Partner: the pulldown hose for the kitchen sink has a bad leak. I'd like to replace the faucet, a similar model is $400
Me: how about $17 for a replacement hose and 15 minutes to fix it ourselves?
Partner: wait, that's an option?!
People talk about Right To Repair a lot, and it is important, but there's still a lot of work to do on Repair Culture. If people don't believe repair is a reasonable course of action, if their impulse is to replace instead of see if it's fixable, if they don't have the context and training and confidence to fix things, then repairs don't happen.
@calcifer It was a bit surreal attending the Australian Right to Repair conference remotely. In that were arguments as to where the blame belongs. And the Australian government doesn't seem to be thinking about the issue of electronic waste correctly (they think of it in terms of grams of waste, not joules).
But definitely some of it is on our cultural attitudes!
@alcinnz I don't find blame particularly useful as an impetus for social change. I prefer "where does change need to happen"
People who buy things need to be convinced that repair is possible and beneficial. Incentives need to change (we need to fix the frequency with which buying new costs far less than a routine repair). We need to hold manufacturers accountable for design decisions that serve little purpose beyond increasing repair difficulty. We need to convince engineers that it's unethical to design things that significantly increase repair cost and complexity just to save a small amount of money. Etc.
While regulations are desirable (e.g. gas plumbing), there has to be a reasonable limit. Lawsuit culture has made it impossible to do repairs to non critical stuff.
Speaking from a third world country where capitalism hasn't fully rooted itself, here in Mexico we have "el maestro", the jack-of-all-trades repairman who does painting, plumbing, electrical installations, etc. It's not corporate controlled, you can find them in your local tlapalería or plomería. Repairing stuff here is incredibly cheap, if only because we don't have to buy the whole replacement.
Unfortunately in the US the combination of culture, economics and cancerous capitalism has made it impossible to do these kind of repairs, and that should outrage everybody.
@yuki @calcifer @alcinnz Can't agree with your assessment of the reasons. We certainly have problem litigators here and there, but the idea that America has a problem with runaway, trigger-happy lawsuit culture is largely the invention of corporate PR machines looking to vilify those who would hold them responsible for willfully putting lives over profits.
I think the lack of professional repair is simply down to the same reasons as the lack of consumer repair.
I think it has more to do with the economic aspects than the lawsuits. In our third world countries, labor is (comparatively) cheap, but high-tech devices are extremely expensive. First-world countries have shaped the world economy to make it possible for them to import final products very cheaply... especially in proportion to their wages.
@yuki @Nentuaby @calcifer @alcinnz Yeah, the US is certainly lawsuit happy. But in terms of customer protections, I'd say it lets sellers get away with a lot more than most places. In Brazil many of those waiers and disclaimers of liability we see in US stuff wouldn't be valid in the first place, for example (so companies are always liable for some of those things).
And, well, the corner repair shops around here don't exactly have a reputation for following the laws we have. :P
@calcifer Thanks masto for eating my draft again... Ugh.
I think it's worse than that. Repairing something is assumed to be impossible or requiring so much archane technical knowledge that it's effectively impossible. Most people's frame of reference for a device to fix is their phone or computer, which in the last decade, has effectively become un-repairable for most people. The idea of other things being repairable becomes a natural conclusion. And capitalist pressure does the rest. You can't buy most replacement parts, or the right tools, or get stuck at a key detail. Repair has become, culturally, the domain of learned experts and out of reach without imagined years of training.
@calcifer An example of capitalist pressure is assumption creep. It used to be that you could change the oil in a car in your driveway with a funnel, a pan, and a wench. Then you needed a jack. Then you needed a proper car lift. Then they stopped caring and assumed you'd take it to authorized service personnel who have a four wheel lift and That Specific Wrench needed to drain the crank case. The last car I tried to change the oil by hand was 20 years ago and it was nearly impossible. Now it's not even worth it.
It's not just that repairability is not a right, it's that culture has relegated it to replacement or expertise and a massive tech chain. The world we live in doesn't have things even designed to be repairable now. We'd need more than rights, we'd need *regulation*.
@socketwench exactly this. Or if not regulation, at least an incentive regime (e.g. environmental impact fees based on an independent audit of repairability).
@calcifer Let's start with 18v power tool batteries. Universe, those piss me off to no end.
2. get it repaired somehow.
Both depends on whether something can be repaired at all. It is somewhat same idea with Free vs Proprietary software. You can either fix the code yourself or get it fixed by others or hire someone to fix, but the pre-condition for both the options is access to the code. I suspect for an appliance, the access to circuit diagrams, bill of materials, availability of parts are all factors to consider.
A friend had a company that sold "smart" door bells and we were one of the initial beta testers. They closed down last year, we have perfectly working hardware but non-functional devices as they shut down their servers etc.
@calcifer i think it goes hand in hand. making it harder/illegal to fix things leads to less people fixing things, leading to people seeing less and less people fixing thing, so they lose track of the idea that things are fixable?
@malte definitely. I just see a lot of Right to Repair folks think that's the end of the conversation. If we don't also work on the culture parts, the right once won will be quickly eroded again
@calcifer When things break in our house we tend to want to fix it with improved (and possibly improvised) parts. Because what is going to happen if we buy another instance of the same object? It's probably going to break again, in the exact same way.
For example, the kitchen sink soap dispenser broke recently. The neck of the bottle broke off. We replaced the plastic bottle with a metal water bottle we had lying around. It sure won't break in that same way again! 😁
@calcifer Fixed our microwave for $17 (bad HV diode) and a new multimeter that got lost in the move compared to the cost of a new kitchen.
@calcifer hah, we went through this same scenario about 6 months ago!
A bunch of technomancers in the fediverse. Keep it fairly clean please. This arcology is for all who wash up upon it's digital shore.