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Free Shoes: A tail of two cobblers

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Lance was kind enough to send a pair of new Certo suede monk straps for only the cost of shipping with the understanding one of the small loops the strap goes through was broken. It was torn right where two staples held it together. I took the shoe to the shop nearby my office and the cobbler said, "no problem."

Now, this guy has a reputation for being difficult with a hot temper. I've never had a problem with him, but have seen him get angry at another customer and heard him yelling in Italian at the counter-lady in the back of the shop. He's a skinny little guy who's probably in his 60's but looks much older. The poor fellow appears to have suffered significant burns on his face and most all of the fingers on his left hand are partially missing. Guess I can't blame the guy for being unhappy.

When I pick up the shoe, he charges $7.00. I'm delighted, but I see the loop appears tight. I try it, and in order to take the strap out, I had to pinch the strap. I show the guy, who pinches it, puts it back in the loop and hands it to me. "There!" he smiles. He says he had to cut off the torn piece and that shortened the loop when he stapled it back together. I tell him I really don't want to pinch it every time I buckle or unbuckle.

Cobbler: "What you want me to do?"
Mano: "Fix it."
Cobbler: "How?"
Mano: "I don't know, that's why I brought it to you."
Cobbler: "If I used another piece (of suede) the color wouldn't match. That's all I can do."
Mano: "I understand, but if you couldn't fix it, all you needed to do was call." (He's getting agitated and I'm calm and matter-of-fact.)


Cobbler: He shakes his head, " What you want me to do?"
Mano: "Fix it."
Cobbler: "How?"
Mano: "I don't know, that's why I brought it to you." (He's really angry and I'm still calm. I figured he could've used another piece of leather in the back to lengthen it, but I wasn't about to tell him how to do his job.)
Cobbler: "If I used another piece (of suede) the color wouldn't match. That's it."
Mano: "Really, I understand, but if you couldn't fix it, all you needed to do was call."
Cobbler: "For $7.00, whattamaIgonna call?"

Furious, he takes the $7.00 from the till and slams it on the counter. I take the money and the shoe and leave.

I then go to my former cobbler, who is farther away. Alex is a soft-spoken Russian gentleman who made bespoke; albeit relatively utilitarian, shoes in Russia. Here in the USA he only does repairs as there's no call for his shoes. He has about six pair in the window and over the years they've dulled and cracked from exposure to the sun.

I show him the shoe, explain the situation and he says, "no problem."
When I pick up the shoe, it's fine. He put another piece of leather in the back of the loop and if you look closely you can see the loop was repaired, but it works as it should.

Price $4.00

Lance, thanks again for such a deal and an adventure to go with it.
post #2 of 10
Sorry to hear about the troubles. If you are letting these go, not sure from the post I will take them. Just let me know.

Gene
post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by kali77
Sorry to hear about the troubles. If you are letting these go, not sure from the post I will take them. Just let me know.

Gene
post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by lawyerdad


I take it he is not letting these go. Just giving an update
post #5 of 10
Just re-read the post, it all makes sense now
post #6 of 10
When it comes to shoe threads in the sales forum, the strategy is usually to post first and read later
post #7 of 10
Awesome.
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by mano
I then go to my former cobbler, who is farther away. Alex is a soft-spoken Russian gentleman who made bespoke; albeit relatively utilitarian, shoes in Russia. Here in the USA he only does repairs as there's no call for his shoes. He has about six pair in the window and over the years they've dulled and cracked from exposure to the sun.
do you think if you went to a guy like this armed with pics from the shoe porn thread, he could bespoke you up something worthwhile?

Just curious really, be an interesting experiment (for both you and Cobblerov)
post #9 of 10
A real pity that there are probably many craftsmen like the Russian cobbler who have little opportunity to put their highest skills on display. Instead they do alterations, repairs or toil in the workrooms of others.
post #10 of 10
Your Alex sounds like my Alex. Yakov's Shoe Repair - mild-mannered, no job too small, can-do attitude, and sometimes drops off my shoes if I can't get there by closing!
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