Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Are Crocs a Crock? My personal experience with the ultra-popular reptilian footwear

Everybody has an opinion about the most ubiquitous synthetic footwear to hit the floor since we were squeaking our way around in jelly shoes – but what is the real truth. To some extent, the beauty of the reptilian slipper is in the eye of the beholder.

It took me a while to fall prey to the croc-mania. They are practically everywhere – and the eye-popping colors make them hard to miss. I must admit I did sympathize with the “ugly” criticism, but the more I saw them, the more I couldn’t convince myself that their popularity could be solely attributed to a fad among those with a fondness for color. As the clog-wearing people around me were easy converts to the croc, I didn’t feel the urge to try on a pair until the summer hit. And, more specifically, I saw a new style on the shelf at Macy’s.

The ballet-flat style of crocs was designed by that corporation specifically for somebody like me. Feminine, rather than flip-floppy, I was glad to try them on and then to shell out my $30 to get the comfort that those around me had been talking about while retaining my own style preferences. Had the story ended there, the case for crocs would have been a slam-dunk. As it so often happens in life, it was a little more complicated than that.

The Conundrum

The first day I wore them, I was expecting to have a pair of shoes that would be as wonderful as everyone had said they would be. I put them on and set about my day without a thought. By the end of the day, there was nothing else I could think about. My feet were so tender and painful that I couldn’t keep the shoes on, and couldn’t even think about putting them back on. My feet even hurt the next day. I was shocked. No one could believe it. I thought I was some kind of freak. I swore I would never put on that pair of crocs again.

The Resolution?

I couldn’t stand that I had paid so much for something that was advertised as being comfortable and ergonomic. I decided to email the company with my complaints.

It took a few days to get a response through the contact information found on the website, when a Customer Service Representative, named Abi, contacted me with an apology for the product. Crocs do have a warranty for defective products, but – because of past experience – I rolled my eyes when asked for pictures of the shoes to examine for visible defects. However, I did send pictures for examination. Less than 24 hours later, I received my response: I could return my shoes for a new pair of a different style. Shortly after, I received a shipping label and directions. I bit of a hassle, but a quick response and the exchange with few limitations was enough to satisfy me and impress me with their Customer Service.

In the end, I chose the classic style of the shoes in a size larger to insure myself as best I could against what I had already experienced. I ended up making the tradeoff between style and comfort that I had tried so hard to avoid. They turned out to be as comfortable as everyone had told me they were, and they ended up being my go-to casual shoes (despite my usual tastes).

The outcome was mixed. Ideally, the original style would have worked out as I had wanted, and perhaps my experience was due to some sort of error in manufacturing. Even so, it was nice to know that good customer service still exists and that this company is willing to stand behind the quality of their product – and rightly so.

~ Miss S.