The other day I was cleaning up some junk around the house, and threw out a lamp that got broken. OK, I stepped on the lamp and broke it. As I gathered the pieces to throw in the trash, I instinctively cut off the power cord, and began to wind it up for storage. See, for most of my life, if an electronic device went bad, I’d always clip that cord so it could be reused somewhere else. Oddly, I would almost always find a need for the power cord, and so it justified the simple act of clipping it from the lamp.
As I look back over the past few years, however, I see that trend going away. Even with all the hype about the need to recycle (which I agree with, don’t get me wrong), we’re being forced into a more disposable product mindset. Now, the lamp I stepped on needed to be thrown away. Trust me. But what about the broken VCR sitting on the top of my closet shelf? What about the television with a built in DVD player in my daughter’s room that will no longer play DVDs?
Unfortunately, we’re at a place in the development of our society, that it’s often cheaper to buy a new product than fix the old one. Do you even know where a television repair shop exists near you? I sure don’t. If you could find one, it would seem likely they’d charge $40-$50 and hour to work on electronic equipment. If you’re talking about a broken DVD player, there’s absolutely no reason to spend ANY money on repair when you can buy a new one for less money. Yes, there are more expensive models that do warrant a repair job, but those are almost always warranty issues that are fixed by the manufacturer for free.
And don’t get me started on computers. Especially for those people running low-end hardware, which means a huge portion of the population, buying a new computer is almost always more economical than having their current model repaired. If you only spend $400 on a computer to begin with, why would you even consider spending a few hundred dollars to have a repair man fix a computer that is a generation behind what’s currently for sale at Walmart? You just go buy the new computer, and throw out the old one. (Actually, you usually donate the piece of junk to a local school, where the tech staff has to decide how to best dispose of the thing anyway…)
I don’t have an answer to the problem. The lamp cord just got me thinking, and this is the result. 🙂