Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Old stuff made new

I was watching Law & Order SVU* last night when something struck me, apart from it being a rerun about endangered monkey smugglers on the same day that a man was arrested in Mexico for smuggling endangered monkeys. The detectives were investigating a tip, talking to a potential lead (you know, the guy who says, "Nope, never seen her. But you know, I did happen to see a guy tossing something in the trash can around 12:00...").

Anyway, the potential lead was a meat distributor who mentioned that he used to be a repairman, but he went out of business because no one repairs things any more. People just buy new stuff. We've all become more recycle-conscious in recent years, but that doesn't mean that if our 3-year-old oscillating fan loses a screw or begins to whir we don't put it on the curb.

In the gringo mindset everything is disposable, but not in Mexico. There are repair shops for everything here. Gustavo took an old typewriter he uses to fill out facturas to a typewriter repair shop. That's right, an entire shop that not only exists, but somehow stays afloat, repairing a virtually defunct machine.

Just tonight, Gustavo pulled out and connected two speakers. One works, one doesn't. The solution? We'll get it repaired. It'll probably just cost a few bucks. No great revelation for anyone who remembers specialized repair shops in the U.S., but it's certainly a new way to think of stuff for a generation who relies on the Genius Bar and Craigslist to solve all tech problems.

*Reruns every night at 7, and new ones Tuesday at 9, on Universal.


MexZihCan said...

This is so true... in Mexico everything can be repaired and reused until it just about falls apart; a whole other mindset. There's always some enterprising and dexterous person out there able to fix that old, rusty (but still reparable!) fan, or glue and sew up that flapping sole on a favorite pair of shoes. Our blender, pock-marked and rusting, is still going after 20 years of use and multiple repairs!

Greg B said...

Spot on! I've noticed that here recently and was just thinking about how many people back in the states do view most things as disposable.