Who knew that garage door repairs were so expensive? We just had a spring break on the door – I was thinking it would cost $100 or so to get it fixed. Turns out that the cost to replace the spring system is $618. After writing the check, the irritating little voice in my head tried to justify feeling good about it because, “it would help keep this garage door repair shop in business,” which is obviously good for my local community. It’s hard to believe that even after obsessing about broken windows for so long, I still fall prey to its allure.
Would I have preferred to spend that $618 on garage door springs? Clearly not, since I did not buy new ones before they broke. In fact, I was contemplating purchasing a new bicycle or perhaps taking our family for a short excursion to Maine to see some of the coastline for a few days, watch the whales and eat some lobster. Now, none of that is happening. This brings to mind another common nag of people – that if goods were produced with longer lives, then there would be no need to buy things over time – so it is better for an economy if products do not last very long. A little common sense is again in order. It just does not past the smell test to suggest that products that wear out quickly are in any sense “better” than products that last a long time. I suppose a game theorist could conjure up an example where short-lived products encourage more innovation, but call me unconvinced – largely because our wants are limitless. If I never had to replace a single thing in my house, perhaps the market for home repair men would be thinner, but I would be none the less happy for it. We’d probably buy ourselves a nice boat, eat out a few more times per month, and attend more hockey games. Would employment and profits in those areas not be higher?
Sounds a little like what is going to happen to us after the health care “reform” is rammed down our throats.