6.27.2016

You don't need 200 pairs of flip flops for your wedding.

Some people buy flip flops to put out for their guests near the dance floor at their wedding. When the guests' feet get tired because of their ill-advised heel choices, they can switch into flip flops instead of going barefoot or just suffering through the rest of the evening.

Having worked at Old Navy for the past eight or so years, I've seen many wedding flip flops come and go. Brides-to-be will come in, buy dozens or even hundreds of flip flops, then weeks or months later, they will return at least half of them, often with no tags and only sometimes with receipts.

They have to do this buy-and-return dance because the flip flops are not used, because they bought too many.

Let me say that one more time. If you are buying dozens or more pairs of flip flops to give to guests at your wedding, you are buying too many.

This is what gets brides into this predicament: They see the flip flop idea and think, 'Wow, that is cool. I would totally use that if my feet started to hurt at a wedding.' Then they think about how many people are going to be at their wedding. This is where the thought process breaks, because for some completely nonsensical reason, they think, 'Literally every person who comes to the wedding is going to want to use a pair of these flip flops.'

Let's be realistic here. It is very nice to provide flip flops for guests who might want to change into them at some point during the evening of your wedding. But a good number would be like 20. You're not even going to need 50. So you're definitely not going to need 200.

Realistically, the only time you're going to change into a pair of flip flops at a wedding is if you're wearing painful high heels and also don't care about the fact that the flip flops are going to ruin your outfit. Please, future brides, think about how few of your guests that's going to apply to. Really think about it.

This past Saturday, which was Dollar Flip Flop Day, a woman and her future husband came through the line with the intention of buying 200 pairs of flip flops. Seriously 200. Now, it was Dollar Flip Flop Day, which is why they were there, and there is a limit of 10 pairs of flip flops per trip through the line. This meant they had to go through the line 10 times, paying separately, in order to get 200 between the two of them. They informed me of their intent the first time through, but I didn't think about how ridiculous it was until their second or third time.

On the fourth time through, I was checking out the guy, who had made it clear that he would have rather come on a different day and paid full price so as not to wait in a crazy line and pay 10 different times. The woman was at a different register.

Trying to be nice and helpful, I asked, "You're buying 200 pairs, right? So ... how many guests do you have?"

"Like 300," he answered, in a way that clearly implied he thought it justified the 200 pairs of flip flops.

Let me pause our conversation to explain to you that there is no earthly scenario in which their 300-guest wedding will require 200 pairs of flip flops. There is simply no way that two thirds of their guests are going to change their shoes at this wedding. No matter what.

I carefully answered, "Do you think maybe you're overestimating the amount of flip flops you need to buy for that amount of guests?"

He replied, his tone of voice implying he thought this was his trump card, "Well it's a beach wedding."

" ... But your guests know it's a beach wedding, right? So won't they be wearing appropriate shoes?"

He shrugged, which indicated to me that he was not interested in being there in the first place and it was all her decision and there would be no talking her out of it.

I couldn't save them. Instead, let me save you the trouble, dear brides and grooms planning weddings and trying to be nice to your guests.

You need 20 to 30 pairs of flip flops tops. I guess if you're having more than, like, 500 people at your wedding, you could double that number.

But seriously, providing flip flops is really just a gesture. It's cute, it's thoughtful, maybe a couple of people will take you up on it. You don't have to worry about running out, though. Nobody would be mad that you didn't get enough or didn't get enough of their size. Get enough to fill one bucket, and other than that you're good.

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