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Throw Away Society

7 August 2015

When did we become a throw away society? When things broke, we used to fix them. We were a country of people that built things, instead of being a country of consumers, but that’s a topic for another day. Back to being fixers, and I do not mean the political type. If our TV broke, way back in the day you took out the tubes, some of you won’t know what those are, went to the drug store, checked them out and replaced the ones that needed it and then watched our newly fixed TV, or called the TV repairman to come out an get it done. Not today, if our phone breaks, we go to the Apple store to get a new one, news flash people, you can get it fixed there as well a buy a new one.

We practice this “throw away policy” with almost everything we own. If our toaster breaks, our blender, our vacuum, we don’t take it to the appliance store or the repair shop to get it repaired, we go to Bed Bath & Beyond and get a new one. Now you may say, there are no repair shops available, but that’s not true, there are lots of them, if you can build it in the first place, you can repair it as well. But we as a society do not believe in fixing most small things these days, maybe because we don’t feel that it’s worth it to “get it fixed”.  While that may apply to some things, it certainly does not apply to everything. I guess it’s all in perceived value of the item, or in direct proportion to how much we paid for it. Agreed, with some items, it is cheaper to replace rather than repair.

 But my fear is that this attitude has become ingrained in our country’s philosophy and that scares the hell out of me. It takes away a portion of our independence. We rely on money and convenience to bail us out, when something goes wrong with whatever it is, throw it out and get a new one. When I’m at sea, we don’t have the luxury of throwing the broken part away and buying a new one. There is no parts store within a few thousand miles perhaps and that option is simply not available. So we fix it, if we don’t have the spare, we adapt, we improvise, and we don’t give up on it. Quitting is not an option.  And it is not out of the realm of possibility that our very survival depends on us getting things repaired, not replaced.

 I personally think that is one of the reasons why the 50% of our country’s marriages end up in divorce. People sometimes ask me how did you and your wife manage to stay married so long. Maybe it was because we grew up in a time that when something was broke, you fixed it. You didn’t just throw in the towel, and go find a new one. Broken things, in order to work, need to be fixed more, not tossed out for a BBD. That’s a bigger, better deal. People need to work hard to stay together, it isn’t always the easiest way out, but believe me when I tell you that most of the time, its well worth it in the long run. How many times have you heard people say, I wish I’d kept this or that because it was the best ever, or still had that old auto that they cherished so much, but got rid of it because they didn’t want to fix it.  I’m glad to be one of the people that fixes rather than replaces Oh and by the way, so are my wife and kids. So, till next time.