Friday, December 30, 2016

A Shoelace Story. A Distributist Lament.

I have a pair of dress hoes that have light tan laces.

Big deal, you no doubt say.

Well, they're broken.

Well, that happens. Go buy some, right?

Hence the problem.

 Alas, poor shoelaces. . .

For years, when this occurred, i just walked over to one of  the two downtown shoe repair shops or Wolfords, the downtown locally owned shoe store.

They're all gone now.

And now I don't know where to go to get laces.

I tried Walmart, which I dislike, but they don't carry shoelaces for dress shoes. So no luck there.  I guess I'll try Penny's at the mall, or maybe Kohls, which is nearby the mall.  Both are clear across town, but if they don't have them I'll find myself actually having to order shoelaces, of all things, on the net.

And so we have the irony of retail consolidation 

We're always told that this makes things more convenient for everyone.  The big box stores and retail chains do drive out the smaller locally owned stores. But at the same time, choice diminishes along with that, oddly enough.

Now, if you live in a big city, or even a larger one, this is no doubt not true. 

But if you live in a smaller one, or a smaller town, it definitely is. The retail choices decrease with the competition from big box stores.

And so you are left with the net.  Even for shoelaces.

And of course for shoes.

Dress shoes have been a problem for me ever since 1990.  That's when I graduated from law school. At that time I had two pair of dress shoes and both of them were U.S. Army "low quarters".  I.e., the black dress shoe worn by soldiers with their Class A uniform.  I wore those as dress shoes quite a bit for a long time, although I haven't done so now for quite awhile and one pair is mysteriously missing. Anyhow, I thought they were fine but even early on I knew I needed another pair and my father took me up to Penny's where we ordered one.  My feet, at size six, are so small that about the only shoes I can ever find locally are cowboy boots and athletic shoes, the latter of which I very rarely wear.  Even Wolfords almost never had shoes my size and I don't blame them.  It'd be pointless for them to stock shoes just for me and as more and more men have switched to fairly casual shoes there likely wasn't much of a market for small sized men's shoes.  It did give me the feeling, however that they were likely in their declining days as a store, Wolfords that is.

Anyhow that means that I've pretty much had to mail order dress shoes for a long time, and of the four pair I've acquired since 1990 (all still in use) all of them came through the mail.  Two pairs are H.S. Trask shoes that are made from buffalo hide, including the one depicted above, and they're as tough as nails.  They'll ultimately wear out, maybe, from the inside, not the outside, as the outside leather is indestructible.  The shoelaces aren't, however.

Hence the problem.

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