As I walked past this garage one day, there were two men standing just inside the door. One was wearing overalls, and it was his voice I heard.
I don’t claim this is a verbatim recollection of his words — but it’s pretty close.
“Yeah, I could do it cheaper, but I couldn’t do a good job. I’d have to compromise: on parts, on our time. And that’s not the way I work.”
I would love to have heard the other man’s response (I assumed he was a potential customer). But the doorway wasn’t that wide and I’d have looked really conspicuous stopping to eavesdrop. So I carried on, thinking about those words.
A couple of days later, I walked past again, but on the other side of the street. That’s when I noticed the sign — Leo’s Way.
I know a lot of small business people. I used to be one. It’s a tough way to make a living and there is an almost constant pressure to lower one’s prices. Mass-produced goods — especially those made in countries where costs can be kept very low — have created a culture of price over value. A throwaway world where it’s made easy to buy cheap and replace often. Where skill and experience, craftsmanship and quality are downplayed and punished.
The terrible environmental and social costs of such mindless consumption are becoming clear — at least to some of us. One way or another, things must change.
One day, the world will wake up and realise how much we need craftsmen like Leo. I hope there are some left.