Fads come, and fads go. Here is one that should last about 15 minutes: Shoes-while-u-wait.
Actually, the shoes are more like sandals. In Italy, where the idea originated, they are called zoccoli, meaning "horse's hooves." Peasant farmers would cut pieces of wood to fit their feet, nail leather straps to them, and wear them. Then someone got the bright idea of selling these things to American tourists. Wouldn't you know, some of the tourists have decided to try selling them to the folks (or, more precisely, the women-folk) back home.
These days, you can find zoccoli at fashionable boutiques in places like Westwood and Palm Springs, Calif., and Phoenix. The customer comes in, chooses a set of soles and straps, then sits in a chair while an employee staples them around her feet.
"On the average, it takes 15 minutes to put the shoe together," says Tod Wallace, co-owner of Chooz Inc. in Phoenix, "but it takes some people half an hour to decide what they want. After all, we've got 70 different colors and materials to choose from." The finished product goes for about $19.
Wallace and others are betting that the fad will catch on. Of course, if it doesn't, they can always try diversifying into, say, loincloths.