Repair or Replace? No Contest.

Another item for the broken appliance boneyard

It used to be a dilemma as to whether to repair or replace something that broke based on whether the cost of the repair would be worth the additional utility gained over the product’s lifetime.

Product lifetime? What is that?

What normal household item do you have that you would consider repairing, other than major appliances? What can you imagine packing up and taking to a repair shop, doing without for several days, taking the call that explains the diagnosis and expected repairs, and then scheduling a time to retrieve and bring back home to set up again, fingers crossed that all is in working order?

It’s a shameful waste to throw out the coffee maker when the pot breaks, but the replacement pot has to be ordered online and shipped. A new coffee maker is on sale this minute and that Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon will get me an extra 20% off, at hardly more than the total cost of a replacement pot.

Cushions for the patio swing cost as much as the original swing and cushions together. A replacement bulb costs more than the original lamp, and is hard to find besides.  A television repair requires either getting the TV to the repair shop or scheduling a repair house call, minimum $75. Meanwhile, a new TV includes home delivery. I wouldn’t even have to clear out the trunk!

A toaster repair costs…who knows? who tinkers with toasters these days?

Of course it is ridiculous to dutifully recycle newspapers and soda cans, then turn around and send appliances to the landfill. Even at the recycling center, the feeling of triumph is tainted with loss. Someone could have used that lamp if only they had the time to search for that obscure bulb…

This isn’t our fault, it’s the unintended consequence of having widely available cheap stuff. The best I can do to offset this replacement remorse is to reuse and recycle as much as possible of everything else. Like a diet drink with a cheeseburger, in some cosmic rationale, maybe somewhere it will all even out.