I used to be intimidated about bringing clothes to the seamstress at The Common Thread, a tailoring shop located in an upscale shopping/tourist enclave on the Upper Cape called Mashpee Commons. I ventured in last week with a pair Escada slacks ($8.00 new at a Hospice thrift shop) that needed to be hemmed.

When I went to pick up the slacks, the proprietor explained that she was "running behind." Her tailoring business has been booming this fall. When I mentioned this to a friend, she said that she had also taken slacks in for alteration last week and that her seamstress had told her the same thing.

Imagine, Americans repairing, altering, reusing and recycling! Does the economy need to practically collapse around us before "Shop Until You Drop" ceases to be the new national anthem? Given a president whose response to 9/11 was, "Go to the mall," shopping has been patriotic.

After decades of being drunk on dollars, we might actually be sobering up. If the clothing repair business is strengthening, what could be next? Here's an idea: customers could start buying shoes that can be repaired.

The shoe repair industry plummeted in the 1960's, with a 40% drop in stores, and has continued to decline leading into the 21st century. If shoe repair sees a resurgence, it will provide jobs for former prisoners who have learned the craft while doing time.

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