Friday, 30 March 2012

Convenient Cobbler

Back home they seem to have perfected the 24/7, anything-you-want lifestyle. Drive-through banking, Amazon, Big Box stores. You can get more than you know you even need. Something breaks, well, that's a different story.

Here in India, the opposite is often the case. No Home Depot, no endless Internet shopping. Not even a supermarket. But if you're in need of a tailor, painter, driver, any sort of tradesmen, choices abound.

Sarah and James were out on a typical Saturday, walking the busy streets of Chennai when one of Sarah's flip flops gave way. The center fastener came loose and suddenly she was left limping along. What to do? Back home, we'd get ourselves home, drive to the shoe repair place, drop them off, get a ticket, come back a few days later, maybe a week and pick up the repaired flip flop. Maybe pay $5-$10. Or just figure the repair wasn't worth it, toss the flip flops, head to Target and get a new pair.

Not so in India, and not because there aren't any Targets (hey, we do have something called Big Bazaar, sometimes better named Bit Bazaar). About 30 seconds after Sarah's flip flop fiasco, a nice man starts pointing down the street. "What?"we think, looking at him, baffled.

And then it registers. Of course! He's pointing to the shoe repair guy we just passed on the sidewalk.

Our hero cobbler, a typical sidewalk example found all over Chennai.

Busy working, taking about three minutes to fix the flip flop. Done, beautiful, good as new! Cost? About 10¢

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