How do you feel about them? I travel a lot, and have used them when I really needed some work done. Now that I'm trying to be better about the shoes I own and how I treat them, I'm not sure I want someone else working on them.
Then again, these guys do it for a living, so they must know their craft...right?
I've had good experiences with them for the most part, and no truly bad experiences. I definitely think they know their craft. Further, I think the prospect of tips from satisfied customers motivates them to consistently do a good job. I travel a lot too, and generally only use these when I've been on the road for a couple of weeks and haven't had a chance to do the job myself. I must admit, though, it is a nice experience and very convenient. I also like the nostalgic feel...
This is an indulgence that travelling men should allow themselves once in awhile. Meanwhile, you're supporting someone's livelihood, someone who more likely than not, is excellent at their work. And, there is nothing that makes you look more squared away than a well-shined pair of shoes. Everybody wins.
I am pro airport shoe shines. When I was in college I traveled a lot. It was mostly for work. They gave me a pretty high per-diem, and if I did not spend it, I lost it. (They did not care what it was spent on as long as there was a receipt...I turned in receipts for stuffed animals, shoes, umbrellas, and all sorts of random stuff and they never said anything, as long as I had a receipt, they picked up the tab) So I got into the habit of getting a shine at the start and end of every trip, because I wasn't paying and it seemed like a bit of a luxury. To this day, getting a shine always puts me in a good mood. Plus the guys shining the shoes are always friendly, they do a great job, and sitting in that chair, they make you feel like a king for a little while. For me, it is almost like getting a massage. Very relaxing and quite a nice treat you can give yourself when you are feeling stressed or tense.
While there are many things that we can do ourselves, work on cars comes to mind first, there are times when the convenience and timing make it worth the minimal cost for someone to do the task for you.
I fly at least one week a month, if not more, and am stopping to have my shoe/boot shined if time allows. I find that you aren't going to pay more than $15-$20 (including tip) for the most expensive of shines. Like Christopher, I also have a per diem to use or lose and this is most easily written off as a travel expense.
There is nothing more impressive than a nicely shined pair of shoes. But would you brag about a painting in your house that someone else painted? Maybe, but not nearly as much as if you painted it yourself. Get yourself some Kiki and cotton balls and do it yourself. You get good at it and it takes only a few minutes.
I agree with most here. It is a nice treat to have your shoes shined. However, I do find that I can do a better job if I have the time. As Eric said, for the $15-$20 sometimes its worth not having to do it myself. Plus, you get to meet some interesting characters and support a manly service.
This is an excellent subject matter for this site, so here is my response.
I too love the concept of having my shoes shined at the airport to make me feel like a grown up man, yet I also battle looking like "THE MAN" being served. I got over that since I want to support the hard working craftsmen who know how to shine shoes. Trust me, if you start a minor conversation with your shoeshiner chances are you will bare witness to heart felt cut of humanity, and with the backdrop of the whole airport aura of shift and transference you'll find your shoeshiner to be quite an anchor to what life's all about.
So here's my recent story. I went to Vegas with the boys and was not able to drive out with them since i had to be back at work early in the morning so I flew. Not quite the opening scene from Hangover, but close enough as I was at the airport at 6:30 am Monday morning with some time to kill. I decided to a shoe shine might be just the trick to wipe off all the shame my black dress shoes witnesses the last couple of nights. The thought was easy, from Vegas to Work place in just one shine.
The only shoeshiner up and running this early was a woman. That really brought up some issues for me for now I had a woman in a tux with a bow tie servicing my hung over ass. I circled around her three times before i convinced myself it would be okay. (And by the way, I'm the type of man who can not get a manicure and pedicure at a shop because i don't like the sight of having woman at my feet who eventually ask if I'm married and try to set me up, and then it gets awkward, and i have to say no, not just the paraffin wax but to marriage proposals.)
Okay, so this woman has an odd name like Shane or something, and she has is in her mid 40's slender, in as I said a tuxedo minus the jacket. WE start talking it up and soon I'm having the most welcomed session with her. She revealed to me that she went back to school and that she is also raising her daughter. Her daughter may have ADHD, and I try to convince her that perhaps it more separation anxiety and to avoid stimulate medications for her 4 year old. I didn't push to hear about her past, as i sat bitting my tongue wanting to ask if she was originally from Vegas, which I'm sure she wasn't, and just that question would have provoked a long history of how she eventually found herself shining shoes at 6 in the morning in Vegas. Her present life was enough to fill the 25 min shoe shine.
Before I got out of the chair I debated: Large tip or regular tip. Large tip would assert the power dynamic I held with the key word being I HELD. It's my issue, not hers and tips are good to give at all times. So I went with a 40% "I don't need change, thank you very much" tip.
I left Vegas sobered up, grounded, and with a nice shiner from a classy lady in the Southwest terminal.
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