LET’S ENCOURAGE AND SUPPORT EXCELLENCE
Recently, I was saddened to find that Martin the Cobbler on 5th Street North in front of Galt Garden is retiring. I know of no other person in town who repairs shoes in an old-fashioned way masterfully like him. There are a few people like that in Lethbridge. Terrible George (as he called himself to me) of the Cowboy Boots (Leather Unlimited) on 5th Street South next door to the Abyssinian Restaurant is one. Precision Watch Repair on 13th Street North near 6th Avenue is another. I weep for the passing of any of those masters of crafts, who pride themselves in quality of their work, not so much in profit making. Do readers know any other masters of crafts like them in this town? Let’s mention their names here and promote them.
Like North American auto industry is painfully realizing, quality in the end wins. I was once sitting next to a roofer from Calgary on the flight to Japan. He was telling me the quality of roofers’ work in Japan. He said that when it comes to quality, no Canadian roofer can beat Japanese. He said, in Japan it takes eight years for an apprentice to be a fully qualified roofer, whereas in Canada it takes only a few weeks. Yes, it is more costly over there, but in the end it is cheaper because their roofs last forever; he said.
When I lived in Switzerland I was told that the Swiss didn’t buy American cars because of poor workmanship. They used to look for cars that would last life-time; they said. I guess that era is passing even there. But the same mentality persists. So you hardly see American cars in Switzerland. The same is the case in Japan, where I often go. Mr.Buz Hargrove complains about the trade barrier there. But the fact is, their quality control is much more strict, thus North American cars can not compete. In Tokyo, you see mainly Japanese made cars, but also many foreign cars. They are, however, mainly German not American. Patriotism has nothing to do with it. It’s quality they seek. My friends tell me that the old fashioned mentality still persists: they still think everything foreign is superior and prestigeous. They show off their business success by driving Audi, Mercedes and BMW. “Oh, you drive Gaisha (foreign car” is a great compliment. It’s not that we don’t have masters in Canada. We do. We can create quality.
Let’s promote and encourage our own quality makers, who are proud of their crafts. I am asking readers to tell me more about them, because I want to do business with them. It’s good for Lethbridge economy. In then end, I am convinced that I will save money.