Monday, September 18, 2006

Not a Cobbler

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So along with my new conviction to be my own Cottage Industry, I took all the clothes that gather unless dust in my closet to the somewhat local Buffalo Exchange. They gave me money for my, what, hip clothes and then sent my more likely unhip clothes to the needful unclothed.

So with this cash, I went to Nordstrom.
My long story shorter is that I need (nearly) orthopedic shoes for work. After being gone from the "floor" for nearly a year, I have discovered I feel my youth after 8 hours of heavy lifting.
I went to the internet and researched that in fact the USA makes ugly shoes.
They tend to make ugly cars and apartment houses too, but that's not what I'm talking about.

How can you possibly buy shoes that are not made in China? You can't buy them cheap that's for sure. You can buy shoes that you wear out and re-sole. You cannot please peer-pressured children. I'm sure conscious shoppers have all their own set of hurdles.

But here is where I discover that somewhere in my childhood I've heard this discussion before. Then I never had the realization that other people might not like making 3 cents and hour. My not buying shoes from their bosses hardly handles their paystub, but where else can I start?
I cannot make my own shoes. My mother, in her own deprived childhood having tried, told me it is not meant to be. Slippers, yes. Back supporting treads, no.

Funny, ironic, surprising as I looked at labels, thinking a European origin was better for my conscience, I got to meet the VP of ECCO shoes right there on the sales floor of The OC's Mecca. Since I am hip, I liked the styles. Ecco seems to be turning a new leaf in the fashion department. I think their bread and butter clients may be dying off.
I made the sales rep who organized the product event nervous as I asked the introduced VP about outsourcing. He explained that his company was part of the 3% of shoe manufacturers that own their own tanneries and factories. Not minding that a cow gives her life for my shoes and that people who crafted them were actually making a livable wage, I bought a pair with my recycled money.
Funny, ironic, surprising that I found what I was seeking. I wonder if my questions to a VP sifts down somewhere among marketers? The sales guy commented on my concerns as unique. I'm sure they were.
What kind of questions are you prepared to ask out there in the marketplace? I'm sure we're asking "Where did that spinach come from?" these days.

What other questions could we be asking? One never knows who might actually cross our path who could really provide the answer.

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