There is a wonderful theory expounded in the original radio version of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that when people are depressed they look down, and when they look down, they see their shoes. So to cheer themselves up they buy new shoes, which means that in an increasingly depressed society the demand for shoe shops will increase, eventually reaching the Shoe Event Horizon. Apparently Douglas Adams found inspiration from this on a shopping trip to Oxford Street, where there were many many shoes shops, but none with any that were the right colour, size or price.
A few years ago my Dad and I were stranded in a small town off the M25. Having escaped the life-quenching congestion of the motorway we turned onto the high street, which was almost exclusively made up of shoe shops. There we were in a suburban reality of the Shoe Event Horizon. The hushed street echoed not with laughter nor housed smiles from its inhabitants. We left as soon as we could.