Men Without Hats? Michael Without Shoes!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2011/04/05 07:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2011/04/05/10150001.aspx


Men Without Hats? Whatever happened to them? I hear they're still touring.

Oh, never mind them, the one hit wonders.

Because today I am on the Take the One Day Without Shoes Challenge!

When Blake Mycoskie founded the footwear company TOMS, he built a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need—one for one.

Speaking to employees on campus recently, Mycoskie urged them to participate in One Day Without Shoes on April 5. Millions of children grow up without shoes and are at risk for infection, disease, and even limited opportunities as a result. The idea of One Day Without Shoes is to get as many people as possible around the world to go barefoot for one day to raise awareness of this issue. Every time someone buys a pair of shoes from Mycoskie's company, he donates a pair to a shoeless child somewhere in the world.


Mycoskie formed TOMS after visiting Argentina as a competitor in the second season of television's "The Amazing Race." While there, he saw dozens of children without shoes. His company, which now sells shoes in upscale retailers worldwide, has donated more than 1 million pairs of shoes.

Register to participate in the One Day Without Shoes challenge.

Thus today I am wearing no shoes.

It reminded me a little of My 2 out of 119 (11 + 108) trips around the Chilkur Balaji Temple's inner shrine. And Yes, I'll take my shoes off. *I* don't have to walk on that dirty floor!. Except my shoes would be of all day.

Now unlike Brandon (who seldom wears shoes), I usually wear shoes. At least in public.

But I have two unusual issues to think about in the context of a shoeless day:

  1. I am in an iBot and my feet are never on the floor -- as it did in Yes, I'll take my shoes off. *I* don't have to walk on that dirty floor!, it makes the shoeless thing easier. Perhaps a little less meaningful.
  2. I injured my left foot on Sunday.

Maybe I should explain that second point a bit further.

You see, on Sunday I had kind of an incident that involved me twisting and hitting the ground stranegly, after narrowly avoiding hitting my head.

I have a long history of unusual falls; I once had a friend compare my falls to the scene in The Matrix when Neo is dodging bullets. Just part of my disequlibrium!

The injury was most severe to the little piggie who had none. Though the piggie who had roast beef was also mildly affected, with only minor involvement just under the little piggie who stayed home.

Anyway, I was telling a really good friend about the incident via text last night, and it was an interesting conversation:

Her: You talked to me yesterday! You almost fell and didn't say a word?
Me: No, I didn't almost fall.
Her: ???
Me: I didn't almost fall.
Me: I fell!
Her: You fell and you didn't say a word?
Me: I didn't feel anything.
Her: And who do u call asap...when u fall...twist...crash...
Her: Me!
Me: I didn't even see the bruise until the next morning in the shower.
Her: How bad is it?
Me: Like I know feet. I'll send you a picture of it.
{I then forwarded a picture of my foot. This picture:


Her: OMG
Her: OMG
Her: OMG
Me: My feet are pretty ugly, huh?
Her: Not ugly...just broken.
Her: Ya you might want to get that checked

There you have it.

Me and my "broken" foot.

I'm going to be in the office for most of the day today. And while I am, I'll be wearing no shoes.

I am taking the shoeless challenge!

Eventually, maybe I'll have someone take a look at the foot, just in case....

Maybe I'll post a picture of it during the day if I can get someone to take it. And maybe I'll make that foot picture my avatar, or my profile pic, for a bit....


Michael S. Kaplan on 5 Apr 2011 1:16 PM:

It's funny, the MSW Inside Track article went to like the whole company, yet no one who has seen me today barefoot had read it, with just ONE exception!

jmdesp on 6 Apr 2011 4:02 AM:

I think it's important to say that aid specialists are very reluctant toward such initiatives.

TOMS doesn't seem to be the worst offender but I still think it's important to say that this is not really a great model for what aid should be about.

Helps that works is more complex than just bringing shoes (or any other gift in kind). Very frequently it's not shoes that are actually the most needed, nothing garanties that TOMS's shoes model are the most appropriate (durability, relative price, maybe what's needed is real walking shoes, is the transportation price for those shoes competitive ?, etc.).

Sometimes even, real bad *** happens with badly thought initiatives. Like killing the job of the locals that were working for shoemakers by sending massive amount of free shoes. One of the worst case EVAR of such a failure is ONGs putting local clinics and doctors out of a job in Haiti, pushing them to exile themselves because during monthes they did not get a single client, everybody was getting free health care from the ONGs, so why pay a doctor ?

I see that TOMS apparently tries to avoid such problems, "making sure there aren’t adverse socioeconomic effects" on their site seemes to refer to that, but still, avoiding aid that is *defined* by the fact you'll bring such or such device is the best long term solution.

I'd prefer to see TOMS give the money that corresponds to the price of making an additional shoe directly to the local organisations (and letting them order the number of shoes they need at manufacture cost), rather than binding themselves to bringing one specific solution.

Michael S. Kaplan on 6 Apr 2011 7:18 AM:

My own nightmare about this comes from a bit from Apoacalypse Now:

I remember when I was with Special Forces... seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to inoculate some children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn't see. We went back there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile. A pile of little arms. And I remember... I... I... I cried, I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out; I didn't know what I wanted to do! And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it... I never want to forget.

But hopefully the little feet wearing the new shoes will be safe.

I worry about just giving money due to corruption problems that can happen, too -- the advantage to giving the shoes is that corruption is that much harder (such corruption seems to happen everywhere both rich and poor but it seems a lot worse when it directly affects people who need aid).


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