You’ve heard it a million times. “This new appliance is only expected to last you an average of 10 years.” Ten years? That didn’t used to be the case. My mom’s old Maytag washer and dryer have been running for 25-30! I’ve heard stories of how they “don’t make them like they used to” and I believe it, but another part of the equation is having something repaired. Repair costs seem to be escalating too. So is repairing our broken appliances and vehicles all about the money? What about the waste? Are we filling our landfills with throw away appliances? And if we quit repairing things, will we lose having people in our society that know how to repair anything!
Well, if you read my last blog, you know I have put quite a bit of repair into my 2000 Pontiac Montana to keep it running. When it came to the transmission going out, I figured it was cheaper than buying another used vehicle to replace it (not knowing its history). I knew the history of my van, and was attached to it for other reasons, but I think many times we always let a high dollar “fix” scare us away from repairing something. Is that right and best? I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject! Please add your thoughts below.
Recently I decided to have an old favorite Timex watch repaired. You can’t buy a new one like it. I liked some of its irreplaceable features, so started replacing the crystal, the battery, the band. I won’t go into details, but after sinking over 70 bucks into this watch (more than a new one would cost), while wearing it, I accidentally caught it on a door jam. The crystal popped off, and the hands were bent. After sending it in for repair again, I learned that it had broken some internal parts that deemed it “un-repairable.” Really? So I looked at the money spent as a total waste. But was it? When we give our money to someone for a service, it is giving them income and enhancing their lives. Some of my restoration costs were shipping through the post office. I also look at the post office as a service I don’t want to see die, so I am glad to give them business when I can. As I’ve grown older, I’m learning to look at things from viewpoints other than my own, trying to not only gauge the situation by the money left in my pocket (let’s look at the pockets it was put into too). If I had taken my money and flushed it down the toilet, YES, that would have been wasted; but if I invested it in the life of someone else, giving them to right to make a living, that’s not wasted too.
I must say I developed this perspective in some part from a conversation I had with a friend decades ago. She owned a store, and when people tried to purchase her machines, they would try to talk her into a lower and lower price. In her frustration, she said to me, “Don’t I have the right to make a living?” Point taken. People DO need to turn a profit to cover expenses and give them a fair income.
I spend money all of the time on things that don’t have lasting value. Look at when you go out to eat! Ok, it does last a little while, but you get the idea. Look at your cable bill. (OK, I don’t have one of those, but you do.) I could look at a lot of ways I spend money on ME. But if all at once, it doesn’t benefit ME, then is it wasted? (Idea for future blog on our ME focused society.) On occasion, I’ve hired young kids to do things before, and in hindsight, the desired task in some cases was not really accomplished, but then I looked at the other aspects: building a relationship, adding to a college fund. Was that wasted?
Of course, there are sometimes we need to only look at the cost of something. In my younger years, I didn’t have extra money in my pocket, so had to gauge things a little different. And although things aren’t as tight now, I still have to watch and be wise. So we need to decide if we can “afford” to repair things, knowing we don’t have a warranty, etc.
So, as you decide whether to repair or replace, I hope I’ve introduced another perspective with which to consider. As I’ve told Ken Daughtery at Troutwine Auto Sales Service Department, “When you see me coming, you know you have job security.” Yes, there is a point to decide to replace. Not going to argue that. But sometimes it’s good to seek repair, or if you really want to exercise your brain, repair it yourself!