Walking Diary

By Hsu Shen On


February 2024 · 2 minute read

When I was in school one of my favourite subjects was Literature because I loved to read stories. I got into reading books, and I still love reading. One of my favorite story I read in school was Quality by John Galsworthy. I remember when I was reading it, I got engrossed in it deeply. It affected me deeply even at a young age. I still remember about it from time to time.

The story is about two old-style master shoemakers called the Gessler brothers. They make great shoes by hand and are religious about their art. They do not compromise on the quality. Because they do not change with time, their business is now not doing well, as their customers now prefer other shoe shops. It is a sad story about people who stick to their ideals, and do not/cannot change with the times. These people are left behind in the modern world.

It resonated with me also as my dad owns a shoe shop, and like the book, used to make leather shoes not too different from the ones described. The story is so great as it is very universal and still resonates now. Even now after a century from when this was written, we can still relate to it. More and more I see people preferring to buy from online stores or go to malls. So the small retail stores are going through tough times now. The other issue is many of these are older generation owners, they have tough times changing, so they do not follow the new models to give options like creating websites, advertising in new media, and selling online. Many still only accept cash.

Like the Gessler brothers sadly I don’t see a great outcome for many of these stores, they will just have to close down eventually. While the world is moving forward at such a fast pace, technologies are improving lives. It is also a tragedy that many are left behind because they just can’t keep up with the times.

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