James Steidle: Prince George’s shoe repair shop symbol of a better world

It is a window into a rapidly disappearing world of self-reliance, resourcefulness, and a philosophy of understanding value.

Just think of how hopeless we’d be if the ships didn’t come in and our nation lost its supply of cheap footwear. 

Lucky for us, we’ve still got Jerry down at Steve and Son’s Shoe Repair on George Street, the only place in Northern B.C. where you can get your shoes fixed.

To me, that little shop is a symbol of something very important.  It is a window into a rapidly disappearing world of self-reliance, resourcefulness, and a philosophy of understanding value.

In a throw-away world of easy-come easy-go, Jerry’s shoe repair shop invites us to consider otherwise.

Your items, like your shoes and your clothes, are things to keep alive. They are things that should live for decades, not months. Things that should be built not just to last, but to be able to maintain and to resurrect.  

It’s not like that now. In this era of cheap mass-production, where almost all of our nation’s footwear is manufactured overseas, we place little value on the ability to keep those shoes on the road. The moment they wear out, we throw them away.

We almost don’t have a choice. Our shoes, along with most of our household items, our appliances, even our automobiles and furniture, aren’t really designed to last or to be repaired all that much. 

They are designed to be thrown away.

There’s a word for all this: planned obsolescence. And it has a rationale. 

The more material that can just be thrown in a landfill, the more stuff we have to mine, log, and drill, and the more overseas factories we need to replace all the stuff we thoughtlessly turfed.

And all this, of course, feeds a better and

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