From Shopping Trek to “Tourist Foot”

July 13, 2010 at 12:16 pm 5 comments

This is not a post about socks.


So while one of the prompts from Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop this week was to write a funny story involving socks, this is more like a tragicomic story that could have been avoided if only socks had been involved.

I used to manage the marketing department for a small company, and as part of my responsibilities, I was in charge of handling our tradeshow participation. One year, the big industry event was held in Las Vegas. That’s where this story begins.

Now I’m not much of a gambler, and Vegas in June doesn’t hold a lot of appeal for me, so the best I could do was make sure I assigned plenty of my friends on the sales team to work the show with me. And first on the list was my good friend, Susan.

I recruited Susan to come with me a day early to help with pre-show preparations. Susan and I are not the type to dilly-dally. If you’re one of those people who walks slowly down the office corridors or casually ambles through the mall, we’re the ones who are whooshing by you in a blur. We want to get it done and move on.

With the two of us in charge of pre-show prep on that already-hot Saturday morning in Vegas, you can bet that everything was completed in record time.

That meant the rest of the day was ours.

Marla and Susan

For us, Vegas was not about the gambling or the shows or the theme-park-style hotels. Sure, we were staying at the Las Vegas Hilton, home to numerous Star Trek-themed restaurants and attractions, where many, let’s say, “quirky” couples have said their “I dos” in ceremonies officiated by Captain Kirk, but this was not what we were looking  for.

We were looking for the shopping.

Have you ever seen or known someone who always looks put together? Someone who can assemble an outfit that you would never in your wildest dreams conjure up – one that, in theory seems outrageous and would, quite frankly, look like a costume on you, but on them looks utterly fabulous? That person is Susan.

She’s also the ultimate shopping companion. Just as easily as she can put together fabulousness for herself, she can do it for you, too. So I knew we had to take advantage of this precious time before the real work began at the trade show the next afternoon. We had to hit the shopping and hit it hard.

From Neimans to Jo Malone to Manolo Blahnik to Chanel and every specialty store in between, we were on a mission. In a top-speed Shopping Trek, we alternated between the blazing, oven-like heat of the Las Vegas sidewalks to the over-oxygenated, over-air-conditioned shops in the malls-slash-hotels (who can tell the difference in Vegas?).

And for this fashion adventure, I was wearing one of my favorite pairs of 4-inch Stuart Weitzman cork wedge slides. So comfortable and so stylish. Although…


Although maybe not quite suited to extreme shopping conditions?

At the end of that long day, we made it back to the Hilton and headed up to our rooms around 11 pm. I sat on the bed, exhausted, my feet not so much throbbing as burning. Slowly, I slid out of my slides.

Uh oh.

The ball of each foot was covered in a giant blister. There was no foot there. It was all blister. And I had three days in front of me that would consist almost entirely of standing for hours on end in a tradeshow booth.

That’s when my MacGuyver instincts kicked in. I could barely walk, but I sifted through my belongings and the hotel bathroom supplies. I had some Band-Aids, some mouthwash, fancy liquid bath soap and the safety pin on the badge of my tradeshow booth credentials. Here goes nothing.

safety pin

I filled the tub with hot water and liquid bath soap and soaked my feet while “sterilizing” the safety pin with the mouthwash. I then carefully popped the blisters with the safety pin, covered them with about five Band-Aids each and drifted off to sleep, hoping for the best.

The next morning, I was up early. I knew I had to get to the gift shop and find some better first aid supplies. It was 7 am, so I figured no one in Vegas would be up (or at least fully conscious) at that hour. I threw on some shorts, stuck my hair in a ponytail, grabbed my glasses and hobbled my way to the elevator and down to the lobby.

Moments later, as I was literally clearing out the entire shelf of first aid supplies in the quiet gift shop, I peered around a display of souvenir Star Trek-themed casino chips, and who should I see, looking fresh, stylish and completely put together? Susan, of course.

I looked like I had spent the night in a Las Vegas Dumpster. She looked like she had just come from a spa treatment and designer sample sale.

The Original Tourist Foot® Kit

Susan and I had many more adventures during those four days in Vegas, but for us, the origination of a condition we dubbed “Tourist Foot®” will always be the most memorable part of the trip.

Even more memorable than the “Romulan rumble” we got from eating in one of the Hilton’s Star Trek restaurants.

So, how did I get through the three days of standing in a trade show booth on two Tourist Foot-ravaged feet?

Well, that’s fodder for a future post.


Entry filed under: Best Friends, Don't Try This At Home, Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , .

Picture It: Photos in the Closet Heaven and the Flipside

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Texan Mama  |  July 15, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    ouch, ouch, ouch. I feel for ya. For what it’s worth, I’m always the ponytail too, never the sample sale.

    Dropping in from Mama Kat’s!

    • 2. marlainkontheside  |  July 15, 2010 at 3:13 pm

      Thanks for stopping by!

      I still can’t believe I “sterilized” a safety pin with mouthwash. I should probably add a “don’t try this at home, kids” disclaimer…!

  • 3. CoffeeJitters (Judy Haley)  |  July 15, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    oh, there’s nothing like foot pain, especially while travelling. I would have used the mouthwash too.

  • 4. Coma Girl  |  July 15, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    I have never heard of using mouthwash to sterilize, but I guess it makes sense. How resourceful of you!

    The things we’ll endure for cute shoes!


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