No Longer Made

For those of you who have read this blog for the past four years, you can probably guess that my husband and I are "purists"- meaning we do a lot of things the "old fashioned" way: we prefer wooden windows over vinyl, hand push mowers versus gasoline engines, french press coffee over Keurig, less gadgetry and more reliance on doing it ourselves.  "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." 

 Not that we are against change or finding a new way to do something.   But we deplore change for change's sake, especially when it comes to equipment that is serving its purpose fine as it is. We like quality things and we keep them around a long time.  

Unfortunately even with the best care, things wear out and need repairing or replacement parts.  Lately it seems that anything we want to repair no longer has replacement parts.  "Too old" is the refrain from the twelve year old behind the counter.  Or, to be more exact and I quote:  "Uh, like, we don't have that part.  It is so old, (sniff) like twenty years." 

Twenty years?  Too old? Oh, right.  Forgot.  That would be before you were born.  Surely, twenty years is not too old for a bicycle part?  (One of the latest repair projects) We are not talking a high tech material made bike from the Tour de France.

How about a vacuum cleaner?  Surely, they haven't changed the design too much.  (Dyson and their ads, notwithstanding) Suck up the dust and dirt through a hose.  Store it in a bag or container.  Wherever I go- vacation, business trips or weekly shopping, I am always checking for Eureka Style H (+ paper filter) vacuum bags.  I have purchased them in MD, NJ, MA, NC, VA- wherever I can find them.   Today, I checked the Eureka manufacturer's website. One would think, surely of anybody, they would carry some.  Alas, they have the bags but not the filters.

Frustrated?  You betcha. I was just trying to get vacuum cleaner bags + filters for our small canister vacuum. I know it is old, but it works fine.  It stores perfectly in our upstairs linen closet and is easy to maneuver around the house.  But, it won't work without bags and filters.

I haven't even begun to write about our frustration with the cell phones and the "upgrades".  I am sure that there is some technological reason for the updates and new phone versions.  However, it appears to me that the only thing new is the packaging- bigger or thinner phone or different games or configuration for the apps placement on the home screen.

Well, I am sure there are loads of pet peeves, annoyances and scenarios you can describe.  If you want to add your topics of frustrations in the comment section, please do.  Sometimes writing about it gets the negative vibes out of our system.  I know it does for me. 

What can we do about it?  In some ways, nothing.  

But I do think we can stick to our guns and demand quality and service not just cheap quantity.  It seems so wasteful and definitely not ecologically sound to have to throw something out, not because it isn't working but because one cannot find the replacement bags. Or to dispose a perfectly fine phone just because it is perceived to be too slow. 

We can also examine ourselves and our habits. I am reminded that I need to reevaluate the things in my possession. As I am de-cluttering and reorganizing our basement I am looking at things with these questions in mind:  Is it broken?  Can it be fixed?  Can I reuse in another way or repurpose for something else?  Have I used it recently?  Will I use it again?  Can someone else benefit from it?  Can it be recycled?  If no to these questions then out it goes having had a long life in our household. 

Of course the irony to my initial tirade- guess where we finally found the missing parts?  The internet- that modern technology that connects the world.  In some ways it has become the repository for those things "no longer made". Some change is not too bad.