Was there really a factory in Communist Poland that made only left shoes?

One story I recall seeing (forget where) cited as an example of the inefficiency/stupidity of state economic planning during the Soviet period: In Communist Poland, there was a factory so specialized that it made only left shoes. There was no corresponding factory that made right shoes. Fact or UL?

Polish joke!

There was something I heard of in HK, where Chinese shoe manufacturers would ship left shoes in one container, and right shoes in another on a different ship, to prevent theft.

That’s all I got.

That actually makes sense.

I’d like to see Tony Soprano’s face when he found out his crew just hijacked a truck full of left shoes! :rolleyes:

That sounds like a morphing of a joke suggestion concerning something that was making the rounds a few years back. Some beachcomber kept finding shoes - in itself, not unexpected, but he observed they were all one particular foot, and the question was why he wouldn’t find an equal assortment of right and left shoes washing up on the beach. One (I hope) jocular suggestion was that the cargo of a “left shoe” container ship was lost overboard, and somewhere there was a container ship full of unmatched right shoes that made it to port. IIRC, the most reasonable suggestion concerned shoe factories consistently packing the same shoe on top, which floated free, while the shoe on the bottom sank with the waterlogged shoebox and packing material.

No snark intended. I posted :rolleyes: but I meant :smiley: ! Or maybe :stuck_out_tongue: .

So the consensus is, UL?

I dont know about the Polish factory, but I do know about left shoes.

I have a relative who worked (in the 1970’s) as a salesman/wholesale shoe distributor. He carried lots of samples in his car–but they were left shoes only, to prevent theft.

Wouldn’t achieving this level of specialization qualify them for a quality designation or something? :wink:

Here in England, It’s common for shoe shops to have a rack displaying their wares.

But only one of each pair.
As to the OP, I remember it was a plot point in an episode of The New Statesman, perhaps you saw that?

:confused: “Plot point”? “Episode”? I only know The New Statesman as a political magazine. Is it also a TV show or something?

Some bureaucrat might spark upon “from each according to his ability to produce (shoes) to each according to his needs (right foot amputated - just need a left shoe here).” but what about the people with left foot amputations? I’m not buying.

What the Soviets did have was a program under Brezhnev that subsidized bread so ridiculously that stockyards were feeding baked bread to the steers instead of (more expensive) grain.

Thank God we live in a free market, where a planted rumor of 'vaporware" can keep competetive, utilitarian software from being developed.

:confused: Are you arguing for a free market, or against it?

Or simply commenting on human follies?

Yeah, a show starring Rik Mayall as a newly elected MP in Mrs Thatcher’s govt, utterly corrupt and involved in all kinds of shady deals.

The title of the show is obviously a parody of the magazine.

I’m not sure what this has to do with the OP. Unless I’m misreading you. Try not to drift towards political comments or start a debate.

samclem GQ moderator

He could sell them at I Hop

While almost certainly the OP is a UL, I can only find it cited from 1984 on Usenet. (Google groups)

I see it cited both as Polish and Russian. But so far no newspaper cite that early.

Is it also true that German Army, faced with an Allied breakthrough on the Western Front in 1944 formed battalions of repatriated soldiers with various disabilities, and grouped these soldiers together according to their specidfic disability? IF this is true, then perhaps the Polish factory was originally a left jackboot factory set up to accomodate Army Group SoldatenohnerechtenFuß?



On a hunch I Googled [amputee shoe exhange] and came up with 77,900 hits. Looking at the the first few, there seem to be plenty of real places that really sell new left or right shoes as singletons.

As to the Polich factory: UL IMHO.

I heard the story years ago in a Soviet history class. The version I heard was that the machinery that made the right shoe broke down but the company had its central planning quotas to meet so it simply kept producing only left shoes. Meeting quotas trumped common sense, something that wouldn’t have happened in a free market economy. Whether the story is true or not I don’t know but stranger things have happened in centrally planned economies.