I have been a bit absent from this blog and from my Etsy site as well. This is because a few weeks ago, my laptop seemed to have crashed. So Joe and I found ourselves sitting in seats reminiscent of those outside of an elementary school principal’s office. But instead of waiting to be chastised for running in the hallway, we were waiting for our turn with the kid with the messy hair and the short-sleeved dress shirt and black tie….a proud member of the Geek Squad.
Now for the record, I am not a fan of the short-sleeved dress shirt, especially when worn with a tie. But short-sleeved dress shirt aside, our computer repair nerd was very helpful and he quickly agreed with Joe’s previous assessment….my computer needed a part. Now I didn’t follow the mumbo-jumbo/zoodoo talk that Joe and the geek kid had, but I got the main point…..my computer was fixable. As we were discussing the details, another employee came up to us.
“Hey”, she said to us, looking at my laptop….”How old is this computer anyway?” Her tone implied judgement. I replied that I’d had this laptop for about four or five years.
Four or Five YEARS?! …I had clearly caught her off guard…..she cocked her head to the side as if she hadn’t heard me correctly. Four or five years?….her expression looked like I was trying to get tech support for the computer that Matthew Broderick had in his bedroom when he hacked the government’s system in the 1983 film War Games.
Then she said something that I think describes one of our biggest problems……..
“WELL THEN WHY DON’T YOU JUST BUY A NEW ONE?”
Now of course I realize that a new computer would run better than my old one. But the casual way she said this really irritated me. So with my buttons pushed, I responded defensively. I curtly ran off a list of reasons to fix the old one…..like I’d rather not spend the money…..and I really like this computer……and I don’t want to have to learn Windows 8……….and I just don’t like change…… AND maybe I don’t WANT to just buy a new one!
But let’s face it…..the just buy a new one mentality is the norm in our world. The days of darning socks are long gone! In fact, I bet if you are under 30 or so, you may not even know what darning is! So in retrospect, instead of ranting defensively about why I wanted to save my laptop, I might have made my point better by sharing some of these not-so-fun facts about waste in America…..Listen up Geek Squad girl!
- the average American produces close to 7 pounds of trash per day…that’s over 2500 pounds of trash per year PER PERSON
- 70% of waste produced in America is buried in landfills
- The Fresh Kills Landfill in New York if the only man-made structure visible from space!
- And the disposal of electronic waste is particularly tricky since electronics typically contain heavy metals and other contaminants, including lead, cadmium, and beryllium.
- Great care has to be exercised when electronics are recycled to assure that these metals do do end up leaching into landfills, the water supply, or the air.
If I had shared all of this, that Geek Squad girl would have understood me, right? She’s be my new BFF now for sure! But I didn’t share, and as we signed the forms to send the computer off for service, my new not-BFF had a smirk of disapproval.
Now just for the record, I know that technology moves quickly. And I do know that a new computer would do things that my five year old model can’t. But gosh darn, I was NOT going to JUST BUY A NEW ONE!
And since that day, the expression “Why don’t you just buy a new one?” has become a catch phrase in my household.
Josh: “I need to do some laundry.” Me :Why don’t we just buy new clothes?”
Me: “Your tire looks a little flat, I think it needs air.” Josh: “Why don’t you just buy me a new one?
This type of silliness went on and on, but silliness aside, I still maintain that we are a society too willing and too quick to dispose of too many things. So I continued to maintain that I had made the right choice in deciding to try to fix my trusty laptop…….
And then today the call came. Three weeks after being shipped away for repair, my laptop was back at the store, ready for pick-up. The only snafu was that it is IN PIECES! Apparently the computer WAS fixable, but the parts needed are no longer being manufactured.
So while I still think we need to reevaluate our disposable lifestyle, tomorrow I will go out to JUST BUY A NEW ONE! And maybe I will get to have a conversation with the Geek Squad while I am there.
Me: “How do you clean your short-sleeved dress shirt?” Geek: “I take them to the dry-cleaner.” Me: “Well why don’t you just buy a new one?…….But seriously, please buy a new one…with long sleeves!”