One of the great challenges when you are growing up is learning to tie up shoe laces. These are the days before Velcro. Nothing was more embarrassing than not being able to tie your own shoe laces when you went to school. It was your first big test to show that you were grown up.
Having mastered the tying up skill once, it’s strange how the same great challenge comes back to you again in later life.
Last summer my wife bought me a trendy pair of new shoes from that well-known High Street name in footwear from my childhood – Timpsons. That’s where the challenge starts all over again!
The shoes were blue leather with white rubber soles and white leather shoe laces. I was about to be the most fashionable man about town. I put the new shoes on with childlike enthusiasm, tugged on the laces and one of the laces broke. The square-shaped white leather laces were so unusual that I couldn’t find any more. So the shoes went back in the box and were forgotten until this summer.
Then my wife bought me the same new white Timpsons shoe laces. The great challenge this time was to get the laces out of the packet. They were tantalisingly encased behind a thick plastic cover sealed to an equally thick cardboard backing. Nobody intended you to get these laces out easily. There were no perforations in the cardboard, no fold away tear-off corner and the plastic was impenetrable. This must be Timpsons’ last laugh.
When I eventually got the packet open with a crow bar……the laces were far too long. I would have known this if I had read the instructions on the back, but I didn’t have my magnifying glass with me at the time. Now with that in hand I can clearly see that I need a degree in shoeology to buy the right shoe laces, then I would know that with only two pairs of eyelets I only need 45 centimetre laces. Sadly, I bought 100 centimetre laces which is long enough for 9 pairs of eyelets. So now I need more eyelets!
Two other things I noticed in the small print on the back of the packet. Firstly, all Timpsons laces are guaranteed for 6 months. Secondly, they hope I enjoy wearing my new Timpsons Laces.
The final irony is the Timpson motto: