On Sunday I ordered skates through the internet. One pair for each of us on different sites. I paid for both straight away. The next day I had an email from one site that the superkids pair had been cancelled and were not available any more. Skates have been sold out in the most common sizes for weeks now. Sizes 37 to 45 are nearly impossible to get. We haven't had a real winter for over a decade, people have not bought skates and shops have not renewed their stocks. Skates are scarce!
From the second shop I heard nothing. On Friday morning I called them and heard they were working on it, they were overloaded, they might get my order out today, I'd receive an email as soon as they sent it off. In the evening I hadn't had an email yet. I called them again. They said yes they did have the skates in stock. If it said on the site they had, they did. Yes they were sure. Who did I think they were? I said I didn't really know, and that was part of the problem. They said best thing was for me come by the shop myself.
So I drove two hours to Zealand and landed in a little shop totally packed with skates, new skates, old skates, futuristic skates, hockey skates, figure skates, speed skates, touring skates, skates shoes, skate blades, complete skates, skates with price tags in old currency. Speed skates with low black leather shoes and "noren" made in Norway. Outside it was freezing -4 C, inside people were sweating, customers were crowding, fitting, discarding, destroying boxes, separating pairs, while one old man was cashing in money and five younger men who looked like they would have liked to be outside riding a marathon on the frozen lakes were jammed together in the small workshop in the back assembling and sharpening skates. At the back of the shop a truck stopped from time to time, dropping off new boxes with shoes and more skates.
The skates that I ordered still needed to be assembled, and so I had two hours to look around and decide that I had made the right choice in the first place, to breathe the hectic dynamic patient enhusiastic confident trusting friendly athmosphere of the shop. I had two cups of coffee with milk and an experience I wouldn't have missed for the world.
The superkid fitted several pairs of hocky skates and found a pair in his size (two sizes bigger than the pair I had ordered that had been cancelled) and which he liked (at least when there wasn't any ice under them yet, he liked them a lot).
When we left the shop it was almost too dark too go skating other than a brief taste of the new skates. We will have to make up some time tomorrow. And the superkid can have a ball wearing his while sitting on the couch watching television, because after tomorrow, we are expecting thaw... but at least next "winter", (in a few years maybe), we will be prepared!
Click on the image to get a better look at the skates