Where possible, I repair clothes rather than buy new ones. My jacket has had a rip mended, so have the jeans I’ve just put away. This is partly a small idiosyncrasy of mine, partly because I’d like to keep money in the local community rather than in supermarkets, and partly because I’d generally like to be a little less consume-consume-consume where I can.
One of the slightly embarrassing things about the modern world is that it costs more to get something repaired than buy it new from a supermarket or the everything-you-can-wear-for-a-fiver stand at Primark, which I think is one of those things that is very damaging in many ways.
The most deeply practical reasons is that I find if I just replace something that gets torn, it gets torn in the same place three months later.
Anyway – the point of this post is to highlight a really nice experience I had with some cobblers who I’m happily recommending to the world.
I bought some (cheap but nice) shoes from Amazon. The sole wore though in about two months. I complained to the Amazon seller who apologised and sent me a replacement pair. The soles in the replacement pair wore out two months later. I’m unsure why I was surprised.
Local cobblers quoted me an astonishing amount to resole a pair of shoes and, as an experiment, I thought I’d try Googling. It turns out that there is a UK business that repairs shoes over the internet. The cost was £30 to resole (twice the price of the shoes! Although still much cheaper than the local quotes) but I gave it a go as an experiment.
The nice man rang me up checked what I wanted, explained to me that the shoes were too cheap to bother with really but agreed to give it a go to satisfy my curiosity. They arrived promptly and I made it six steps outside my door before one of the heels fell off (upon inspection it turned out that the glue on both shoes hadn’t been given time to dry).
The cobblers were mortified to find they’d got it wrong and paid for my postage to go around the loop again.
Unhelpfully, partly due to my failing to explain properly, they only fixed one shoe rather than both. Feeling happy with the shoe I had and feeling a bit bad about the amount of effort I was putting the guys to I sent the shoes back with a pair of boots that needed resoling (and had for about a decade).
Everything came back perfectly and when I tried to pay for the boots I got this:
“Joe. Please accept this repair as a courtesy repair for the aggravation over your shoes. However, I am a keen supporter of Macmillan charity, they are are helping my wife a great deal at the moment and any donations in a box would be gratefully received. “
Which I think is a lovely sign that there are good craftworkers still knocking around on the internet. I’ve donated the £40 for the shoes to Macmillan and I’m happily recommending http://www.shoerepairsonline.co.uk/. Please give them your custom.