Have you ever had a tool, an implement, a piece of clothing or something that you were so fond of that when it gave up it was.. well, it’s not the end of the world obviously, but it can be very frustrating because the item is so old that it’s been discontinued a long time ago so there’s no way you can replace it. What do you do then?
I bought a set of head phones a long time ago. They were.. oh man, they were good! Nothing too small and circular that sqeezed the ears and made them hurt, just light heavenly thick padded softness around the ear with amazing sound inside. Mmm. Best head phones ever! They finally gave up beyond repair so a new pair was needed. Hmm “not available” anywhere. What? The company’s website told me the harsh truth: “discontinued”..(years ago). It also told me to look here because new models and awesome and.. Yeah… they may have the signature sound but…to me they just look like any cheap crappy product that are everywhere these days. That’s probably unfair, but it’s also unfair to discontinue the best head phones they had ever made. I’m not alone in this.
A couple of days ago one of the favourite pots started to leak just a little bit near the bottom. That’s not good because though it looks cool when a drop of water floats around on the hot plate because of the Leidenfrost effect, it will – over time – harm the (electrical) stove and that’s potetentially dangerous, so I can’t use that pot anymore. It’s little brother died the same way a couple of months ago, so I knew it was just a matter of time now. I bought the whole set many years ago and just now I made the usual mistake: figuring out how old the pots are. Yikes!! I had to admit that they’re on the embarrassing side of three decades old!! Are you kidding me?!
Ok, they’ve been with me through everything. Heated up countless times and cooled down just as many times. Washed up by hand and machine and has contained all kinds of foods. One of the pots in the set has a dent but that’s it. They look almost the same. Is it odd that it feels kind of sad that it needs to be replaced? It’s just a pot – come on! They have more than done their duty!
It made me think of a remark from recently. You know the private person who’ll tell everybody else what to do and especially what not to do. “Think of the climate! Don’t just throw things out! Repair them instead!” Yes, I heard all the exclamation points too. I can’t help it – that behaviour is not particularly charming and in another setting it’ll just make me tune out and walk away, but in this specific scenario it causes nothing but mirth. That’s not at all nice either – I admit that. But the thing is: to this person the concept is relatively new and to me it’s simple routine and muscle memory. I come from a time and place where we repaired our a*** off. Because getting new stuff was not as easy as it is now and it was expensive too. So if something broke, we repaired it and if we couldn’t we found someone who could. If it was a broken handle on a rake, you replaced the handle. A ripped shirt was mended. Socks were repaired. The cord to the mixer lost a piece of insulation. Cut it off and put a new plug on. And then this – otherwise very sweet I’m sure – young person and tell me to stop throwing things out and repair them instead… I can’t help laughing out loud. The person gets mad before I can explain and.. well, so be it. That person knows nothing about me and that ignorance is mutual. What ever but thanks for that laugh. The climate message is very important though – I’m sure we can agree on that. Maybe it could be served up with a bit of honey instead of vinegar?
When something old needs replacement it should be possible to get it. I know, I know.. old has to die so the new can live and all that. My point is: when the new stuff is worse than the old, why keep on making the new stuff? That’s what I don’t get. Or maby I do.. Last time I had to get a new washing machine the salesman said: what have you done with this machine? Well, since I can’t grow anything in there I’ve used it for laundry.. Why do you ask? (I’m NOT nice – I know that) And that poor salesman said that the machine had lasted twice as long as it should have. You mean to tell me that it’s made to brake when it’s just two years old and used the way it should?! He confirmed that. And there it is ladies and gentlemen.. I remember my washing machine from when the kids were small. One or two loads per week. Every week. Fifteen years..!! We had to move and when we moved the washing machine it simply died.. You don’t get a machine like that these days, do you?
As long as things are made NOT to last I refuse to feel bad about throwing things out that can’t be repaired.
When things are made so it’s impossible to repair them (i.e. plugs) I refuse to feel bad about throwing things out that can’t be repaired.
As long as things are made with crappy materials I refuse to feel bad about throwing them out when they break (way too soon). Price and quality often goes hand in hand unless they don’t..
I don’t mind politely telling the cassier for the umpteenth time to stop when muscle memory gets a plastic bag for the veggies. I don’t mind sorting the garbage. I don’t mind doing my part. But I will not be told what not to do as if I’m a child and certainly not by a person a third my age who doesn’t know anything about me!!
It changes absolutely nothing that I pick up a piece of plastic in nature and bring it home to my trash can. I do that. But! I believe that if we all do small things it does have an impact in the bigger picture. And if it doesn’t then we’ve spared an animal a slow and very painful garbage-death. That has to count for something.
When payday rolls around I’m forced to hunt down a new pot. I’ll start in the nearest second hand store. I found things there before in a quality way better than the new and fantastic made of plastic. Those things are still here and going strong. Too bad they too are discontinued.. But I’ll find them and be happy they’re still here..
Have a great day no matter how old (or young) you are…😉
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