Friday, May 14, 2010

Whatever Happened to the Fix It Shop?

The “Fix It Shop” was one of Sesame Street’s bustling businesses until 2002 when it became the “Mail-It Shop”. It was decided that modern children would not relate to a repair shop and the notion of renovating usable items would be a difficult concept to grasp. Reflecting the decline of the repair shop in the real world, it is increasingly rare for us to fix something and we are far more likely to discard and buy new.

Taking shoes to be re-soled or replacing a zipper are practices that few bother with these days. The fact is, though, fixing things not only helps the environment but can save money, too. Most of us can do some minor repairs with minimal effort. Changing a belt on a vacuum cleaner or a filter can extend the life of a product, yet many times we aren’t willing to exert the time and energy involved. It’s so much easier to throw it in the trash and replace it. We are depleting our natural resources to make all the new stuff, yet our landfills are full of reusable things.

With the onset of computerized mechanisms in appliances, cars and electronics we are somewhat helpless to extend the life of these products. With technology advancing at such a rapid pace and electronic devices built to last for just a limited amount of time, it doesn’t make sense to pay someone $75 an hour to repair a lap top that can be replaced with the latest advancements for under $400. As we continuously buy new, we must make it affordable and so export electronics labor to the low cost workforce overseas. But with a little ingenuity, even some appliance and electronic problems can be solved with websites providing free tips and instruction manuals.

"Freecycle" is a website designed to exchange used items, some that may need repair. Furniture can be reupholstered or refinished, clothes can be mended, appliances can be refurbished. Maybe we can learn how to fix things again.

by Debra Mosso

1 comment:

  1. What an awesome point, Debra! Thank you for sharing.

    Victoria Walton