So my kids are back from sleep-away camp and my wife and I greeted them with a semi-enthusiastic and partially sarcastic yeah. They returned with all kids of great stories and a new, “improved” vocabulary. One would think that they were in the Navy for the past eight weeks with my 11-year-old son telling jokes about things that he doesn’t know the meaning of. Aside from that, the stuff that they brought back was pretty messed up.
Their bedding and towels went straight to the Humane Society, what was left of their shoes went into the garbage and the rest of their belongings got sorted out, washed and stored away. What stood out this year was the fact that some of their more durable goods didn’t live up to their reputations and came back broken.
My oldest son’s camera took quite the beating at camp and needed some repair. I swung by the camera shop, or one of the few remaining shops, to have it looked at. When I was growing up I loved photography and still do. But the days of the camera shop are sadly numbered. Like book stores, their services are duplicated elsewhere, and the way that things are manufactured and sold today, there is seemingly nothing exclusive about the full service camera shop.
The gentleman working there took one look at his camera and told me it was broken. Really? So glad I made the special trip. But he suggested to me that I should send it in to get fixed or replaced with a refurbished one. Ah refurbished, the fancy word for the revolving door of broken crap. Lastly, he added if Iwanted to buy a new one he had some similar models in the back. Great.
Another item that came back broken was a backpack. A zipper had broken some of its “teeth” and it needed a new one. To me that was an easy fix so I headed off with that to the cobbler shop to get that repaired. In the past few years I have noticed the number of shoe repair stores dwindle down to a handful of remaining locations. I brought in the backpack and before I could have a conversation with the man working there I took in a deep breath. Oh what memories the smell of old leather shops unleash, the man and I conversed briefly about the bag and he told me that it wasn’t worth his time (or mine based on the hours to fix it) to repair the bag. His suggestion was to either throw it out or try to mail it to the manufacturer.
I was a little disappointed that neither of my errands were bearing fruit, but was a little more saddened that in trying to support these seemingly dying businesses that I was turned away. So I went home, and within 30seconds, got the mailing addresses of the places where I can send these items in to get repaired. I packaged them up and filled out some paperwork and took off to an establishment that I know will always be around; that model of efficiency...the U.S. Post Office!