Should I at least rescue the cat?
July 30, 2016 11:04 AM   Subscribe

Two months ago, I dropped a pair of shoes (value ~$100) off at a cobbler in my neighborhood. He told me he was having problems with his vision, and to give him a couple of weeks to finish the shoes, because he needed to see the doctor that week to fix his vision (cataract surgery??) before he could work on them. That should have been sufficient indication of what was to come....

When I stopped back on the day he asked me to, he was there, but my shoes hadn't been fixed yet. He asked me to give him another week. Since then, I have been stopping back 2-3 times a week at various times of day and days of the week and have never found the shop open.

I've tried calling the phone number on the business's Google Maps page, and it rings and rings. I've left a note with my phone number and a request to call me -- the note has since disappeared, but I haven't heard anything. Today, I called the two phone numbers listed on an ad for an apartment posted in the shop's window, and both people who answered the phone were rude and defensive (leading me to believe they've received many such phone calls), but refused to give me contact information. There is cat that sleeps in the window, so someone is either a) coming to feed the cat, b) neglecting the cat, or c) living in an apartment connected to the shop (the shop shares an address with an apartment building). There are reviews on Google Maps indicating that other people have had similar experiences in the past.

I'm trying to be empathetic -- I know the owner is probably in poor health following his surgery, and not stealing my shoes or trying to mess with me or something. But I really want my freaking shoes back, and having the daily recurring task of "pick up shoes" on my to do list is driving me insane. What do I do???
posted by i_am_a_fiesta to Grab Bag (7 answers total)
My advice is to buy a new pair of shoes. One, if you do, you know the next day he will be there. That is the way the shoe gods work. Or, two, you will have a nice new pair of shoes that you can actually wear and you will never get the old ones back.

My other thought is to actually call the ad for the apartment and ask to see the apartment. Maybe you can either gleen some information that way or learn who the landlord is or something.
posted by AugustWest at 11:11 AM on July 30, 2016 [10 favorites]

You might be able to find more information by calling another nearby cobbler, if he's been closed then his customers must be going elsewhere and they'd bring information with them.
posted by FallowKing at 11:14 AM on July 30, 2016 [8 favorites]

I would also just buy a new pair of shoes and make a note to follow up again in a month. If this isn't resolved in a month after that follow up, consider the shoes lost. Sometimes things happen, and in this instance it happened to your shoes.

posted by samthemander at 11:55 AM on July 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

Can you slip a note under the door? Wish him well on his treatment, and tell him that you'd like to get the shoes back, fixed or not; leave your contact info and enough info for a third party to match the shoes to you (assuming the worst, hoping for the best).
posted by Sunburnt at 12:05 PM on July 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

It sounds like he has a lot on his plate right now, and your shoes fall somewhere near the bottom of his priority list. Get another pair of shoes.

It sucks for you, but in this situation I think it's more important to do the right thing than the fair thing.
posted by pintapicasso at 3:16 PM on July 30, 2016 [4 favorites]

Is there a neighbourhood Facebook group? Where I live, there are some for the larger area, and even specific smaller areas (streets, BIAs, interest groups) within those larger groups. Changes to local businesses are favourite topics of discussion. If there is one, use the search function to see if others have more information, or will organize with you to get your shoes. You might not get your shoes, but you might get a sense of closure if there's a worst-case scenario already presented there.
posted by peagood at 5:19 AM on July 31, 2016

For your own peace of mind, definitely stop coming by 2-3 times a week and stop playing PI and stop speculating about personal things because this is a professional transaction. Mentally move on and check back in 6 weeks. He owes you the shoes, but for reasons unknown, maybe good reasons, maybe bad reasons, you may never get them. I know this sucks, but this could easily become an unhealthy preoccupation for you.

Someone I know just got eye surgery and was out of commission for 2 months. While she was able to feed herself and her pets, she definitely wasn't working or up for talking.

And I think you were kidding, but in case you were serious: no, you can't kidnap someone's pet because they haven't performed the service you hired them for! Which is what this would look like even if your intent was kind.
posted by kapers at 7:34 AM on July 31, 2016 [3 favorites]

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