Sunday, May 31, 2009

on the environmental tip




B and I eat out at Asian restaurants quite frequently. More often than not, they provide disposable chopsticks. It wasn't bothering me when the chopsticks were of the heavy, bamboo variety. But many places use the thin, break-apart wooden style, and I hate the way they feel in my hands. So I've been looking for a pair of portable chopsticks. I really love the heavy plastic ones that we keep at home- I bought them ten for $1.99 at Soho/Chinatown's venerable Pearl River Mart. Not finding what I wanted in portable ones, a light bulb went off- why not just carry the plastic ones with me? So that's what I've been doing- two pairs at a time. They resemble the heavy chopsticks you get at Vietnamese places, and come in a rainbow of colors. I have a system for keeping them clean- they go in a pocket of my bag that I carry with me. When I use a pair, I wipe them off with a damp napkin, then stick them in my bag, outside the pocket. That way I know to switch them out with a clean pair when I get home. So what started out as a quest for comfort has had an environmental bonus. The ones we have are bright green, so I'm hoping people will notice me using them and think about bringing their own.

You can buy 10 pairs of chopsticks for $2.50 from Pearl River here.

From one environmental problem solved to one still in process. I have a pair of Tsubo hiking shoes that I absolutely love. I bought them 2 1/2 years ago to wear on hikes when we visit L.A. But they are so comfortable (and pretty stylish) that I ended up wearing them every day in nyc, esp. when out for our hours-long walks. So as a result, the treads have worn way down, to the point where there are holes in the soles. Because of their wrap-around outersole, I'm having a hard time getting them resoled. I tried a local shoe repair that got top votes on yelp- no dice. I contacted an online company that specializes in shoe resoling- nope. I even contacted Tsubo, who told me that they don't resole their shoes, but offered me a 10% discount on a new pair.

No, no, no, they just don't get it. I don't want to buy a new pair of shoes. It took about a year to break the damn things in and they're finally comfortable. They're made extremely well, and the only thing worn on them is the sole. They cost around $100. I can't in good conscience throw them away. Companies like Birkenstock will resole their shoes forever. Why not Tsubo? I personally think this is bad business practice, and would prevent me from buying another pair of their shoes. It would also make me consider the sole when buying shoes of another brand- and ask the question if they look like they could be repaired.

Has anyone out there had any luck getting shoes with specialty soles repaired? I'd appreciate any input.

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