Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Saving Soles: A Visit to the Cobbler

For the past month I've spent more time than normal thinking about, lifting, sorting, and collecting shoes.  (You didn't know?  Check out my posts about the Soles 4 Souls Flippin Good Deeds Challenge here, here or here).   So last week when the sole on the heel on my brown dress flats fell off on the train, I decided to take action rather than pushing them to the back of the closet hoping they would fix themselves.   A week or so one of my co-workers took his shoes to the cobbler.

Cobbler.   Apple Cobbler.  Peach Cobbler.  Blackberry Cobbler.  Shoe Cobbler?  It's an image I associate with Disney movies, fairy tales and picturesque German villages.  In our "throw away" society, I didn't really think about people who repair shoes.   But then I started to think about my shoes.   I invest in my work shoes.   Payless shoes don't cut it for very long.   

Let's say I paid $50 for my shoes at Nordstrom Rack a year ago.   I work 48 weeks per year (gotta love my 4 weeks of vacation).    I wear them twice a week.   Then this past year, I've paid $.52 each time I've worn them.    Considering that same $50 would only buy me about 11 peppermint mochas at Starbucks, I'm getting a lot more value from my shoes.   Hopefully the $12 I paid my local cobbler today will keep my shoes in business for another year.    Now (according to my wildly scientific shoe math) I am paying roughly 13 cents per day worn (assuming I still wear them twice a week 48 weeks per year) to recoup the costs of repairing my shoes.  If I didn't repair them I wouldn't be wearing them at all, and it would cost me much more than $12 to get another pair of similar quality.  

The moral of the story?  It's cheaper to find your local cobbler and repair a pair that you love than to buy a new pair.   But....if you have gently used pairs that you aren't going to wear, please donate them to someone who will. 

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