Friday, November 12, 2010

Cambridge Instant Shoe Repair!

I took my shiny new Børn riding boots out for their first spin today. We walked about 4 miles around Harvard Square, and they felt and looked great. Then I let a plate-glass shop door scrape right over the top of my left boot. It left a big, horrible scar right across the toes.

Oh, crap. Oh, $%&#.  I've damaged boots before. Those scuffs don't go away.

How would I ever enjoy these boots again with that ugly reminder of my klutziness glaring up at me? I'd planned to wear them to a dinner party that night. So much for that.

I did not burst into tears although I wanted to. I was near The Tannery, so I went in for advice. Three salesmen shook their heads and said my boots were ruined. They commiserated, saying they did the same thing all the time. One tried some polish; it did nothing at all. He told me to go to Cambridge Instant Shoe Repair, at 1105 Mass. Ave., just beyond Harvard Square. "They're really good," he said.

I got a ride there and ran into the shop. There was no one around, so I rang the bell on the counter. A tall, handsome fellow came out of the back room. I took off my boot, put it on the counter, and told my tale. (I remember including a few embarrassingly melodramatic statements that clearly conveyed my state of mind.) He said he'd do his best, but he'd need a day, or at least a couple of hours. "I also just started to eat lunch," he said. "Come back after 4."

I asked him how much it would cost. "Ten dollars." "Is that all?" I asked suspiciously. I needed a miracle and they don't usually come so cheap. He was patient: "If you would like to pay me more, you can, but I'm charging ten dollars."

He had me leave both boots so he could polish them, so I walked to the car in my stocking feet. I wasn't hopeful after that bad prognosis from the three salesmen. I was also too distracted to notice how cold the ground was.

After 4, I returned to the shop. The shoemaker put my boots on the counter with the heels facing me, so I couldn't see the damaged area. With a remorseful, vaguely theatrical expression, he said, "I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I failed." Then he turned the boots around. They looked brand new. I stared hard. I couldn't find the scar. He was smiling. I was stunned.

"You have a wonderful sense of humor," I said. "And you're a miracle-worker." I praised him to the skies, and handed over ten dollars. "I should also bring you some soup," I said. "After all, I ruined your lunch, and you fixed these so quickly for me." "Next time," he said.

Go there!


  1. Oh...I had goosebumps just reading this, really! A miracle and exemplary customer service...both rare these days!

  2. How fortuitous! I found a pair of Santana boots at the Goodwill, and they were very lightly worn but with a few scuffs. I remembered your post, hoofed it to the store, and now I have a pair of brand new looking boots with a date for toe stretching when the owner returns from vay-cay.

    I so enjoy your blog as I "walk in your shoes" in several ways: I am also a freelancer on the starving artist plan who walks all over and beyond. I am fostering two senior/special needs Maine Coon kittehs for Charles River Alley Cats (and I do in-your-home pet care/sitting, should you need another back up).

  3. Annie, that's great about the boots... and the cats! You sound like a kindred spirit! If you send me another comment with your email address, I promise not to publish it but will definitely get in touch with you about cat sitting. Thanks!


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