The majority of people don’t know what they are talking about when it comes to shoes. Period. Reread that in case you are confused so I don’t get a bunch of victims hating me. ‘The majority,’ but not all. Especially those in shoe forums. But some people are naturally smart and use common sense when it comes to potential “issues”. Much like in regular society the ones that know nothing are usually the loudest and drain out the sensical ones. It’s sad but it’s the reality. And most often, you find these people lurking on shoe forums, or forums in general, as they need a place their voice can be heard by someone who thinks they care.
Most experts don’t actually have the time to contribute to the shoe forums. They are too busy being experts in their field which is usually quite demanding. Therefore you are stuck with a lot of know-it-alls that in fact, know nothing. And much of the vile commentary they spread corrupts the minds of people who claim to know nothing and simply ask questions. Yet when they ask the question once and get a plethora of non-sense answers, sadly they transform into that same knows nothing, know-it-all. And the tragic circle of groupthink grows and grows. And it must stop, even though I know it won’t since we humans thrive on drama and love the attention of someone rooting us on to do dumb shit. But, I will stay battling it as long as I care enough to be involved in the industry and hope to make a small dent that one day might turn into a ripple effect.
So what happened? Well, on the Carmina Enthusiast page on Facebook, there was a client that had purchased a pair of pull-up leather, aka Chromexcel, chukkas, and was curious as to the various nicks and color discrepancies he found on his new boots. This a valid question and potential concern for someone not familiar with how pull-up leather acts and reacts. And for those that do not know while actually reading this, the reality is that it is a very durable yet highly reactive leather. It is prone to scuffing, scratching, and discoloration but this is all a part of its nuanced nature. The scuff will be soon irrelevant as it will go away and another one will appear. It is not a fine leather, but rather a leather meant for beating up as it is strong and thicker than your average calfskin.
Therefore, upon receiving his chukka boots, with an out-of-the-box inspection he noticed some of said scuffs etc, as you can see from the photos. As I mentioned above he went to the shoe forum of Carmina‘s fans and asked whether these were ordinary or not. Now, this is the same thing I see happen time and time and time again all across Facebook. I am sure it happens in Reddit, and definitely also on Style Forum too. And it is natural to ask your peers when you are unsure of something. I get it. But what often happens when someone asks a question is often not the outcome that actually helps anyone. Because the reality is most people love to be negative and they thrive on spreading it. Especially online and when anonymous. And naturally, the majority of the comments (prior to mine and those thereafter) were ‘return them, that’s not acceptable.’
What was even worse though, is that the client screenshot an email he had with Carmina and showed Carmina’s very honest response about the situation, commenting as if it was an unacceptable one. Now even though I advertise Carmina’s shoes, this post has nothing to do with defending them, nor do I comment on their Customer Service as I have never personally received it as a customer since I am not one. BUT, in this instance, they actually told the client just have I would have one of mine and the fact was that their answer was the truth.
Now, while I recognized the leather right away because I deal with it myself, in my own brand (see featured image), the reality is that the type of leather was not announced. And while one might defend the people telling this guy to return his pair, for failing to understand what type of leather was, well I still see that as part of the problem. Because if you don’t know, either ask or keep your negative comments to yourself. Because you are not helping anyone and only creating more unrealistic expectation-having consumers that are only hurting the industry, not helping it!
So, as I have mentioned time and time again, do more research than just asking a bunch of novices online, especially when you are just getting answers that give no insight or explanation but rather just the blind spewing of ineptitude.
All images (except the featured one) courtesy of the Carmina Enthusiasts Page on Facebook
Well said! Sometimes you could even put pressure on the leather from the inside of the shoe with your finger and move the leather around which will move the oils around and take the mark out from the inside out but yes, typically the oils in your finger will do the same thing from the outside surface.
Thanks for sharing Jef! Glad that you enjoyed the post
I would hate to have that person for a customer. Maybe buyers remorse ? Or maybe the wife did not know he ordered the boots!!
hahahaha, ah ‘the wife’! hahaha
As always great insightful information. I really did not know the extent of the pull up leather scuffing
characteristic. I only recently begun wearing a few types of rugged looking boots so I had little experience. It has been a fascinating experience learning the ins and out of the shoe and leather game. The more you learn the more you look for or demand in bipedal adornment.
