Last week, I took a pair of shoes back to the man who had repaired them.
The sole he’d replaced had come undone for the third time since his first
attempt. While putting on another pair of shoes—which he had also
repaired recently—I noticed the banding around the edge had come
undone. So, I put both pair in a big paper bag and slipped into a third pair—
which he has yet had no hand in. I took the big paper bag to the shoe
repair guy and showed him the problem with the first pair.
“They keep coming undone…” I began.
“At the toe,” he said. “Always at the toe…” he muses.
“Yes. And these,” I said, taking the second pair of shoes from the bag,
“well, you can see that the banding, or whatever you call it, has come
undone, on both shoes, all the way around.”
“I did not do that,” he said, and handed me the shoes back.
“You re-soled these shoes,” I began, showing him the new soles.
“But, that is not my work. I did not replace that, it’s part of the original shoe.”
Then, he very meticulously took a pen and delineated where his new sole
ended and where the original binding began. “That’s original. Not my work.”
“Well, let’s say that’s not your work. Let’s just say your work somehow
brought this about, because, before I brought you these shoes, there was
no problem with the original binding. Now,” I continued, “I put them on and
the binding fails.”
“That’s not my work. It’s part of the original shoe,” he says.
I say nothing. It’s clear to both of us that if the binding on those shoes
needed repair when I brought them in to be re-soled, he’d have fixed the
binding at that time.
“I’ll fix the shoes,” he says, “But, it’s not my work.”
“Good. That’s all I want. Thanks,” I say, “how much will you charge?”
“I’ll fix the shoes, but that is NOT my work,” he repeats and throws the
shoes in the bag and tosses the bag onto the floor behind the counter.
“I’ll pay for the repair, but how much,” I begin, and he cuts me off.
“I’ll fix the shoes, but that is not my work,” he says, pointing to the bag.
“When can I pick them up?”
”Tomorrow,” he says and turns his back on me.
So, I give him a day to fix the shoes, and a day to cool off, and during that
time I’m debating whether I should; apologize, offer, yet again, to pay, give
him, say, ten bucks for his effort, or hand him a copy of one of my books
saying, ‘I appreciate your work, here’s some of mine’. But, when I go in to
pick up the shoes, I’ve decided to do none of that; life is messy enough
without me trying to orchestrate things.
So, I walk in, and he see’s me coming, and he picks up the bag with the
shoes in it, and puts them on the counter, and he turns and walks away.
It’s his joint, his rules. So, I pick up the bag and, quietly, walk out the door.
So, apparently, somehow I’ve offended this man, because he can’t repair