Waiting In Line To Enter A Crocs Store Was One Of The Most Humiliating Experiences Of My Life

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Aside from maybe Yeezys, the humble Croc is far and away the most controversial shoe in the world.

They’re hideously ugly and make it look like you’re nursing an ailment of some kind. One that requires you to have a podiatrist on speed dial.

But, dammit, if they aren’t practical, and that’s why I own a pair.

If you need shoes to throw on at a moment’s notice, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more utilitarian option than the Croc.

You throw them on for a leisurely jaunt around the block and if something serious happens, a quick flick of the wrist puts those puppies in sports mode and you’re off to the races.

Crocs aren’t for doing marathon walking sessions. But if you’ve got yourself a French bulldog that desperately needs to rip a deuce and you need suitable footwear regardless of the weather to facilitate a spur-of-the-moment trip to the dog park, look no further than the Croc.

I’ve put so much mileage on my pair of gray Crocs (“Ol’ Reliable” as I call them) that I need to replace them. So, when the time comes to put down one pair of Crocs and adopt another where does one go? Naturally, the Crocs store.

The nearest Croc store to where I live is situated in an outlet mall. An outlet mall is a place where tourists buy things for marginally less than they would at home. They however do this without remembering that they will then have to mule them back on airplanes.

So, I did some simple math:

Crocs store + Outlet Mall = Slightly cheaper than normal Crocs.

I had to get some sneakers too (it was a big day to be my feet). So, I figured while I was braving the throngs of cheapskates, I’d pop into the Crocs store. There, I’d buy a fresh pair of rubbery shoes, and flee from the scene before anyone knew I had been there.

Upon walking up to the storefront and immediately hated what I saw. A line of people queued up outside the store behind one of those seat belt material things that is like a velvet rope’s cheap cousin.

I paused. “I can’t let my life come to this,” I said aloud, inaudible to anyone except maybe the guy selling bootleg cologne at a nearby kiosk. But then I remembered my degrading Crocs.

I ran through horrific scenarios that could play out if I didn’t get a replacement for Ol Reliable. Scenarios in which I lost footing in a parking lot and cracked my teeth on the curb. Another in which I slipped and pulled my groin like an over-ambitious uncle on the dance floor at a wedding.

The thought of avoiding those fates — and doing it on the cheap — made me swallow my pride and join the other losers enjoyers of molded-foam footwear in line.

Still, I felt immense shame. I pulled my hat down lower and tried to hide my face. Just in case anyone I knew happened to walk by and spot me in line outside the Crocs store. 

“Hey, Matt,” they’d say. “Uh… why are you waiting in line outside the Crocs store?”

“The Crocs Store?! What the hell? I thought this was the line for The Beef Jerky Outlet,” I’d say, feigning incredulity as if waiting in line for jerky was somehow more dignified than waiting to buy a new pair of Crocs.

My hope was that this line would move fast. Of course, it didn’t do that.

A Crocs store employee manned the door acting as a bouncer. The person presiding over the line was a young lady who appeared to have graduated high school at some point in the 2020s. Her job was to ensure that on the off chance the fire Marshall showed up unannounced, the Crocs store wouldn’t get cited.

(By the way, I’m not sure about the flammability of Crocs. I’ve never tested it but they could either be entirely fireproof or go up like a box of kindling. Neither outcome would shock me).

It was her job to traffic cop the flow of shoppers like she was working the door at a fancy nightclub.

“Dammit, I knew I should’ve brought my girlfriend,” I thought. “It’s always easier to get in places like this if you have chicks with you.”

After some time, the guardian of the Crocs store eyeballed the groups ahead of me and granted them access. She asked how many were in my party. I held up a lone index finger. This indicated to all around that I had just spent 15 minutes alone in line for the Crocs store.

Sad. Just sad.

Navy Crocs shoes
Crocs: the ultimate all-weather dog-walking shoe. (Getty Images)

Once granted access, I high-tailed straight to a pair of gray Crocs identical Ol Reliable, the pair I’d worn down like a set of bald tires after months of cruising my apartment complex with a dog leash in one hand and a bag of canine feces in the other.

But then I looked at the price tag: they were exactly the same price as it would be if I ordered them on Amazon and had them shipped to my apartment. I thought this was an outlet, which meant things were cheap! I could’ve done that without leaving home and subjecting myself to such public shame.

Remember that scene in Jaws where Chief Martin Brody is sitting on the beach and the shark shows up, then the camera does that Hitchcockian zoom-in, pull-out move made famous from the movie Vertigo?

Well, that’s how I felt the moment I realized I had embarrassed myself by standing in that line for nothing. I hung the rubbery shoes back on the hook (because I’m an idiot, but not an A-hole). As soon as that was done, I hoofed it out of the store and around the corner.

I stopped to catch my breath outside a TAG Heuer watch store. While I oogled the fine, Swiss-made timepieces I replayed the game tape in my mind.

“That was a good 15 minutes I’ll never get back,” I thought. I breathed a sigh of relief that I had gotten through the ordeal unscathed, save for a bruised ego. “That could’ve been bad. Really bad.”

I’ve gone around our Sun a full 28 times, and not since accidentally called my third-grade teacher “mom” had I felt so much shame.

I wandered back to my car — Crocless — vowing to never stand in line for the Crocs store ever again so long as I live…

… At least not unless there’s a decent sale.

Follow on Twitter (or whatever it’s called now): @Matt_Reigle

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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