I may be dating myself, but I still remember a time when repair shops were a common thing. I remember the “Fix-It Shop” run by Luis and Maria on Sesame Street from when I was a kid. The idea of repairing broken things to keep them usable was an idea that was ingrained into my brain at an early age.
We have become a much more “throwaway” society since those days. The “Fix-It Shop” is now a laundromat, and electronic waste fills our dumps. Not saying these two things are related… maybe.
WHAT IS IT?
I first became aware of the Right To Repair movement after buying a $15 Xbox One at a local thrift shop. Sold “As Is” and non-functional, I was curious how to fix it, so I hit up YouTube looking for repair videos. I found many helpful videos and a host of personalities (I’ll mention and link several). Turns out, it can be simple to get into and repair an Xbox.
Not everyone makes things as easy as Microsoft (I almost feel dirty saying that.) From smartphones to game consoles to vehicles, it is getting harder and harder for the average consumer to fix the things they own. Want to replace a broken camera on your iPhone? You can’t. You must take it to an authorized shop.
The Right to Repair encourages manufacturers to allow consumers to choose who can repair the things they own. Failing that, it encourages legislation to protect the consumer’s right to choose these things. As defined by the Repair Association:
“Right to Repair is simple. It requires manufacturers to provide owners and independent repair businesses with fair access to service information and affordable replacement parts. So you can fix the stuff you own quickly—and get back on with your life.”
WHAT CAN I DO?
The Repair Association has a map showing states with active or introduced bills. As much as I hate to say it, Alaska has neither. A quick check of our legislative website’s list of current bills lists many things, but Right to Repair is not anywhere to be seen.
The obvious things to do here are call, write and email state representatives who may not even be aware of the need. Beyond that, let others know and find like-minded friends to grow the calls.
Maybe a bit less obvious: let the companies whose products you enjoy know that you support the Right to Repair. Let them know those “Void if Broken” stickers are, actually, illegal and unenforceable (at least in the U.S.)
Finally, if you are a content producer, make content on the Right to Repair. I only learned about it by watching new content when I wanted to learn something I didn’t know how to do. I stumbled upon an Xbox repair video by YouTuber Tronixfix, an amazing guy with some strong opinions on the subject. His videos led me to watch many others by equally talented YouTubers.
SO, ABOUT THAT XBOX AND YOUTUBE…
Ok, turns out my Xbox was an extraordinarily simple fix. After learning to take the thing apart, I found a loose screw that was shorting out some contacts. No damage done and after putting the thing back together it was all working again. I found a power supply on Amazon and we’ve now been using it for several years as a second machine, allowing us to game together. Still works great.
Aside from Tronixfix, I have stumbled upon several awesome YouTube personalities who do repairs of all sorts. Below is just a sampling, and I’m sure I’ve missed many, many excellent sources. If you know more, let me know in the comments! I’m always looking for more people to watch.
Watches (I’m new to this one so just a few.)