This throwaway society

Last week we had a power spike chez smog (in fact the power was out at our apartment for nearly 3 hours, which is a first for me). The only consequence was that my monitor just played dead.

So I bundled it up and took it down to Wanchai Computer Centre to get someone to fix it. Much to my amazement I couldn’t find anyone in any of the so called “repair & service” shops who had the slightest interest in having a look at it. They all simply said “throw it away and get a new one – they are only seven or eight hundred dollars”. I offered them $500 if they could fix it. They refused.

This pissed me off immensely: firstly I had a strong suspicion that there was just an internal fuse blown (because there was no light on the front panel or anything, so it probably wasn’t the backlight gone), and secondly I have a real problem with simply throwing something like a monitor in a landfill without even trying to fix it.

So somewhat stressed up by this I brought the monitor back home and got my tool out (oooh er missus). The biggest problem was the usual one of trying to work out how to get the clip together case apart without breaking all of the clips. Once I had done that a few screws to undo a shield and, as suspected, an internal fuse was revealed. A quick test showed that it was indeed blown, and, fortunately, my odd jobs box held something that could replace it.

And that was it – put it all back together again and for about 20 minutes work (most of which was getting the case off) I had saved myself $500. Are the guys at Wanchai Computer Centre so well paid that it isn’t worth 20 minutes of their time for $500, or are they just so stupid that they can’t get a real job?

In any case I guess this is a great example of how environmentally unfriendly this town is. And there are a number of shops in Wanchai Computer Centre who won’t be getting any of my business in future.

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9 Responses to This throwaway society

  1. Maralyn says:

    Not giving any business anymore to the boys at Wanchai computer center doesn’t sound like a very viable strategy really, so you don’t use one of those shysters, you will end up somewhere else, with someone who probably would have been equally as unwilling to do the needful for you as in this case. I am not sure what you would achieve boycotting the computer center in wanchai, other than direct one persons worth of business towards another computer center somewhere else, and a little added inconvenience if only a little for yourself. Unless of course you plan on buying branded computer products from now on, and plan on having them do the service from now on. Good luck with that.

  2. shri says:

    Glad you got it all sorted out to your satisfaction. I’ve generally found Wanchai Computer center to be more and more of a rip of compared to many of the other computer / gadget malls in town. Easily 10%+ more expensive compared to 298 which is another 5-10% more expensive than SSP.

  3. smog says:

    Maralyn,

    Well I’ve pretty much always bought branded products (Dell PC, Philips monitor, Linksys router) and I’m pretty happy with them. This is the first time I have ever needed to have any sort of computer gear of my own serviced, so it’s hardly likely to be a major issue.

    (When I needed my work’s Thinkpad servicing recently the Lenovo Service Centre was excellent, and excellent value.)

    I’m not planning on boycotting the WCC in total, just those shops that demonstrated the throwaway attitude – landfilling a monitor for the sake of a new fuse is bordering on criminal from an environmental point of view.

    Shri,

    Yes, I know WCC isn’t the cheapest, but I don’t often spend a lot, so it’s not worth the hassle of going somewhere less convenient for a few dollars (WCC is 2 minutes from my office).

  4. Maralyn says:

    Fair Enough. It does seem rather wasteful that for what appears to be a very simple problem with a simple solution, they advise throwing the whole thing away.

  5. Alex says:

    In hindsight, the shops were just dumb to not accept your business.

    Looking from the shop’s perspective though, it makes sense to just sell you another monitor. Firstly, did you offer them a by the hour rate for inspection if they were not able to fix it? No one at this point knew how long or short the job would be and if at all possible to fix.

    Secondly, you most likely spoke to a sales guy rather than a certified technician. Or if you did speak to their technician, it is one thing to be able to put a PC together and quite another to fix a monitor. IE: if you had a problem with your sound card, they could easily replace your sound card and fix your computer but if you wanted them to fix the circuitry on your old sound card, they would not be qualified to do so.

    Regardless, WCC is a sales center and not a repair servicing center. Perhaps in the future, you should contact the manufacturer of the equipment as they would surely have authorized servicing centers in Hong Kong – but if you’re out of warranty, don’t expect them to have a look for free before getting it fixed.

    Unfortunately, modern economies and capitalism rarely reward those who conserve and instead reward those who produce. Until a force is on the other side of the equation, many more monitors will be going to waste.

  6. Richard H says:

    Looks like you were unlucky, smogster.

    I was down at both Wan Chai computer centre, and Mongkok computer centre last weekend. Was looking for a desktop. Desktops are actually pretty hard to find in these places – they are really laptop and gadget focused.

    But I found an HP shop on the second floor of Mongkok computer centre. The service there was truly excellent. Spoke great English, really knowledgeable about the hardware. Excellent price.

    Surpassed my expectations in every single way.

  7. Britney says:

    Abt your computer problem, I can help. Text me. You have my number. Right?

  8. Maybe there’s a market opportunity there for someone who’s handy with a screwdriver. With so many people losing their jobs now, more people will be looking to repair rather than replace.

  9. Anonymous says:

    exactly my problem in this society…….throw away and buy new………no respect for the blood sweat and tears oh and money that wetn inmto making it not to speak even about the cost to nature.

    I would liike to see rules and regulations from the government that producers MUST provide adequate repair services, in adequately reacheable areas, and this for prices which includsing labour, parts etc are never allowed to be more then buying a new one

    i am ashamed of myself that i have caused at least a small landfill full with about (if i count quickly) 4-5 stereos, at least 15 dvd or cd players, 2 prematurelt died washing machines, 1 fridge that died prematuyre as well, plus 2 tv’s premature.

    all were replaced because repair wasnt available or more expensive then buying new

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