I was sitting in my office yesterday and I got up for something, either a washroom break or my tenth coffee of the morning, when I felt my left shoe coming loose. now, if you wear dress shoes as part of your work or even often enough outside of work, you know that most dress shoes are made of leather and once you lace them tightly, the leather grips the lace and holds it in place. But for some reason, my left shoe became loose and the shoe slackened on my foot as I walked.
Upon further examination (a totally fancy way of saying “I checked it out), I realized that the lace had some damage to it. The best way I can describe it, is that it became “gloved.” To clarify, “gloving” is known in forensic circles as the effect of the outer layer of the hand’s tissue being forcefully scraped off to reveal the tissue beneath. Although gross, this is basically what happened to my shoe laces; the outer surface was stripped away, revealing a thinner, finer lace beneath. This finer lace provided no support and couldn’t hold its knot once tied.
I purchased a new set of laces and installed them and the problem was fixed. It also got me examining my shoes, which is not really something one does beyond tying them. I came to realize that I’ve had these shoes for over fifteen years. Made of sturdy, stout leather, they’ve served me well in various functions, events, jobs and activities. And although I know that most people would have likely scrapped them in favour of a newer pair by now, they’re still comfortable, usable and provide excellent support.
Before everyone jumps into my comments section and brings up the fact that I’ve been using a pair of shoes for fifteen years (FYI, my grandfather owned shoes for longer and went through worse than I have), I started thinking about how our world has grown to be a disposable one. Products and items last for shorter periods, usually requiring replacement as the cost of repairing them is usually higher and more time consuming than simply replacing it.
A good example would be computers and smart devices. The vast majority of people in the western world now own a smart device and/or home computer as part of their daily lives. Back in the 1980’s when I first set hands on a computer, they were considered a luxury and not an expected part of the household. But most computers these days last only a certain amount of time before they can no longer be “updated,” even if they still work just fine. This can be frustrating to someone who has spent a significant amount of money on one.
I’ve faced similar issues with my cell phones in recent years, where a phone can longer be updated to current software and stop supporting certain apps and programs as a result. This really sucks, since I’ve kept every previous generation of cell phone I have and they all work. So, if all I needed was an actual cell phone, it’d be fine. When you’re paying a substantial amount for a product designed to perform a bulk number of functions, you won’t be happy if those functions are no longer available.
I’m ranting just a little bit here, and some of you may be wondering where the connection is between replacing my shoe laces and talking about electronics. My point is that, much like my grandfather used to say, “they don’t make ‘em like they used to!” The result of this is that we now exist in a world where it has become easier to throw things away and replace them instead of trying to maintain them. I think it’s important to remember that something trustworthy that serves you up well should have every effort taken to be maintained. Food for thought… ☯️