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Your views: on real v online shoe stores, and city council gag orders

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on the online challenge to the survival of shoe stores, and city council moves to gag members from speaking on issues before being published in the agenda.

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If the shoe fits

Commenting on the story: Online key as SA shoe store sales trip over

Not being a ‘shoe’ person I can’t really rally for the cause.

I buy shoes when the old ones are falling apart.

But like to try on shoes before I buy – so online gets the thumbs down for me every time. – Jenny Esots

As a podiatrist who is also a podiatric surgeon, I would like to comment on the pitfalls of purchasing shoes online.

I am seeing an increasing number of people who are having foot problems as a result of purchasing shoes online that don’t fit, or are not suitable.

The main reason is they have purchased shoes online so save a few dollars, but they don’t fit correctly or are not suitable for their foot type.

Returns are often a hassle and with a lot of online stores you are up for the cost of freight for returns.

The inconvenience of trying to return shoes people will put up with or make do with the wrong size which can cause foot pain, which is why they end up seeing people like me.

Buying online can be a false economy. An example I give to patients is to think of how many shoes you try in is a shoe store before you find the one that fits correctly and is comfortable.

That is not an option available in the online world. Shoe sizing with UK, US, European and metric shoe sizing is also a source of confusion and problems with getting the correct fit with online sales.

Shoe size is generally only a guide, as you often need a different size depending on the shoe styles and brand.

To me it is simply not worth the risk, unless you are purchasing exactly the same shoe and style that you have already.

You are much safer going to a footwear retailer that offers good service in terms of fitting and recommending shoes.

Possibly a reason traditional bricks and mortar shoe retailers that are surviving or prospering is they offer good shoe-fitting service and advice within a range of quality brands.

As I say to patients, you are not just buying a shoe – you are also purchasing a service in the form of the retailers expertise .

Shoe retailers that are losing business to online sales in my opinion are more likely to be those that are either self-service or provide minimal service, so you end up fitting yourself without any assistance.  – Andrew van Essen

Bag the gag

Commenting on the story: “Gag order” claims in city council rules shake-up

Restrictions on how and when our elected members can discuss issues with their constituents is dangerous and undemocratic. 

The media is an invaluable resource for both Councillors and constituents. It is a venue for free and open discussion of issues, as proved by this very page, and in-depth stories about the concerns in our community. 

How can the public be truly informed and involved in the discussion if we are given only days notice before votes are cast. 

Those who voted  to stifle the free speech of their colleagues, and hamper the debate that underlies our city’s democracy, should hang their heads in shame. – Declan Price-Brooks

When I read the first story on this subject I was quite taken aback that a council would consider moving in this direction.

My understanding is that you cannot gag an elected member at any level from speaking freely, as and when they choose.

That’s a right under Article 19 of the UNHCR International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that Australia is a signatory to. I believe that this covenant has been used successfully in Australian case law.

I’m quite familiar with this because when I was an elected member I was subject to a Code of Conduct complaint that was actually upheld because the council written code of conduct at the time contained a gag order.

Despite me pointing out forcefully that you cannot be gagged under the covenant regardless of the Code’s (illegal) wording, the local government code of conduct kangaroo court didn’t care.

The new legislated code of conduct for local government doesn’t contain such gags, because it can’t.

I would further say that if you’re an elected member bringing forward a motion to your council, there is great benefit in advising your community via print and/or social media so they are aware and have an opportunity to provide feedback for or against.

The sooner your idea is out in the community the better. – Simon Brewer

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