Thursday, May 24, 2007

Well heeled

On the heels of yesterday's shoe-themed post, I'm thrilled to share that Saks Fifth Avenue has announced the opening of a shoe department so large, they say, it will have its own ZIP code.

Perhaps this is what is necessary to keep in step with the likes of Zappos and other online retailers. Zappos boasts over 1,000 shoe brands in its warehouse. Its women's shoe selection is divided into three main categories: dress, casual, and athletic. Casual shoes, in turn, are categorized as casual boots, casual clogs, casual comfort shoes, casual flats, loafers, Mary-Janes, Mules, Oxfords, Casual Platforms, Casual Sandals, Slippers, Work & Duty, and more. (It gives me no great pleasure to say that in that space in my brain that should be reserved for the details of our judicial process or the writings of Thoreau, I instead store knowledge of what it means for a shoe to belong to each of these categories.) There are over 28,500 women's casual shoes listed, though, to be fair, some listings are just variations in material or color on a single style.

Shoes are great. Some are works of art. I once saw an exhibit of art-athletic shoes in a modern art museum that was quite impressive. There is a shoe museum in Toronto that houses over 10,000 pairs, and covers the history and art of shoes. The Virtual Shoe Museum currently features video of a "dance performance starring platform shoes" called aKabi, which should not be missed. Another virtual museum, the High Heel Shoe Museum, features shoes with a minimum 2.5 inch heel and includes ultra high heel stiletto shoes and fetish shoes, with links to places where you can buy many of the styles, which is totally great.

Equally great is the existence of shoes that are functional. Though, in the right climate, shoes aren't a strict requirement, unless you are planning to receive some kind of service by McDonalds; though many people manage to live without shoes, sometimes even by choice or conviction; and though shoes can cause all sorts of functional problems when worn incorrectly or for purposes that defy or transcend strict functionality, they can be useful additions to a wardrobe. And it is especially great that so many people, rather than spending an afternoon hunting and gathering food for their dinner, can use those valuable hours roaming a ZIP code in New York, or sitting on a couch shuffling through Zappos' 1200 or so pairs of "surf and skate" styles to find just the right pair for their totally unique lifestyle.

The Saks department will be known by its unique ZIP code, 10022-SHOE. It will take up the entire eighth floor, and will, according to the official Saks statement, "hold a place in US history as the first floor to be granted its own designated ZIP code by the United States Post Office." This is a cute store name that makes for a nice press release to go along with Saks' expansion, but I'm not sure how true their claim is. To be precise, it is the ZIP+4 code that is unique, not the five digit ZIP 10022. The USPS defines the ZIP+4 as an actual ZIP code plus an optional four digit add-on that "identifies a geographic segment within the five-digit delivery area, such as a city block, an office building, an individual high-volume receiver of mail, or any other unit that would aid efficient mail sorting and delivery." The code 46556-5660, for example, is designated for the first floor of Badin Hall at Notre Dame. Snagging a four letter word as your +4 that designates not just the floor of a department store but the stuff for sale on that floor is an excellent trick, though. Well done.

1 comment:

The Man in Black Pajamas said...

"On the heels of" very punny!