Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Don't discard - repair

There is a very distinct element of everyday life that separates living in Brazil from living in the United States. Back in San Francisco, if something broke or got damaged in some way, we would simply buy a new one. No big deal.

Here there are two dynamics that interrupt this impulse. First, shit costs, relatively, A LOT more here. A cheap toaster oven at Best Buy costs three to four times more here IF you can even find one with comparable functionality. Usually stuff is as basic as it comes – and is still very expensive.

Second, getting things repaired is very commonplace here – and assumed. Why buy a new mixer when some guy can fix yours for a fraction of the cost?

Today we acted on local impulse and had two cooking pans fixed by the local guy who sits by the tree near the park at his little pan-fixing stand.

One little pan needed the handle re-connected. It had broken through the metal moorings. The other was our small pressure cooker which suffered an extreme situation while cooking beans some time ago. The water ran dry and the pan EXPANDED before we took it off the stove. (Lucky us it did not explode.) Now it had a rounded bottom and lid, no longer making the seal necessary to be functional.

Mr. pan-fixer guy repaired our little pan for R$5 – rather than our buying a new one for R$20. He also brought our small pressure cooker (bought for R$45) back to life for R$10.

I love the entrepreneurs who position themselves on the side of the road. In this case we came out winners.


Ray Adkins said...


I wouldn't trust a repaired pressure cooker, those things are like bombs if they malfunction!
It might be a sign of the times and our bad economic moment in the US, but we just found out about a Hardware store ( Damon's in Wakefield, RI ) has an appliance repair department, they repair things such as fans, toasters and blenders...
Be careful with the repaired pressure cooker.


Jim said...

Ray - wise words. You're making me nervous. The pan guy repairs a lot of pressure cookers - so I'm hoping we have no suprises.

Another thing - the most popular pressure cookers here are not like those in the States. There is no interlocking lid with the base. Here it is just a gasket between a tightly fitting lid and pan below.

I feel more safe with the interlocking version.

OK Ray, you have officially freaked me out!

But we will give it a go all the same... Fingers crossed.