Occasionally, a father would bring the kids out on his own for the joy of bonding over the shoe shopping experience but their time with us was normally as mercifully brief as possible:- "Do you have anything that fits? We'll take it." (This wasn't necessarily a smart move on their part as more often than not they'd be back for a refund / exchange once the mother saw the hideous / wildly inappropriate / cheaply made footwear that had been purchased.) On the whole, though, the vast majority of our customers were women (when accompanied by partners, they seemed to be the ones in charge) and it was from this mostly pleasant majority that the troublesome minority would spring.
That minority had fixed in their mind exactly what they hoped to achieve and what they wanted was this - a mythical, durable, expanding shoe that would somehow last and fit for the child's entire school career and they weren't going to be leaving the shop until they'd tried on every possible shoe in the hopes of finding it. The phrase that would fill me with dread was "Can we just try it one size larger?" followed by repeated enquiries as to what I thought (with my actual opinion being ignored) and attempts to bully me into using the words "It's OK" so that they could buy an ill-fitting shoe and tell themselves their conscience was clear and "the bad man in the shop" told them to buy it while their poor child stumbled about with bleeding feet. Fortunately, this being children's shoes, we didn't get commission for sales (the fit was important, not the sale) so if they kept ignoring me, it was no skin off my nose if they went and bullied a shop assistant somewhere else.
I get that kids are an expensive business and you don't want to keep buying them expensive shoes every couple of months but a) kids do grow (no avoiding that bit) and b) don't ask for someone's advice then ignore it by bullishly trying to nag them into agreeing with you so you can save a couple of quid with a clean conscience. Also, if you really want to save a couple of quid, go to your local shoe shop and don't go shopping at an expensive Oxford Street store.
At least we had an endlessly looping video of The Lion King to keep the kids entertained while their mothers jammed every type of shoe into the shop onto their leaden feet. I did, however, become concerned when people started pointing out that I was unconsciously talking along with the script. And don't be alarmed if I suddenly start checking whether your shoes fit properly if "Hakuna Matata" starts to play....