Purchase or Repair

I’ve been ignoring the fact that soles of my brown leather dress(ier) shoes were wearing out, for about as long as I’ve been ignoring the fact that somehow I’d nearly ripped (clean off) the pocket of my jeans.  My favourite jeans.  And the shoes weren’t too shabby either.

Molly Maid (my mom owns the Vancouver franchise) was coming to clean my house the other day and I had to kill some time before they got there. I thought that instead of playing video games (my default activity in almost ANY given situation), I’d take this stuff to the cleaner and to the shoe guy.  The cobbler is his official title I think.

Well, I’m happy I did.  I think it’s probably cheaper to buy new shoes, they were $50 to repair, and the jeans will be $20 if they need to actually sew in another pocket, but I’m ok with this.

I thought about it as my bank account was communicating with the cobblers bank account, “$52.50? Crumbs that’s expensive”. But you know what? It isn’t.  It’s fair market value for a North American market.  I have skills. I own a garbage/recycling company. My hourly rate? $125 if you want me to consult or send guys out to do work on an hourly basis.  Not any old chump can repair shoes.  But we’re used to paying a fictitious price based on the cost of labour in a less fortunate nation.

I would expect him to take 30 minutes to an hour to repair my shoes, and therefore the $50 seems like a pretty fair price.

The jeans? Well they’re my favourite pair, they’re broken in, there’s no holes in them that aren’t supposed to be there and I can’t donate them to charity with a clear conscience because they need $20 worth of repair work done. So I’m happy on that front as well.

Anyway, I thought I’d pass this along on my blog.  Even though repairs are more expensive than buying new (sometimes), consider the fact that the person you’re paying is from Canada, or at least Canadian and has to live and pay for things in Canadian $. As well, you can work towards cancelling out the fact that you bought shoes from a (probably) 3rd world nation by paying someone at home to do the repair instead of supporting a less than perfect system some say is based upon exploitation. AND, you’re keeping shoes and pants out of the landfill (and I would have thrown them out – nothing bothers a charity more than something that “could easily be fixed by someone (as long as it isn’t me)”.

Have you ever been forced with a similar situation? What lead you to choose option A, over option B? I’d be curious to know.



  1. Julia said

    I usually buy a new pair of shoes once my current ones have “expired” (about two years after I start wearing them). But I’ve never thought about going to a shoe cobbler to fix my shoes. In fact, I don’t even know any that exist where I live.

    In the society that we live in today, I suppose we don’t even think about these things, except, perhaps, those who do care about the consequences of buying new shoes and throwing away the old pair. And besides, like what you said, it’s extra money out of the pocket just to fix a pair of old, old shoes. Who would do that? Not many people in America, I assume. We’re all about new things, new trends, new everything. We move from one object of desire to another ’til the day we die.

    • Hi Julia,

      I bet you’ll start to notice cobblers if you start looking. I can think of 3 right now, 1 in Lonsdale Quay, 1 under neath the police station @ Cambie and 6th, and one in Lynn Valley mall. I bet there’s DOZENS in Vancouver.

      I imagine like most things, the cost of repairs differs depending on what needs to be done. Check it out next time, I was REALLY happy with the shoes I got back!

  2. I paid for my wife’s shoes to be repaired which was cheaper than the actual original cost of the shoes. I did this out of principle as if she’d have purchased a well made pair in the first place it wouldnt have happened so quickly and it keeps local trade and business happy!

  3. In the UK manysmall locksmiths shops also offer a cobbler service (similar kit for the key cutting I guess).

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