A bit of homework soon revealed that this was indeed the Adidas Response.. TENNIS SHOE. (I had had absolutely no idea Adidas made a tennis shoe version as well, not following that sport.)
Duly, I took it back to the shop. Surely, as they had sold it to me as a running shoe, I would be entitled to a replacement. Sure enough, I was ushered downstairs where I had a look at some other shoes. But soon a sales bod came downstairs to nervously tell me I had to speak to the manager. Who in turn refused me a replacement as "the shoes had been worn" and I'd have to come back the day after when the girl who sold me them was there to confirm or deny whether I'd wanted a running or tennis shoe.
No problem, I thought; and next day I turned up. No manager was present so the deputy manager served me, if you can call it that: he bluntly refused to give a replacement. After a phone call to head office, he told me that I should contact Trading Standards if I wanted to take the matter further!! Needless to say I was not a happy bunny.
Fair enough, I was a bit ignorant of the existence of the tennis shoe version (which looks quite similar to the running version btw), and so didn't immediately know the difference (doh).
However, judging by comments made both by the assistant manager, and the girl who originally served me, the staff WERE aware of this difference, and so should have told me about it - seeing as how I had stated several times when I was shopping that I was after a RUNNING SHOE. Comments such as "Just cos the shoe was in the Running Shoes section doesn't mean it's a running shoe" were typical of the unhelpfulness I recieved. As was the warning to "not speak to him like that" from the deputy manager when I got a little more insistent (but not rude) that I wanted a replacement.
Basically, Allsports were only too happy to sell me a "running shoe" that they clearly knew was anything but, just for the sake of getting their 50 quid. Yes, I know, I know, what else do I expect from a High Street "sports" shop; I should have gone to a proper running shoe retailer (and also done my homework a bit more on the versions of the shoe). However, let this be a warning to newbie runners in particular - no matter how convenient, don't venture to the "dark side" to buy your training shoes!