One of the quirky things about our downtown is that we have some old timey businesses still plugging away that have probably been long forgotten in many parts of suburbia. One of those businesses is George, the Shoe Cobbler. George is an immigrant and his store has probably been around for as long as he’s been in this country. If I were to guess, I think he is from Haiti or one of the Islands from down south. When I walked in, his little toddler son was with him in the store while he was working away at repairing shoes. Normally when I go in there, there are at least two other guys loitering in the shop and talking about life and the like. I love George. He fixes all my favorite things that babci can’t fix for me. Yeah, Babci used to cobble her own shoes as well and she would use old tires to resole her stuff. Her methods were crude, but George’s work is a lot better.
This week I brought in one of my favorite pairs of knee boots. I bought them about 3 years ago and wore them constantly but now they are getting a small hole in the side and the heels are worn down. For $30 and a week’s wait, I’ll be able to get my favorite boots back. They should be as good as new and hopefully I’ll get another 1-2 years wear out of them. Whenever I go in there, there are at least 100 pair of shoes in line ahead of me to get fixed. Although I don’t know too many other people who cobble their shoes, he always seem to be busy.
My favorite red coat that I literally live in for 6 months of the year has a lining that is shredding to bits. Yesterday I dropped it off at Babci’s. The lining is being replaced with some brown satin she had in her fabric stash. If Babci couldn’t do it, I’d bring it to the tailor to be mended and there are at least a pair of kids’s pants every other week that are going over there to get patches put on.
I’m not sure if it’s just that I’m frugal, or that I have a deep hatred of shopping for stuff that drives me to repair vs replace stuff. Shopping is a time suck, and I’m almost 6 feet tall, which means most stuff does not fit me correctly. Even those boots I love so much had to get altered by George to fit correctly. It’s an exercise in frustration. When I find something that fits me and looks good, I cherish it and baby it and mend it because it’s not easy to find comfortable shoes or clothes that fit right. My husband also has a great pair of Timberland snow boots and he glued the sole back on them last week and I suspect for the same reasons. They are comfortable and broken in and they don’t make that style anymore.
Are you a mender? Why or why not? For me, it’s not so much the cost savings aspect as it is the hassle of finding a suitable replacement.