Friday, January 20, 2006

first bras, now shoes...what's a girl to do?

Well, Peter Mandelson isn't going to be the one to answer that, is he. Not sure how varied his knowledge of all things female is.

A glance the other day in my copy of 'forthcoming items of legislation' and my eager eyes spotted the words 'shoes' followed by imports. A day or two later, and Eliab sends me this from the European Foundation's Newsround:

Now It’s Shoe Wars

By Svetlana Subbotina

Shoe-producing EU members are lobbying for anti-dumping duties on shoe imports from China, which now take up about a quarter of the EU shoe market. The EU Trade Commissioner, Peter Mandelson, is resisting demands from domestic producers worried about their profits. Imports from China went up by 322 per cent during the first nine months of 2005 after quotas were lifted on January 1 2005. EU officials observed that dumping — exporting goods to another country and selling them at prices lower than one charges at home — is not linked to the volume of imports.

A separate source suggested that the price of Chinese shoes plummeted from €13.8 to €7.7 per unit which could mean shoes are being sold at prices below the cost of production. China called these figures “flawed” and threatened to refer the EU to the WTO if tariffs for Chinese goods are introduced. European shoe retailers also said that action against Beijing would threaten some 600,000 European jobs. Sales would also go down leaving price rises of up to €20 per unit.

Well, if they are charging below the cost of production then the WTO need to get involved. However, had price ever really been the issue when it come to shoes. Potatoes, yes: normal goods with quantity inversely related to price. Shoes aren't quite the same, though. Many people like the fact that their shoes cost lots of wonga - they are status goods and, rather like with Chanel handbags (not LV, though) the more expensive they are, the more they are demanded. I don't think that just counts for ladies shoes either - I cold get a Gina pair and some Jimmy's for the price of one pair of mens shoes (and they are no where near as pretty).

I think that most of these queries from China are more to do with the protectionist attitude of the EU and their failure to grasp free trade.

Let's face it, when it comes to reality, the EU institutions either have their heads in the sand, or stuck somewhere else where the views of the people of Europe can't reach them.

More on that tomorrow.


Marcus Stead said...

Interesting stuff as always, but I've come to the conclusion that men and shoes don't mix.

During the past week, I've bought a new pair of shoes (George) and a new pair of trainers (Adidas), due to the fact I have bought no new footwear in over 2 years. I'm a bloke and I HATE all shopping and standing in queues- in the past I have given female friends of mine money and sent them off into the shops to buy me clothes- they seem to enjoy it and generally get me stuff I like so I won't have anyone accusing me of being a chauvanist!

In that time, the trainers have seen me through a general election and European election campaign, as I walk the streets of this city trying to increase the UKIP vote, complete with people trying (and failing) to throw water over me, setting their dogs on me, slamming the door in my face and shouting "racist" at me without giving me the chance to respond. But I mustn't complain. I worked out I have walked an average of 14 miles per week in my old trainers so I'm amazed they lasted as long as they did.

As for the shoes, they have seen me through countless meetings, formal functions, 2 UKIP conferences and plenty of nights out, and, like Madonna, were beginning to show their age, so I reluctantly accepted the time had come for change.

I started wearing the new shoes last Saturday night and, due to the fact I refuse to pay £12 for a 3 mile taxi journey, decided to walk home. When I took my shoes off I discovered a large blister at the bottom of my big toe on my right foot, which has got more painful as the week has progressed.

Undeterred by this setback, on Sunday I decided to give the new trainers a try. After walking around an out- of- town shopping complex for half an hour, I realised that the toe- end of the trainers narrowed too much and there wasn't enough room to let all 5 toes on each foot sit comfortably in the trainer. When I got home, I noticed the 4th toe down on my right foot was swollen, but I decided to take this second setback in 2 days like a man and give them a chance to 'break in'.

5 days later the situation hasn't improved, the blister looks worse than ever and the swelling hasn't changed much, I'm actually limping round the house now, and as I sit here with the new shoes and trainers right next to me I now look at them and see them as evil objects whose entire purpose of being is to hurt me. How could a man get so unlucky with 2 different pairs of footwear in such a short space of time?

Okay, maybe I only have myself to blame, I bought both in a sale and I suspect they were discounted for a reason, but whereas for women shoes are regarded as items of great pleasure and beauty, please remember that for us blokes especially they can also be the casue of much pain and distress.

But can someone explain this to me: The problem with the trainers is that they narrow too much at the toe end, but women's shoes narrow to a much greater extent but you never hear women complaining- why is this?

I have come to hate shoes- the great John Sergeant put them into Room 101 as I recall- I wonder if he knows a good therapist to help me through this trauma- if not I'll settle for a chiropadist.

Trixy said...

I think that women's shoes that are pointed at the end are actually much larger. I am wearing a pair of purple beauties today but my toes are not in the end section of it where they narrow to a witchy point!

My advise is to go shopping yourself and try on lots of pairs and don't scrimp on quality or else develop your feet into hobbit like leathery soled ones complete with hairy toes.