Filing cabinet and work boots
Jun 07, 2010
Amanda O'Donovan
1 Comment

Say it Like You Mean it

After a very annoying incident with a favourite pair of shoes this weekend, I made a mercy dash to the repairers in the mall to restore them to their former glory. Against my better judgment, I left my husband temporarily unattended in a men’s clothing store, buying shorts that looked identical in every way to the ones he’d been wearing the day before.

(Apparently some men think it’s extremely important to replicate their wardrobe year after year, matching colour, shape and fabric to ensure an exact clone of the look they’ve been attentively cultivating for the past decade or so. In a frenzy of excitement, my husband’s even been known to buy two pairs of identical shoes, hiding the understudies until they’re allowed to replace the ones we’re already tired of seeing summer after summer).

But back to my shoes! I arrived at the shoe repair place, only to find that it’s shut on Sundays. The tiny note on the door said, “We’re closed on Sundays. Sorry for the inconvenience.” Well, sorry, but I don’t believe you. And please don’t pretend to be sorry when you’re not. It’s a very empty phrase that sounds remarkably insincere. On what might be the busiest retail day of the week, your kiosk and a nearby jeweler are the only businesses in the mall that are closed. You’ve made a calculated decision to go against the grain and leave the place in darkness, knowing that it’s likely to inconvenience more than a handful of people. You’ve not just popped out for 15 minutes, in which case an apology for your temporary absence would be more fitting.

I searched in vain for another sign that would tell me what time you open on Mondays, but it doesn’t seem you’re willing to give up that information without a fight. Had it not occurred to you that your customers would benefit from knowing your opening times? It only takes a moment to put yourself in our shoes, to work out what we need to know and how you need to say it.

Amanda O’Donovan is a big fan of common-sense communication. You can contact her at 416.456.3859 or

1 comment

Dec 01, 2010

Excellent and funny story. Also interesting fact that the shoe repair men are slowly dwindling. I’ve searched many of my usual spots to see them fully closed and no sign of where they went, or next location please. Maybe the first sign of them leaving is not saying when they’re open…in which case you should take your shoes to another spot (like the one I’m now going to who fully discloses hours). How awful would it be to show up and your pair of Manolo’s or Christian Louboutains are gone, with no warning sign!

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