Photo by Mariah Wilson

Local automatic shoe cleaning machine resents seasonal neglect

By Rachael Grothe, November 21 2019 —

Following a few typical early-autumn flurries dotting Calgary in recent weeks, seasonal automatic shoe cleaning machines have begun to crop up in buildings across the University of Calgary campus. The intention is that such machines will be used to prevent the footwear of the student body from mucking up facility floors with the sludge and slush from winter weather. One such convenient contraption, nicknamed “Boot-Boy” by manufacturers, lamented their annual neglect.

“I don’t take breaks. I’m here day-in, day-out, waiting for the students to simply acknowledge my existence,” reported a Boot-Boy stationed at the Science Theaters building’s south entrance. “It’s a thankless job.”

Automatic shoe cleaning machines can be found at many of the campus’ main building entrances during the snowfall season. The most commonly found model on campus is the #125 Regular Steel Frame with Pull-out Tray produced by Boot-Boy Industries Inc. and can run up to $2195 per machine. Despite this large investment by facilities management, the service is widely overlooked.

“There’s mud all over the floors every winter around here,” sighed the Boot-Boy. “You think people like cleaning that up? That’s why I’m here. And yet, I am completely ignored every morning by all these students tracking trash with their Timbs without giving a single thought to the people who stick around after hours to keep this place presentable. Have a little respect.”

When enlightened on the hard work and frustration of the Boot-Boy, sources were sympathetic.

“Wow, I had no idea,” said a third-year arts student. “I think a lot of people don’t even know what those machines are there for. Before I just thought it was some sort of boomer technology.” 

The Boot-Boy shared a plea for action.

“All I want is for students to care,” said the Boot-Boy. “Student apathy is the number one problem on this campus, and it is the most evident in this problem. If students really cared and banded together — to clean their shoes — they could accomplish so much.”

Update: since this interview, all Boot-Boy machines have been removed in a cost-saving measure due to recent budget cuts.

This article is part of our humour section.


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