You can pay people to fix the things you can’t, but it’s happening less and less. Despite the recession-induced uptick in the shoe repair business, the repair business has been in a general decline for decades: As the WSJ noted, there were 7,000 shoe repair shops in the U.S. in 2009, down from 120,000 during the Great Depression. Getting things repaired used to be a common part of life, but now, aside from cars and bikes, people don’t have things fixed all that often. If you’re not in the habit of doing so, it can be hard to know where to go (repair shops are often very small, one-man or mom and pop businesses), or how much it will cost—oftentimes it feels easier to just buy a new one of whatever it is you need repaired. Lately, I’ve been trying to repair more things instead of buying new ones:
Buttonhole, $6. After a year of wearing my favorite blue button-down shirt at least once a week, the bottom buttonhole began to fray. Buttons are easy enough to sew on, but buttonholes are tricky, so I took it to a tailor for repair. I’d had him alter my suit and a couple of pairs of pants, but I wasn’t sure if it would be worth the cost to repair a buttonhole.