A broken Christmas present becomes a learning tool for both my son and me.

It was the second day after Christmas, and it was quiet all through the house as my son was watching his new Brady Bunch Season 1 DVD while Ma and Pa sipped coffee from the couch.  Then rose a bang and an “Oh, no!” with such a clatter as the DVD player slipped to the floor.  Child with tears rapidly approaching, checking his precious cargo to my hands.  Everything looked fine and off he went again, until hours later his headphone jack slid into the DVD player’s casing and would no longer allow his headphones to work.

I am skeptical that my son’s slip to the floor jarred his headphone jack loose.  When I first took it from the box and helped him set it up, the DVD personal player’s side ports all wiggled and seemed loose.  The on/off switch even dived into the DVD player, and I gently pressed it to prevent pushing it into the casing.  My instinct to handle something carefully when it appears fragile seems to be only a parental concept that a 10-year-old boy has not developed yet.  Why should I and my son have to treat every item we buy these days with such care as if it will break on its second day of use?

I wonder how many of you faced the same disappointment.  You purchased an item with your hard-earned money and within hours of use, it implodes.  I am running into this it seems at every turn these days and my off grid blog is starting to have several articles that talk about product failure versus success. What will happen to our society if our products we purchase are so cheaply made and break easily upon simple use?   Profits it seems have overruled product quality.  Our once strong, proud, innovative economy has been replaced by worthless guarantees and exchanging cheaply made failed products with the same cheaply made product that will fail.

What was my option?  Call up the customer service desk and ask for a refund.  I should have when I first opened the box, but my nature to handle an easily cracked egg kicked in and I missed my chance.  The DVD player once upon inspection inside was not broken; it was made without any bracing for the ports.  Why would they even design it that way?  How could the design/engineering team forget such a simple and logical penny piece?  I made the bracing out of a broken flash drive component and some hot glue.  So simple, but I am flabbergasted by the ineptitude of the design. Perhaps, it is not profits, but lack of problem solving skills in the company’s design department. I don’t know the answer, but I am seeing this across the board from my propane heater we use in the candle shop, the pull start assembly on the generator, the after-market radiator in the F-150, the speed of our Internet connectivity through our data plan, and even our peanut butter (a blog post at a later time). Buyer beware is quickly becoming my mantra for each “purchase now” click on the Internet.   I am debating leaving Internet shopping for local mom and pop stores, big box stores, or even a visit to the mall miles away, so I can inspect and feel the quality of the product in my hands again.

Ask my son, “What do dads do?” and he will answer, “They fix things.”

That was the only option I could choose to do, roll up my sleeves, crack open the DVD player, find out what’s wrong, and be my son’s hero and fix it.  All the while during the process, teach my son to one day be the hero for his family as he learns to do what dads do and that is to fix things. Hopefully one day, I will teach my son, so his family can rely on him to fix things from broken toys, to machinery, and even broken relationships.


10 thoughts on “A broken Christmas present becomes a learning tool for both my son and me.

  1. Sadly, I refrain from using the word. I worked for a landscape company (briefly) that used the word copiously in our brochures and such, but so much of what we did was making more work for ourselves in the future. Even the expensive irrigation systems were designed to require maintenance, and really did not use any less water because our ‘gardeners’ dumped SO much water on everything . . . enough to kill trees, which we then charged lots of money to remove and replace with more very unsustainable trees. Meanwhile, the sprinklers that were installed at my home about 1959 still work just fine.
    I still drive my first car, and it gets fine gas mileage. I grow some of the same perennials that I grew when I was a little kid. The home I designed for myself (but was unable to build) was copied from Early American homes, because they function. My computer used to run off of the car battery because I had no other electricity. I used to grow much of my produce. My neighbors got meat products when they got close to the house. The fuel for heat came from the forest. Well, I could go on and on. The point is that sustainability has became a fad, but most of what a sustainability lifestyle consists of is so stigmatized and in some ways is even illegal. It is sad!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We try to be environmentally conscious, but also realize our society at this rate is unsustainable. Even the batteries for our off grid home are unsustainable. And for something sustainable, it costs too much. Plus, when equipment breaks a person can’t sustain it because the companies keep changing their designs and make inferior after market parts, so they stand back in line and purchase more things that will fail.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is why old technology is more practical. When I tell people that I have no electricity, their next question is what kind of generator I have. I then explain that I have NO electricity. I come to town to work online and charge the computer.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Like I always say: “You never cease to Amaze Me”!! You have taught me (and your Son), a lesson. 🙂 It’s very upsetting to All of us the way things are made today. But with a little thought and perseverance we can “Fix It”.. we just shouldn’t have to!!! Thanks for the lesson, and for helping your Son to learn how to one day, take care of his family too. ❤
    Love Ya,
    Aunt Patty Dawn

    Liked by 1 person

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