While at work today I had a gentleman looking for shoes in a 14 wide. We carry up to size 13 and no wide (or narrow) are kept in stock. He was explaining how hard it was to find shoes. While I, personally, could not fully understand his problem, (I knew what it was, empathized with the problem, but have never had the problem myself) I thought of my Step-Mom, who has the same difficulties when shopping for shoes.
I remember the first time I became aware of her shoe problem. It was just before my wedding and she had come down to help me get some last minute things. We were out shopping and I found a pair of bridal shoes that matched my dress perfectly, pearls and all. I asked the sales person for a size 8.5 and listened as my Step-mom called me some less-than-polite names (all in fun). She explained that she could only get shoes in her size (9, extra narrow) in two different stores and they were over an hour away. She shopped once to twice a year and stocked up. She also had a "personal shopper" that she would call ahead of time to help her out.
I'm not a huge shoe person. I don't have a closet full and usually stick to the basics or buy shoes I like on sale. I couldn't imagine having to go out of my way just to find shoes that fit and be limited to the styles I could choose from.
Ironically, My step-mom called this evening to tell me she was planning one of her shoe trips this week. I hope she can find some pretty, comfortably, stylish shoes to fit her boats.