Monday, December 3, 2012

Day 1084

Today was all about repairing things. I managed to find a place to take both the Epson printer and the Norman strobes for repairs. Even though both places were factory authorized service centers, they were quite small and seemed to be on the verge of going out of business. To me, this was just another sad statement about our throwaway society. People don't find value in fixing things anymore, and as a result good repair people are having a harder and harder time making a living. When I drove the Epson printer over to the repair facility, I had a hard time even finding it. The small building was so nondescript that it was almost invisible. An older man and his wife ran the place and did all the work themselves. They seemed very knowledgeable and their business had received rave reviews on the Internet. You'd think their business would be doing great with so many people having printer problems. Unfortunately, it is usually cheaper to buy a new printer than to repair an old one. Most broken printers just get tossed.

The Norman repair shop was a different story. The man I remembered from my studio days had retired to Mississippi and sold his business to another younger repairman. I talked to this new guy on the phone today and he was a treasure trove of knowledge with over forty years of experience repairing studio photo strobe lights. Unfortunately, changes in the photography business had forced him to move to a succession of smaller locations, ending with a small shop in his home where he works now. He no longer sells parts, because his customers can buy them directly for less at big warehouse photo emporiums like B&H in New York. Eddie can still fix my power pack though. These old Norman power packs were built like tanks. One more refurbishment and the thing ought to outlast me.

I just don't understand a throwaway society. Fixing things is good. When you fix something, you develop a better understanding for how it works and what you can do with it. It's hard to respect something you just throw away every few years. I believe that tools and automobiles and clothing and even relationships need to be fixed when they are broken. Fixing things builds character. Not many people think this way unfortunately. Disposable is just easier. Use it. Toss it. Get something better. That's the way people think now. It's sad. I can't even get the case off most things I buy these days.

I fix things too. Most of the website maintenance work I do involves changing and modifying websites to meet new needs and requirements. There are no templates. I do all the coding by hand. It all works pretty well until my clients happen to see a GoDaddy ad on TV that promises them a brand new website for only $9.95 a month. I can really appreciate the difficulties the Epson repairman and the Norman repairman are having. I'm having the same problems myself.

Spot is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day