The short story ‘Quality’ by John Galsworthy tells the story of Mr. Gessler, a German shoemaker who makes the best boots in London. One very essential trait of his personality, apart from being a devoted shoe-maker and an owner of unique craftsmanship for his trait, was his prime importance to the quality of the shoes made by him. It would never be a profit – making business deal with the customer, for him. Rather the supreme quality of his products mattered the most, unlike the other big firms which depended heavily on their marketing and promotional schemes by sacrificing the quality of the footwear sold by them, Mr. Gessler considered shoe-making to be an art and hence poured all his sweat and blood into his work, whenever any order was placed with him. For the very same reason, his shop was not a regular shoe-selling shop, rather he made customized footwears on order. Mr. Gessler refused to give into modern business practice, hence his approach to his customers was minimalist in nature, though this very factor reflected the uniqueness about his craftsmanship.
His shop carried no sign upon it other than the name of, ‘Gessler Brother’, after his elder brother and himself. In the window, a few pair of boots hung, probably to signify that they made only what was ordered to him. Even the author got his shoes made by Mr. Gessler. The author’s father used to swear by Mr. Gessler’s shoes and so did the author himself. It was a known fact that what he made never failed to fit. He bought the best leather and handcrafted the boots himself. While taking the foot measurement for his orders, he would brush past his hand slowly around the customer’s foot as if feeling from his heart, the very requirement of the customer. He took complete ownership of what he made. At one instance, when the author complained of one of the boots made by him, having a creak, Mr. Gessler assured to return the complete purchase amount even after a year of their usage, in case the boots couldn’t be fixed.
Mr. Gessler despised the big shoe-making firms and accused them of being profit-making oriented firms. He said that they lacked self-respect, for they compromised on the quality of the products. Such was Mr. Gessler’s talent of shoe-making and his knowledge of this craft that once when the narrator walked up to him; unintentionally, wearing shoes that he had bought from some other shoe-shop in an emergency, Mr. Gessler just by the movement of his hand could tell where exactly did those shoes hurt the narrator. Hence, it was his sincerity, knowledge; unique craftsmanship and dedication towards his shoe-making work which made Mr. Gessler hold a special place in the narrator’s heart. Although he knew Mr. Gessler through the youth days, he understood and realized his talent as he matured with years. He grew an emotional bonding with Mr. Gessler and, hence their relationship was beyond the shoe-maker-customer relation. Author loved the boots made by him for they lasted for years, without any single streak of defect for ages. Although, eventually it became difficult for Mr. Gessler to make his ends meet, especially after his elder brothers death. Moreover, he slowly starved himself to death due to overworking. He never submitted to the commercializing of his talent which was a pure art in his opinion. He valued the supreme quality of his products throughout and so did his customers swore by it. This was his ultimate triumph over the crushing adversities of life. His personality and his craftsmanship certainly left a mark on his customer’s minds and heart, especially the author.