Thanks for sharing Kerry. I believe your Txture boots are too 😉
Here, here. I am a shoemaker of 23 years. I seldom speak up on forums because of internet “experts”. I now only make for friends and family. I use Horween leather in almost every pair. Your article is so, so true
Thank you for sharing Robert Land and do not be afraid to speak up. I will back you up!
You make wonderful and beautiful shoes. And when someone pays $600 to $1,000 for a pair of shoes, they have expectations. As a business, to be successful you need to meet those expectations a very large percentage of time
I know you’re right about chromexcel leather—but maybe carmina needs to educate the customer before the purchase
Thank you for your kind words. I do appreciate them. The key statement though in your comment is ‘they have expectations.’ The issue IMHO is that many people’s expectations are often unrealistic. And being a brand owner myself, I know that it is simpply not possible to educate all of your clients on each potential issue, or key knowledge points before purchase. (and even if you did, most wouldn’t read it). That’s what blogs like this are for. A customer is the one that needs to be informed and do so by informing themselves before purchase. I cannot buy a fine cloth bespoke suit and get mad at the company when I blow out the trousers from sitting too much on fabric seats and be angry that they didn’t warn me. That’s how I see it. When I make a mistake as a consumer I own up to it and learn from it. Thinking everything is always flawless 100% of the time is the real issue. And assuming all leathers are the same is another issue. It’s not Carmina’s responsibility to teach the consumer this prior to purchase. And I am not speaking for their customer service at all, just how I saw this play out objectively. It could have been any brand.
Excellent post, Justin. Ignorance out there is huuuge…
Thanks JM and yes it is!
Yep – I can relate to this silliness, Justin. I frequent forums for other hobbies/interests and it’s unfortunately very common to find them overly dominated by armchair experts often spouting abject rubbish about the topic combined with ludicrously unreasonable expectations around quality and finishing. I feel sorry for any manufacturer that has to deal with this behaviour.
It’s frankly hilarious that some forum dwellers were suggesting the person who received those Carmina boots should send them back as defective! Extremely silly stuff from them. It’s a special form of brain dead/lazy/unreasonable that can’t figure out a gentle rub with the tip of their finger or a dab of wax polish will fix that…..and that part of the beauty of good shoes is seeing them change as they get worn in and polished over the years?
I guess some people really do need to get outside more often!
Thanks for sharing! And yes, you are spot on.
What do you think about leather cracking on day 1 of shoe use. Just recently got some shoes from Septieme Larguer, No cracking before the first day of use, after the first day there were a couple of surface level splits in the learther (around 3mm long). on the companies advice, I conditioned the leather and wore a few more times. now the 2 cracks are up to 5mm and growing.
Is that good enough reason for a replacement? seems like the uppers are fundamentally compromised, and will have a short life.
Curious on your thoughts!
can you send pictures to [email protected]? That will help give better judgment.
Interesting piece and as always very informative, but I must say I have a different view re: the consumer’s responsibility.
While I agree that it would be nice if every prospective customer would put in due diligence and inform him- or herself as thoroughly as possible, and even nicer if people with very limited knowledge (on any subject) would stop touting their so-called expertise, no producer or retailer of consumer goods has a *right* to expect this. Unwarranted criticism and complaints will always be part of the deal, and anyone venturing into businesses involving B2C sales should really acknowledge this beforehand.
Frustrating as it may be, the layman consumer (which is to say all of us, since no-one can gain expertise in every field) cannot be held to any obligation, even towards himself, to match his expectations with detailed and realistic knowledge.
Hello Maurice, thank you for sharing. I think that you potentially mistook my comments though. I never said that anyone has a right to anything. But I do believe in personal accountability and that applies to consumers and the way they act. I don’t believe the customer is always right, having even worked at Nordstrom where they beat this into you. I have been wrong myself as a consumer and that has helped me realize these things, finding my own hypocrisy and opening my eyes to it. This post was about following bad advice. I would never expect every consumer to become experts before purchasing a product. That’s not realistic. But when confronted with a situation that you are not familiar with, the best practice is to not just listen to the people that shout the negative comment the loudest as they are often the ignorant. As far as I witnessed, Carmina the company in question in this scenario did their part by explaining this leather. The person chose not to believe them but rather the supposed know-it-alls and that is where the issue lays and creates a ripple effect of ill-informed and over-expecting consumers that ultimately harms the industry.