Hahn Shoe store Washington DC
Designed by Ketchun, Gina & Sharp
Source: NY Times

Many years ago this was a thriving, happy planet - people, cities, shops, a normal world. Except that on the high streets of these cities there were slightly more shoe shops than one might have thought necessary. And slowly, insidiously, the numbers of these shoe shops were increasing. It’s a well-known economic phenomenon but tragic to see it in operation, for the more shoe shops there were, the more shoes they had to make and the worse and more unwearable they became.

And the worse they were to wear, the more people had to buy to keep themselves shod, and the more the shops proliferated, until the whole economy of the place passed what I believe is termed the Shoe Event Horizon, and it became no longer economically possible to build anything other than shoe shops. Result—collapse, ruin and famine. Most of the population died out. Those few who had the right kind of genetic instability mutated into birds—you’ve seen one of them—who cursed their feet, cursed the ground and vowed that none should walk on it again. Unhappy lot.

So said Pizpot Gargravarr to Zaphod in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Pan Books, 1980)
By Douglas Adams

Vogue Boot Shop – St. Louis, MO
Source: Decopix
He knew they were thirteen stories up because the windows were dark. He was bitterly upset. He had bought those shoes for some absurd price in a store on the Lower East Side in New York. He had, as a result, written an entire essay on the joys of great footwear, all of which had been jettisoned in the “Mostly harmless” debacle. Damn everything. And now one of the shoes was gone. He threw his head back and stared at the sky. 
It wouldn’t be such a grim tragedy if the planet in question hadn’t been demolished, which meant that he wouldn’t even be able to get another pair. Yes, given the infinite sideways extension of probability, there was, of course, an almost infinite multiplicity of planets Earth, but, when you come down to it, a major pair of shoes wasn’t something you could just replace by mucking about in multidimensional space-time.

Douglas Adams
From: Mostly Harmless (William Heinemann, 1992)


Douglas Noel Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001)
DNA Press Photos by Jill Furmanovsky
Source: Douglas Adams