So... I found some soft fleece scraps and wrapped them around the posts and sewed them on and BINGO!! New shoes that don't hurt. Closer to barefoot, too. Win
Via my brother's shop's webcam. Old guy in just now who fell for the 'I'm from Microsoft and I need access to your computer.' He gave them access and they locked him up. He's gone past the angry stage of grieving and is now in 'is there anyway we fix this' mode. Jake, my brother's tech, is being so sweet and understanding and respectful. It's a sweet exchange of humanness. And, yeah, of course, there are lots of options for him.
My brother's shop is very near a giant retirement village. Giant and growing. Old people and computers are a nice little profit center for him.