By Jenny Lindsay
It’s such a pain to organise repairs, isn’t it? Just looking at the tool that just died, or the torn bag, or vacuum that no longer sucks – well, it all just sucks!
Many of us just have no idea where to start, other than Googling a repairer or the manufacturer, and the cost is just not something we want to deal with right now. Alternatives take time to search for. So, that thing gets pushed back into the cupboard for one day when you’ve got time to tackle that job.
“If only I knew someone who could take a look at this for me.”
The solution might be right next door
Your local Repair Café could be the solution you’re after. And yet, it’s a mysterious adventure for visitors who are experiencing the operation for the first time.
“Um, I saw you guys were open, I’ve just brought this in, not sure if you could do anything about it…”
Well, you never know, we’ll take a look at it and see what we can do!
We recently celebrated International Repair Café Week with the Footscray Community Bike Shed as our guest fixers.
All of a sudden our volunteers realised this was a golden opportunity.
Fiona said “I’ve been meaning to get someone to look at my bike”
Our Fearless Leader (Founder and Coordinator) Michelle said “I’ve got this thing on my bike I need to get looked at…”
How lucky to have bike repairer Dave to the rescue. He clearly didn’t know what he was in for when he offered to join our session!
It’s the conversations at the desk that can prompt a friendly offer from a neighbouring fixer. Or even another visitor!
During one memorable session, a sewing machine in for repair caught the eye of one of our visitors. She’d initially brought in a home appliance for repair. A keen sewer herself, she offered to take a look at the sewing machine that was on the fritz. That was one way to make best use of her time while her item was being fixed.
Then, two of our visitors who were handy with a needle and thread, soon moved to the other side of the desk to lend their skills. That was a life-saver as we had more sewing repairs than we could handle that day.
By becoming fixers and helping out other visitors, the visitors, too, had the chance to connect and chat with others who had come in for a bit of help to rescue some broken, worn or torn gear.
Have those conversations with your neighbours – you never know what superpower they’re hiding. Something truly special happens in the exchange of skills, experience and goodwill at our local Repair Café.
Michelle Fisher is the founder and coordinator of the Melbourne Repair Cafe (Inner West). She is more comfortable wielding pens than tools and welcomes contributions from those who can wield one or the other or both! Please send submissions to the Melbourne Repair Cafe's email address..
Jenny Lindsay is a seeker of sustainable lifestyle solutions who regularly helps out on the Repair Café registration desk. Jenny is the founder of Connectjen virtual assistant which offers copywriting, marketing and admin support for businesses committed to challenging the status quo.