The broken phone

The other day I was travelling to London by train minding my own business; in fact, I was literally minding my own business! I was on my way to StartUp 2019 – a brilliant day of inspiration for would-be entrepreneurs (the subject for a future blog post). I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation between a daughter and her dad sitting directly in front of me.

What caught my attention – I don’t listen in to all conversations on trains, you know – was the daughter’s declaration, while looking despondently into the palm of her hand, Cheap phones break easily. It was a profound and articulate observation from someone I’d estimate to be 10-12 years old, and it particularly struck a chord with me as I’m preparing for our 20th community repair session at the Royston Repair Café in February.

There followed a discussion between the girl and her father along the lines of …

G: Will they be able to mend the crack dad?                                                                                                 F: No – they’ll replace the whole screen                                                                                                          G: Will it be the same colour around the edge?                                                                                           F: Probably not, but your case will cover that up                                                                                        G: Will they be able to mend it straight away?                                                                                            F: No – you’ll have to leave it with them for a while                                                                                   G: Oh dear…                                                                                                                                                      F: But we can take out your sim card to use in another phone. First, we should find out how much it will cost to repair – it might be cheaper to get a new one. How much did it cost?                                   G: £135                                                                                                                                                          F: I’ll check out some prices for new phones [says Dad as he looks online on his own phone]               G: [looking over dad’s shoulder] Wow! You can get same day delivery and a special colour with that one.

Despite being impressed by technical specifications which meant nothing to me but clearly made sense to this mature pre-teen (Isn’t 3-D meant to be bad for your eyes? she asked at one point) I was heartened by what she said next…

But I’d want to keep my old phone if my case doesn’t fit a new one – it’s special. By this time the previously attentive father seemed to be more interested in buying a new phone for his daughter than she was.

I’d like to report that the conversation continued as follows…

G: No dad – I’ve decided I want to hang on to this phone – I love it and it does me fine. Getting a new one would be a waste of money and, well… wasteful.                                      F: OK – let’s  get it repaired and [looking at his own phone] amazing – it says here you can take broken phones to a local Repair Café or Restart Party and fixes are free! Or we could go to a website called iFixit and try to repair it ourselves. And there’s even a guide here to repairing cracked phone screens using something called Sugru.

I made up that last bit because, sad to say, the two travellers arrived at their destination and got off the train before me, so I’ll never know what became of that broken phone. But we can all dream, can’t we? It may be all we have to sustain us!

Help make the dream come true – spread the word…

https://therestartproject.org

https://www.ifixit.com

https://sugru.com/tech-gadget/how-to-fix-a-cracked-phone-screen.html

https://repaircafe.org/en

www.facebook.com/RoystonRepairCafe

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