Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Help WANTED: Buck's Shoe Repair, Valparaiso, IN PART TWO

NOTE: This is a review of the OLD BUCK"S Shoe Repair. As of Fall 2011 new owners have taken over and the store looks great and the folks are attentive and personal...I cannot wait to have a reason to go in there again!

Help WANTED: Buck's Shoe Repair, Valparaiso, IN PART TWO
By Guest Blogger Sharon Angelina

(If you missed part one of this hilarious and harrowing tale of terrible service please check out yesterdays' Part One!)

(continued from yesterday)
I would have interrupted, but never did find a polite pause in their important conversation to do so. I coughed, cleared my throat, insinuated myself in FRONT of Mr. Customer, and plopped my bag of boots on the counter. Finally, in one grand irritated gesture, Mr. Buck gave me a quick scowl, swished a customer repair ticket out of his chest pocket, growled, "Fill this out," and resumed his deep conversation.

That was enough. I said "NO, I just want to know if these can be fixed." I reached in and grabbed the broken heeled boot, and handed it to him, as I began to explain I only wanted an opinion. My explanation was cut short. He took, literally, less than three seconds, flexed the heel quickly, and said "Nope, busted, can't do it. Supports gone, 'll never hold," and tossed it back at me across the counter.

This infuriated me. And surprised and confused me. I didn't know which to feel first, or to feel more. I was the only other customer...I had a question... Was this even a shop? Had I invaded someone's home? I grabbed the boot, turned, and marched out, trying to slam the door behind me, but at the last instant I decided to preserve my dignity. I only slammed the door in my mind. Really hard. I wanted to open it again and yell "This shop sucks!" and then slam the door. But again, dignity. In my mind.

And the sad thing is, I got the boots fixed--they were totally fixable, and they were fine, I wore them, I think, twice-- but I can't remember where I got them fixed. Whoever it was did a great job. And they were polite to me. But ironically, I only remember that crap service I got at Bucks. Buck's rhymes with sucks. And they do.

WOW! I couldn't believe this story. Sharon tells it with a humorous bent, but I believe this is what happened and yet...I cannot believe this is what happened. I know the draw to small shops of any flavour is the folksiness of the service and conversation. The personal relationships with the owners and employees vs. the stereotypical name tagged zombie masses of the big box stores. Can there be too much relationship and not enough customer service? Apparently so. Like any good cocktail party guest, a small business owner or employee engaged in a more personal conversation should always seek to acknowledge and draw in the newcomer. Even quick eye contact, a smile and a "Hello!" would have increased Sharon's threshold for service immensely. I have not heard anything good about this shop, there was even an uncomplimentary article in the Times. This is disappointing since it is a short walk from my house and our family definitely used a shoe repair shop in our last town.


  1. Sounds like a sad but true story, Heather! And did you see that Bucks is now closed? No more bad customer service stories will come from there, that's the good news!

  2. Buck's is sorta an icon in Valpo. Been around forever... "Mr. Buck", passed away about a year ago(?) not sure who is running it now. Think he had a partner.

  3. There is a new shoe repair in town. They are in the old Buck's place, but so not the same people or personality. Go check them out. They also have two other locations; Merrilville and Mishawaka.

  4. Oh yes I wen tin and chatted with the woman..she was great and it is definitely a place I will go with shoe etc repairs!