I wish that red gut would make its way into more makeups.
Mac is Mac and experience and proven results trump everything.
That being said, I feel like the "do they fit? I'll walk on the carpet," portion of the Mac Curriculum is a bit self defeating...that is, if I understand it correctly.
It certainly works and in a World where creased Alden's that are too big or too small, go into reset mode where they are brand new again suddenly, it's great. I can get creases and scratches out of almost anything, but the people who don't know their sizing are usually the same people who don't know how to care for/maintain/repair shell.
Sometimes, just trying on a shell Alden will crease it and extensive carpet walking will certainly crease it. So, if you don't know your size and you do the whole carpet thing and find out that the shoes don't fit; you're either setting yourself up for an unacceptable return (for certain retailers who will not accept returned creased shell...AoC) or you're creating a pair of shells that are going to arrive at somebody else's door creased; which, now that they exceed $800 with tax and shipping, just isn't right.
This is not a shot at Mac. I wish that Mac lived in my shoe closet and took care of all of my shors/boots as I've never seen such impressive work done so consistently. I just feel like people paying $750-$850 (or more if you go through Europe or Asia) should receive a shoe/boot that hasn't been tried in. Creases, scratches and other marks left on Alden's don't show up on Alden's radar. With the shell shortage, they'll resell damaged or clearly second rate shoes that slipped by quality control and they'll do it because obviously, we're still buying them.
If we don't allow them to do this, it'll make it harder for it to happen. I really don't know of another shoe company from Nike ($80) to Cleverly ($7500) that would be ok with selling damaged products at full price. All of the people at Alden NY/DC/SF are incredibly nice and seem very thoughtful. This must be coming down from somebody in Massachusetts.
i'd like to think that it's just a Whiskey/Ravello/#4/Cigar issue, but it's not. Retailers are beholden to Alden, their master and, if they bitch on behalf of a customer, they go to the back of a line that already is ridiculously long. I recently got a pair of boots from a retailer and they were clearly seconds being sold as brand new. It was not the retailers fault, Alden packaged and sent them as 1st quality. I called the retailer and the explanation was, "that's just Alden. No two pairs are alike. Each pair had some imperfection or something that makes them unique."
this is my last bitch sess, but this is the largest Alden community in the World and if nobody here has a problem with it, in a year there will no longer be a seconds or irregular designation.
I think what you said is fair enough. Also, you should know that if you are comparing the results of your shoe care to Mac's, you are on losing ground from day one. None of us really know how many pairs of Aldens he has, because he never discloses it, but he seems to have well over 30 pairs (at a conservative estimate). Simple math (assuming a low estimate of 30 pairs for argument sake) shows that he can wear each pair less than once a month before making it through his rotation. Add to that the fact that he apparently doesn't wear his shoes outside (which he said himself). I would expect a pair of shoes that only gets worn a handful of times per year, indoors, to remain quite pristine looking. I don't mean anything bad by this, and I don't think Mac would care that we are talking about it, since he himself said that he never wears his shoes outdoors. But, it simply doesn't take much effort to keep a pair of shoes looking pristine under these wearing conditions. If you have a much smaller rotation, and if you wear your shoes in the real world, they are never going to look the same as Mac's without exponentially more effort. Even then, they will succumb eventually, while shoes worn only indoors may last forever.
He wears them outside. He has taken plenty of outdoor photos of his Aldens on his feet. Unless he carries them outside, sits down, puts them on, takes the picture, then takes them off to walk back inside.
When he said that in response to your questions about his minimal toe wear, I think he was kidding around.