this is gonna be a bit of a strange post for those who are younger than say 25 years old. that’s not to say that only those of us older than that can relate. even people in their teenage years have those moments when they take pause and wonder “whatever happened to (fill in the blank)?”
last saturday my beautiful stainless steel panini grill stopped working ~ right in the middle of preparing a bunch of potato flatbread for ziona and myself. just suddenly it no longer heated up! i bought it for myself about 6 christmases ago, one of those ‘self-ish guilty pleasure’ gifts one gets for themselves knowing that no one would suspect it were something desired. i’d unwrapped it and feigned surprise when i opened it, since ziona was still at the age where santa was the one who brought presents to our house, the ones not otherwise given us by family and friends. at a cost of a mere $29.99 this wasn’t an extravagant thing, but highly useful!
i used this thing of beauty for everything from grilling the occasional steak and more frequent chicken breasts, to melted cheese sandwiches of various kinds, but mostly for making flatbreads. it got a lot of use. and it was stainless steel like my other appliances and the kitchen sink. i was on the verge of being devastated when my lovely daughter repeated back some of my words to her at similar disappointments: “just say ‘oh well’, mom”.
but part of me just can’t go there! what am i supposed to do with it now? can’t give it to a local charity, it’s broken! of course, i can recycle it. but whatever happened to ‘ye olde fix it shoppe’. those little stores overcrowded with malfunctioning toasters and radios, where an older fella sat with his glasses down on his nose, some sort of tool in his hands squinting over some appliance with its back off, fixing it?
recently a computer of mine suffered a complete hard-drive melt-down…or whatever. i took it to the local geek squad to have them fix it. they would, of course, try to do that. but, they said it would be almost impossible because the thing was seven years old and they couldn’t simply ‘swap out’ the hard drives, like i had supposed would have been the case. they could at least recycle the broken dinosaur but it would merely be crushed and disassembled for wires and such as could be salvaged and reused.
okay, so for six years of use at an original price of around 30 bucks for the panini the cost was about 5 dollars per year. and at $800 for the seven years of use for the computer the cost was a bit over a hundred dollars per year. my point is that i got a fair amount of use back for each. but why aren’t there options to go beyond this and have these broken things fixed?
when i was a girl, right up until a teenager, i was able to bring my shoes and boots to a cobbler. i tend to wear down the outsides of the soles and heels quickly. sure, the boots or pair of shoes may only have cost 12 bucks or so, but it was great not to have to just chuck them out if the soles wore through or the heel came off. i don’t even think i could find a cobbler in the whole tri-state area anymore! whatever happened to them?
i have a sewing machine to mend tears and rips in my favorite salwars or blouses. i even save the ones that become threadbare enough to be irreparable and use them as patterns. it used to be easy to find a fabric and sewing needs store chock-ful of all manner of cotton, or silk material (even polyester that i don’t bother getting). nowadays there’s not such a store in and of itself. altho walmart has an isle or two set aside for it. slim pickings too. whatever happened to these places?
whatever happened to the corner drugstore being JUST a drugstore with maybe a soda fountain in the back? whatever happened to …
i could go on and on!
but, you see where i’m going with this? how have we gotten to be such a use and toss society? are we really better off? i certainly don’t think so. think of how much less space would be needed for landfill dumps if we could get broken things fixed! think of the economics of people training for and being hired as ‘fixers’! think of not being forced by planned obsolescence to buy new things every five or so years!
whatever happened to common sense?