Attempting to buy a shoe lace ….

March 25, 2008

I think I now know why Douglas Adams placed so much importance Shoes. Ever since I can remember my respectable shoes have been supplied by Church’s. They may be expensive (the last set were over £400) but they last for a decade or more, under rough wear, so to pay less is a false economy. Every year you send them off to the factory and they are resoled on the original last. For the first time in thirty years they came back this summer with poor stitching. I sent them back, and got them a week later without any work having been done. Frustrating, but I sent them back again on Saturday (grumbling). That meant the backup pair had to be packed for Hong Kong (where I have to wear a suit for three days). I noticed that a lace was missing (16 year old son main suspect) but determined to buy a new set in Heathrow. That was when the trouble began.

The shoe shops in Heathrow told me that they were now banned form selling shoe laces in security grounds. I must admit that the prospect of a shoe lace being a deadly weapon was a new one on me. They generally break easily and are not long enough to get around the average neck. I could do far more damage with a power-cord, freely available at many stores. However assuming the unlikely idea shoe laces providing a new weapon in the terrorists armory, why then do shoe shops in Heathrow sell shoes with laces in them? If the laces are as deadly as seems to be implied then surely we should only be allowed to buy shoes with elastic sides or velcro fastening? Its rather like the US screening people who buy one way tickets on the basis that they may be planing to blow themselves up on the outwards journey and don’t want to waste money on the return portion of the fare. Buying a set of shoes to obtain the laces is not a major burden to overcome.

It got worse in Hong Kong. I went out to buy a set of black laces. In an hour and a half I visited multiple shoe shops to be told that that shoe laces were unavailable. I was treated with contempt in one location for not realising that I should buy new shoes when the laces break ….

Finally someone took pity on me and gave me a set designed for trainers with large metal ends. Half an hour with an improvised screwdriver (my portable stabler) saw the metal ends off the laces and I just about managed to thread them. They will not look good, or balanced, but at least my shoes will not fall off.

Between stupidity in security and a culture which sees lace breakage as justifying a new purchase of shoes. Evolving to be birds is the next step (read Adams if you don’t get that)

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