Fixer Uppers: In our throwaway culture, these local fixers keep things running

The Fixers

click to enlarge Fixer Uppers: In our throwaway culture, these local fixers keep things running
Young Kwak photo

Did you know that you can repair that? In this day and age, you hardly ever need to leave your house to acquire everyday commodities. You can get basically anything — including groceries — quickly delivered to your door at prices that won't break the bank. Why even leave the house? Humanity be damned — Amazon Prime has you covered, as does the throbbing global market economy that can move cheap, mass-produced goods across the planet at truly shocking speeds. The material world is at your fingertips, assuming you have some cash in your bank account.

One of the byproducts of this economic system is a built-in incentive to throw things away. Why try to fix something when you can just buy another? It's easier and, in some cases, cheaper. You don't need to learn how to sew to fix that shirt; Jeff Bezos is sending you another one, and he promises to have it to you by tomorrow.

But believe it or not, people still fix things in modern society. Amidst the onslaught of internet commerce, a handful of highly skilled artisans, technicians and craftsmen still tinker away in workshops across town, recycling and fixing items ranging from shoes to grandfather clocks. We talked to a few of them, and how they're surviving and, in some cases, thriving, in contemporary throwaway culture.


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About The Author

Josh Kelety

As a staff writer, Josh covers criminal justice issues and Spokane County government. Previously, he worked as a reporter for Seattle Weekly. Josh grew up in Port Townsend and graduated from the University of Washington. Message him through Signal @ (360) 301-3490.