When I was growing up, television was relatively new, and was a substantial investment, a fair portion of a weekly paycheck. TV repair shops littered the landscape. Indeed, my own father fixed TVs for a while in the family storeroom. He put up a bench and made a little side money fixing television sets.
Those old repair shops have gone the way of the dodo bird. Foe rhe most part, consumer electronics are disposable; if something breaks, you throw it away and buy another. The time of fixing TVs is long gone. But, there are still a couple of old-time repair shops around that can do stuff that was once the province of any good electronic repair shop.
One such repairman is a guy I'll call Ricky. Ricky runs a repair shop that specializes in audio=visual equipment for a local governmental agency. When I have an issue, Ricky is the easy answer. He doesn't always tell me what I want to hear, but he'll give me the straight scoop. Ricky likes old guns, so we trade expertise and talk about the time when things got fixed, rather than thrown away.
You'll remember earlier this week, when I bought my portable PA system. I showed it to RIcky, and he noticed the two plugs on the back of the unit for attaching it to a battery for 12 volt power. He told me about a shop downtown that sold little electronic parts. "Go there and get two banana plugs and two battery clips. Come back here and we'll build a power cord so that you can hook it to a battery."
So, I went to this shop he told me about. Stepping in through the door was like stepping back 40 years. Dusty, musty, lots of shelves and bins. I found the proprietor and told him what I was looking for. "Ricky sent me."
"Okay", he said and started looking in bins. In just a few minutes he had found banana plugs, one red, one black, but he was having trouble finding battery clips. Then he remembered that he was using them as clamps for a gluing project. He disappeared into the back of the shop and returned in just a minute, with two battery clips, one red, one black. I gave him a $10.00 bill and out the door.
At Ricky's shop the next morning, Ricky plugged in his soldering iron and let it heat while he found a piece os suitable scrap wire. In ten mites, he had soldered the banana plugs on one end and the battery clips on the other. In the space of an couple of hours, I had a custom made, professionally crafted power cable for my PA system.
I didn't have to wait on Amazon, or go to a box store wondering if I could find what I needed, just talk to two old craftsmen who knew their business. In many ways it was like stepping back into my grandfather's shop, or my Dad's shop. When we lose these guys, either trhough the economy, or normal mortality, the country will have lost a treasure.