Luggage Repair

You’ll recall that I went to Switzerland and then Italy this past winter break. When I arrived in Switzerland, I noticed that one of the latches of my Samsonite suitcase had been broken in transit (this was only the third time that this suitcase had been used!). The other latch was fine, but I didn’t want to rely on that one latch to keep the suitcase closed. So, after packing for the return trip I wrapped some heavy tape around the suitcase.

On 8 March 2009, while in Florida, I got the suitcase repaired. I went with my parents to the Miromar Outlets in Estero; there, we went to a Samsonite dealer and asked his advice. Should we buy a strap to go around the suitcase?

Since the suitcase was still under warranty, the dealer’s advice was to pay a visit to Frank, a master luggage repairman who works in the area. So we went to the Kwik Shoe & Luggage Repair shop. Frank took the suitcase and was all business; without saying too much, he immediately set to work. After a quick examination, he muttered “I see what the problem is…,” and then replaced the broken latch. (It is possible that he also replaced the other latch too, although from my naive perspective I wouldn’t know why this would be necessary.) After the suitcase was repaired, he took our name, address, and phone number, and entered this information into a computer database. And that was it — since the suitcase was still under warranty, there was no charge. I had been worrying that we’d have to produce the original receipt for purchasing the suitcase, because that receipt has long been lost.

We went back to the car and stowed the newly repaired suitcase into the trunk. As we’re buckling our seatbelts, ready to go, we turn to one another and wonder, “Shouldn’t we tip him?” A debate ensued regarding the magnitude of the tip. Someone said only one dollar, which I thought was way too low. I pulled a five dollar bill out of my wallet (“Make sure he sees you giving the tip!”, someone said, with a chuckle) and went back into Frank’s shop, where he was already busy with the next customer. I dropped the bill into his tip jar. Without looking up from his work, he said “Thank you”, as I stepped out the door.

A plaque on Frank’s wall indicated that he’s a member of the International Luggage Repair Association. This suggests a whole world, a subculture, a mode of thought, that I’m not familiar with. One wonders what are the workings of the ILRA. How many members does it have? Do they have a newsletter? Do they hold annual meetings?

Published in: on 18 March 2009 at 6:43 am  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Im learning a lot from the site. Keep up the great work. Thanks for the great posts.

  2. Thanks very much!


  3. […] may be a reference to my real suitcase. The night before, in what we consider waking life, I had lent it to a friend who needed it to go […]

  4. […] may be a reference to my real suitcase. The night before, in what we consider waking life, I had lent it to a friend who needed it to go […]

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