How Much Should It Cost to Fix My Shoes?

So I have finally admitted to myself that it is fall, mostly because my Instagram has started to fill up with photos of fall leaves and I’m starting to feel twitchy and jealous and wanting to make last minute plans to get out of town.

With fall, for me, comes pulling all of my cold-weather clothes out of the suitcase I have shoved under my bed and debating whether I have seasonal affective disorder and then finally facing the reality of how badly I ruined my boots last year.

Some background: I have baby-sized feet and a couple years ago I found these brown boots at a vintage store that were upwards of $200 and I must have had some kind of temporary blackout or else was just so happy to find shoes in my size that I bought them right then on there. Then I proceeded to wear them every day and walk on them all pigeon-toed and crooked and wear down half of the heel, past the rubber and right down to the beautiful wooden sole.

Saturday I decided to take my life in my hands and go to a cobbler. Or actually my boyfriend said he wanted to get the soles on his winter boots repaired and I made him carry my shoes, too.

Every time I go to the tailor or the cobbler I imagine it is going to cost $10. I don’t know where I got this, especially considering I have been to a tailor and a cobbler maybe twice in my life before and every time it costs way more than that. But $10 seems right.

Getting the pockets sewn up on my winter coat was $14. A POCKET. Then dry cleaning three winter coats was $60. This can’t be normal, right? I didn’t know enough to say anything, and I really didn’t want to haggle with this sweet grandmotherly woman, or snatch my clothes back from her in a huff. Plus I was so proud of myself for taking these things to be fixed, anyway.

Then we go to the cobbler on Saturday. First of all, we walk in and the woman says, “One second” to my boyfriend Dustin, very quietly. I didn’t hear her, though, so I thought we were just standing in their shoe repair stall for five minutes while this elderly husband and wife team just kept polishing high heels and labeling stray shoes. I kind of liked this, actually. It seemed like a bold power move.

After an incredibly delayed silence, the woman puts the shoes in her hand to the side, lowers her glasses, and says, “Okay!” and reaches for our shoes.

I’m thinking $10, right? A worthy investment, surely worthwhile when I spent $250 on these boots and then proceeded to ruin them like the child I am. I was willing to do penance for this, and it took all of my energy not to shout, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” as if this woman was the mother of my shoe children.

She looked at my boots, and at the man boots, and quoted us $130.

A HUNDRED AND THIRTY DOLLARS. Dustin snatched his back. I told him he could wait another year, or three, though he shouldn’t trust me. I, feeling guilty for the damage I did, relented. Sure. Take all of my money.

Now can someone tell me what this kind of thing is supposed to cost? Please say 10 bucks, and that you know a great cobbler, but good job helping this elderly couple support their small business.

Photo: Paul Lowry

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