Data 4 Sale

By Evan Waite and River Clegg

These days, it seems like everyone is concerned about their privacy on the Internet. Mega-companies are taking people’s data and selling it to the highest bidder, making billions in the process. And, frankly, we at Ernie’s Shoe Repair would love to get in on the action.

Sure, we’re not the biggest cobbler in the St. Louis area, but we’ve collected some pretty sweet data that we’re certain corporate America will want a piece of. For instance, we know precisely how many of our customers had their loafers shined last month.

It was seven.

Full disclosure: we’re not a hundred per cent clear on how to sell user data for profit, but we’re working on figuring it out. Our son Ronnie is stopping by this weekend to pick up his dirt bike, and he’s pretty good at computers. I’m sure he’ll help us design a vast data-mining operation with tentacles extending across the globe. Last time, he showed us how to do emoji!

Look, we get that Facebook has a near-comprehensive global database of facial-recognition analytics, but we can tell you who in the greater St. Louis area likes wingtips. Then you can hit them with some targeted ads for more wingtips! You know, assuming they want a second pair of wingtips. Seems a bit pretentious to us, but, hey, we’re oxford folks.

What we’re offering isn’t just some unwieldy data dump that takes hundreds of man-hours to sift through. On the contrary, we can pinpoint specific individuals and tell you everything you ever wanted to know about their shoe preferences. For instance, James Lankford wears size 11s, and he has arch problems. He also recently bought an odor-fighting insole, so that tells us either he or his wife has smelly feet.

There’s a lot more data about galoshes where that came from.

Just so you know, not all of our sales data is available online, because we print out our receipts and store them in the office. But, if you slip us a few extra bucks, you can check out the shoebox where we keep them while we’re out on our lunch break. We’ll tell Sharon that you’ll be there, so she won’t make a fuss. You can even make copies at the pharmacy next door! They’ve got a Xerox machine that does color copies when it’s not on the fritz.

But it’s not just shoe-related data. We also sell belts! So we’re sitting on a treasure trove of information about how our customers keep their pants up. If they haven’t bought a belt, then, logically, they must use suspenders, or some kind of pulley system. Unless they just roll the dice each day that their pants won’t fall down. But, if that’s the case, they’re probably too reckless to market products of any kind to.

Still not convinced? Then it’s time to sweeten the deal. We share an office with a tailor and sometimes overhear the seamstress talking on the phone to fabric wholesalers. That’s right, she discusses everything from garment lining to needle preferences. And you’d better believe we know which customers pick up their dry-cleaning without bringing their ticket.

The details will blow your hair back.

On the off chance that you’re not interested in our data, however, just know that there’s no better place than Ernie’s to pick up replacement shoelace casings. They’re called aglets, and they’re priced to move!

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