Shoe Shopping at Elder-Beerman Review

My mom called me Sunday and said she’d gotten a flyer in the mail from Elder Beerman informing her of Senior Days discounts that would be available Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.  We planned to go together to the local mall where Elder-Beerman is located and shop only for shoes.  Both of us had gone shoe shopping together about 10 years ago and bought the same kind of shoes which were now beaten to a pulp and causing us problems.  I personally have to replace all my shoes since pregnancy number two pushed my footsies past the point of no return – they are now half a size larger and wide.  To boot my right foot is noticeably larger than my left.  So where I was once a women’s 6.5M/B I am now a 7W/C/D.

I find shoe shopping to be very frustrating.  As with clothing every manufacturer has their own take on what the proper shape and size of a shoe can be.  With thousands of choices everyone is bound to find something that fits their need.  The only problem is that with thousands of choices it can take hours, days or even months of searching without success.  I’ve given up on settling on just cute.  I need something that is also comfortable that won’t kill my feet after a few minutes.  You moms out there know exactly what I mean.  Which of us wants to be in agony (or more pain than usual) while toting an infant, purse, diaper bag and chasing after a precocious toddler?

Tuesday, yesterday, we went to Elder Beerman to try to find shoes that would work for us.  They had a Yellow Tag Clearance event that made the clearance items marked with a yellow dot sticker 50% off the lowest marked price.  I did find some very nice red Clarks clogs in size 6.5 that did not pinch and were very comfortable to my surprize.  It was going to be only $30 after the extra 50% discount.  The only problem is that winter is coming and I need an all season shoe.  Having a shoe with an open back is not the best option with snow just a few weeks away.  If I had a job and my own money I’d say, “Sure get these shoes that will live under my bed until spring and the ones I need,” but I don’t have that luxury right now.  So I kept looking.

Elder Beerman has expanded their selection of shoes to include more styles of Born, BOC, Naturalizer, Clarks, Life Stride, White Mountain and Ruff Hewn.  It was nice to see that many of the styles had a decent selection of sizes out on the floor to choose from.  What I learned later is that they usually only get one of each size and color available in any given line.  That explained why I was only able to try one about 50% of the styles that were on the floor.  If they’d had my size in all styles I would have tried them all on.

One complaint I have about their customer service is that it is too scanty and ill placed.  The person at the shoe counter also was stocking and cleaning areas in Men’s and Bedding which at times put them completely out of sight of the shoe area.  There were a couple of times mom and I were left standing there alone with a shoe in our hand for a good 10 minutes waiting for someone to come back.  We kept busy entertaining the little ones, but someone else may just have walked out.

Mom had chosen a pair of Ruff Hewn leather shoes called Boulder in Black and I set aside the red Clarks.  We were both hesitant though to go ahead and buy them.  She had previously tried on the shoes and my dad didn’t like them he said they looked like little girl shoes. I’ve already told you my reason.  So, we went to lunch and decided to go to every other store in the mall before we went back to Elder-Beerman to make a decision on the shoes.

Given we did not find anything at the other stores, we finally went back to Elder-Beerman to decide whether or not to purchase the shoes.  We discovered on our return that the shoes we had asked them to hold were no longer at the desk, but had been put away.  That was upsetting.  Mom still wanted to try on the Ruff Hewn shoes again so even though I wasn’t in love with the look I also gave them a try.  They turned out to be the most comfortable shoes I’d tried on all day.  By this time my feet were pretty tired and swollen so that says a lot.  Mom tried another pair of Naturalizer wedge mary janes that we had somehow overlooked before and decided to get a pair.  She discovered though that there was a defect in the construction of the left shoe that bothered her terribly.

So, this is where the real fiasco begins.  Sick of shoes we looked a purses for 10 minutes during which mom finds a Liz Claiborne purse on yellow dot clearance for $31.  We were convinced we were going to get a great buy since mom would get an extra 15% off senior discount and a $10 off coupon she received with her new EB card.  Fully expecting to pay no more than $42 and for her only $32 plus tax on the Ruff Hewn shoes we approached the counter.  Mom showed the CSR the problem with the Naturalizer shoe and that is when we learned about their only getting one of each size.  The other color in that size was already out of stock so he offered to order it from another store and have it sent directly to her house sans shipping cost.  He also said that the 15% discount would be applied to that purchase.  Then we asked him about the $10 off coupon and he said that it could not be combined with the 15% discount.  We wanted to use it since it expired the next day and we weren’t coming back to town to use it.  So he volunteered to ring up the purchase to see which would be the best way to get the most money off.  It turned out that the shoes were Incredible Value Priced so they were not eligible for the Senior Discount (ie, special trip for nothing) but that ringing them together with the purse would put the purchase over the $50 minimum to use the $10 off coupon.  Oh restrictions, restrictions.   Honestly, how is a person supposed to remember all of those restrictions while they are shopping?  Defeated and tired we reluctantly purchased the shoes.  At least she would get the 15% off on the shoes she had to order.  I hope she gets them.

FYI: The only discount that Incredible Value items are eligible for is the 20% discount given to new Elder Beerman card applications that are accepted.


Expanded shoe selection

Deep discounts on clearance merchandise

Ability to order from other stores and have them shipped direct to home with no shipping cost (may be restricted to Elder-Beerman Card holders)


Only one of each size/color available in the shoes on the display floor.

Not enough customer service.

Confusing (almost bewildering) discount structure and restrictions.

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