Friday, August 1, 2008

NPR - Really Bad Fixit Co.

I am the owner and sole worker in The Really Bad Fixit Company. Our motto is, "We can fix anything simple with duct tape and a hammer. Everything else gets replaced."

I'm kidding but it was the idea from favors I do for a friend who runs who own businesses, a group of services and products she's trying to build into a business she can do better in live. She's the American story about the entrepreneural spirit that built this country. So I don't have a problem working and sometimes fixing small things so she doesn't have to take time herself.

I don't fix things that I know when it should be replaced and I know whatever I do to fix it, I can't do more harm because it's already at the point of falling apart. But if I can give it a life for a few more years, that's cool. And I'm not a mechanical person, so taking things apart and fixing them is a challlenge, especially when it goes back together and works better than it did.

So, I created The Really Bad Fixit Co. And our warranty is also simple, "It's guarranteed for the fifty feet or seconds it takes me to walk away. After that, you're on your own."

And while I like to find the humor in things and this idea, I'm saddened as everything is becoming global and almost everything is designed to be made and sold but not fixed. The engineers are adept at designing anything to be manufactured and assembled, but not repaired. And if it is designed to be repaired, it's not sold in parts, but components. You can't find let alone buy that one little part anymore, but have to buy an assembly, which often costs as much as the original product.

I once had a coffee grinder, a well known brand and upscale model, and while $100+ for a grinder isn't a lot, it was designed to last a lifetime, except for the one part that needs replacing periodically, the grinding wheels. When I went to buy them the authorized repair and service center said the company stopped selling that part because they wanted folks to buy a new grinder instead of keeping fixing the old ones.

They built a great product but to make a profit, had to sell more, and decided to stop repairing or servicing the existing lines of grinders. So, everyone has a grinder that doesn't grind anymore.

And this is where I find many things anymore, like the stuff my friend has. But it's sometimes interesting to find a way to make it last a few years longer. And at some point, though, some of it won't be fixable as it's too worn or parts aren't available. The reality of the times, only now globally as everything is made overseas and no one makes parts.

And The Really Bad Fixit Company's days are numbers short of consulting to say, "Get a new one."

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