Saturday, 2 October 2010


I've been searching for the perfect pair of brown boots for a very long time. Because of my dodgy feet, they have to be flat with spongy soles and comfy, padded insoles. The leather must be soft and flexible and mustn't rub, as my heels and toes, skin, bleed and blister at the slightest suggestion of a seam, a ruck or a too-hard surface.

The kind of boots I've seen in the shops were somewhere north of £100 (ouch!). I scoured the charity shops, and finally went onto ebay where - oh joy! - I found them. A pair of brown suede Timberland boots in that oh, so elusive size 5 1/2. There were 16 bidders after them and I put in the highest bid, at £39.75 plus postage. That style are around £145 new and the seller said she'd only worn them once, so I reckoned I'd got a bargain and couldn't wait for them to arrive.

This morning, the postie rang the bell and said I had to sign for a parcel. It was the boots! I put the package in the bedroom and worked up my anticipation by finishing twiddling with some photos on the computer. Then, unable to wait any longer, I hacked my way into the parcel.

The boots were perfect. The sole was just the right height and squidginess, the insole was perfectly padded, the suede supple and a gorgeous chocolate brown. But... what was this? My foot wasn't going in. I gave the zip an extra tug and tried again. Still no luck. With a nasty sinking feeling, I compared the size of the boot sole to the size of my foot. It was smaller. I peered inside the boot. 'UK size 5 1/2, Eurpean 38 1/2', it said. 5 1/2, my foot! I measured the shoe and found it to be 23 cms, then went onto an international shoe size site which proclaimed it to be a size 4.

Fury surged through me. I'd been cheated! Robbed of over £40! Livid, I stomped upstairs and opened up the seller's email. 'No returns', it said. What a rip-off. That woman must have known damn well that those boots had been wrongly sized. She'd probably bought them at some factory outlet place for seconds, or even been ripped off on ebay herself.

I sell a lot of my 'mistakes' or clothes that no longer fit, on ebay and am always scrupulously honest, telling people if they are a large 14, or tight under the arms, or have a mark somewhere. Not so this woman, though. I have sent her a stiff email and have re-listed them on ebay as a size 4.

But now a nasty, niggly thought has occurred to me. What if they are snide Timberlands and I get the counterfeit goods police contacting me? Could I get prosecuted for selling counterfeits when I bought them in good faith? I hope not. I also hope a lady with nice, small feet will give me at least half my money back. Any offers?


Frances Garrood said...

Oh, how I sympathise! Sadly, I have very large feet, otherwise I'd have them like a shot.

Back to ebay...?

Jacula said...

Sorry, I'm a size 6. Hope you manage to sell them.