20 September 2007

Use It Up, Wear It Out?

Them's my new boots, just arrived from Sporty's Pilot Shop.
They're exactly like my old boots except I'll have to go through the temporary pain of having to break these in. My old boots were wonderful... like putting on an old pair of slippers.
But there's a big problem with my old boots...
my feet get wet when it's raining because there are "substantial" holes in the soles of both boots.

I've been wearing "Wellington" boots since High School. I like the look of them. While I was riding motorcycles I liked the protection they afforded my ankles. Once they are broken in I love the way they feel.

Normally I'll wear them until the soles wear out, then have them re-soled. With proper care, I'll re-sole a comfortable pair a couple times before cracks begin to appear on the boots alongside the widest part of my foot. Then I start lookin' for a new pair of Wellingtons.

My old ones were quite comfortable, and except for letting weather in, were perfect.
I took them to my local shop to be repaired.
The sign on the door said "Closed".

So I grab the yellow pages and search...
Shoe repair, boot repair, shoe sales and service?
No listing.

I ask friends.
Most referred me to my old shop, thinking as I did that it was still open.
Now I'm desperate. I ask friends from other towns... and find out most were driving all the way to my old shop for their shoe repair.

Last week, while in "Big Town", I ask friends if they can help. One tells me of a shop that is 60 miles from my home, but it's not far off the route I take when I come to town to teach students. Well if that's my only choice...
I walk into the store, and immediately there's a bad vibe...
The proprietor isn't friendly... he's got "attitude".
He gives my boots the once-over and without humor says, "Well, ya wore these out, didn't ya?"

"Yep. Are they repairable?"


He produces a form, takes down my name and phone number, then says "that'll be $70, and I need payment up front."

Seventy dollars!?
A new pair will only cost $104, and my company will reimburse
all but $4 of that as a uniform expenditure!

He shrugs. He's not tryin' to work with me at all.
"Do you want 'em fixed or not?"

"I think not. Thanks anyway."
I pick up my boots and walk out.

At the airport, after hearing my rant, one of my former students says, "I know this old Italian guy that'll repair 'em. He charges $38. I'll take 'em and have him fix 'em."

But there is an alarm in that sentence, isn't there?
"An old Italian guy?" He's more than 80 miles from my home.
Under normal circumstances I wouldn't make that trip to have a pair of boots repaired.
I'll bet he doesn't have an apprentice at his elbow learning his trade. When this old craftsman dies, what then?
We all know the answer to that question... we'll be pitchin' something into the trash that once could be recycled. Like so many things these days , it'll be something we can add to our "I can remember back in the old days" list.

Isn't that sad?

I don't want to end this post on a downer, so I figured I'd show ya this article to make ya smile!
Some of "the old days" are making a comeback!

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