09 September 2008

Ajusshi Integrity

The bottom of my moms spangly sandals had loosened from the top of the shoe, so she took it to the gudu fixing guy in our officetel. The ajusshi took one glance at the sandals and said tersely (in Korean), "I can't fix it."

"Can't you just put some glue in between the two pieces?" asked my mom.

"I can apply some glue, but it's just going to fall apart again," he mumbled in between a bite of banchan and bap.

"It's okay," said my mom. "Can't you just put some glue for now?"

"Ande," he said gruffly, waving his hand in the air like he was Jennifer Hudson.

"No, no, no, no way," said his wavering hand.

We walked away with her sad sandals, unfixed.

I was quite amused by the shoe repair man's sense of integrity. My mom was willing to pay the man for just slapping some glue on the shoe, even knowing that the glue remedy would not last very long. He, however, refused to repair the shoe knowing that the fix would be fleeting. I feel like shoe repair dudes in the Homeland would look at my mom's desperate expression and end up charging her double.

This brusque sense of integrity seems to be common amongst many ajusshis in the service industry. Cyndi and I have both encountered taxi drivers who told us to walk or take the bus instead of taking the taxi because our destination was so close. (I guess they could have also been reacting to the high gas prices. ) Though the ajusshi demeanor can be, on most occasions, off-putting, I do appreciate their honesty.

As for my mom's shoes, we took them to a second shoe repair stand. This ajusshi also told my mom that glue wouldn't really be any help (because of moisture or something like that), but after she insisted, he complied and slapped on some glue.

1 comment:

Roboseyo said...

That was how I knew I'd found a good dentist: when she told me I DIDN'T need a treatment I thought I did. Later, she did the same for a friend of mine, who had been told he needed about a million dollar procedure by some other dental crook.