Posted by: foodtalker | March 4, 2010

if the shoe fits

Hats off to Park – although shoes off might be more fitting!   I’m always inspired by other people’s entrepreneurial ideas.  I spend hours reading success stories and wondering why I didn’t have such a brain wave, or stumble by accident on something that would make me millions.  I’d even be prepared to forego the fame.  Some inventions seem so obvious, like the grommets that pop in the holes of Crocs, for example.  That wasn’t such a stretch.  So why wasn’t that my idea?  It’s not that I’m jealous, I just chide myself for not being that imaginative.  I think it must take a special eye to see the possibilities.   

A recent article in The London Times about a second-hand shoe shop owner has to take the cake – or rather loafer, for creative opportunism.

Apparently it’s a Korean custom to remove outdoor footwear before entering a building, a ritual especially practiced in funeral homes and a habit that fired up the ingenuity of a man known only as Park.  Disguised as a mourner, Park would cruise the Seoul funeral homes.  Waiting for the mourners who had slipped off their shoes to go inside, he would then step up and step out of his own cheap plastic footwear, slip into a considerably more expensive pair and leg off.  In this way Park managed to amass ranks of buffed and polished designer slip-ons for his second hand shoe business.

Imagine the distress of the original owners though.  I assume, already in a state of grief, they would suffer further loss as well as humiliation, being forced to depart the sad scene hobbling away in an inferior pair of shoes with no guarantees the substitute pair would fit.

 But now the 59-year old Park’s game is up.  He has been arrested for stealing hundreds of pairs of shoes.  The police finally caught up with him when he attempted to steal three pairs of shoes, with a total retail value when new of $1,750.00 from one funeral parlour.  No longer content to steal only the pair he could wear, I must surmise that poor old Park had become too big for his boots. But having a shoe fetish myself, I can certainly understand the dilemma of choice when faced with several pairs, all of which you want.

When police raided his warehouse, they found a vast array of shoes in neat rows organized according to size and ready for resale.  All 1,200 pairs have now meticulously been rearranged and the police have put out an appeal to the original owners to come and redeem them.

That’ll be really difficult though because don’t all men’s shoes look alike?


  1. Great post, Kate!
    Miss you!

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