Let’s import the Dutch Repair cafe idea

In Amsterdam, a couple of times a month volunteers meet up in community centers to fix things. Anyone can bring items that don’t work anymore to get it fixed. It reduces waste, people save money, they get to meet their neighbors, and it provides opportunity.

Opportunity? Hear me out.

I’m sure the majority of people who have, say, a broken lamp, don’t really care how it works and just appreciate the chance to get it fixed. And that’s okay. I don’t mind fixing lamps, but absolutely detest climbing up on my roof. Somewhere out there, I’m sure there’s someone who doesn’t mind climbing on the roof but detests fixing lamps. It’s possible–maybe they hate electricity like I hate ladders. We’re all different.

But what if you enjoy fixing things and would like to learn? Where does one go to learn how to fix a lamp?

There was a time when you learned that kind of stuff from your dad. The next time one of our lamps breaks, if one or both of my sons are old enough when it happens, you better believe we’ll be making a trip to the hardware store to buy some lamp parts, and I’ll show them how to take a lamp apart, replace the broken part, and wire it all back together safely. Yes, the safety portion is important too.

But sometimes Dad doesn’t know. Or maybe Dad’s out of the picture. That’s the world we live in. If there was a neighborhood repair cafe, that would provide a place for that kind of mentoring.

Of course it’s really easy for me to sit here and come up with ideas for other people to do. But this seems like a perfect joint project for, say, churches and boy scout troops to team up on. It would help the community and give curious minds a place to learn these skills if they have no other place to learn them.

One thought on “Let’s import the Dutch Repair cafe idea

  • May 12, 2012 at 8:29 pm
    Permalink

    One word: Liability.
    Is it possible that you would be covered by the Good Samaritan law if a repaired lamp burned down a home?
    America, the land of opportunity and lawyers.

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