Built-In Obsolescence

My phone broke!80s phone

What a bloody joke!

I hadn’t had it long.

Spend fifty quid on phones, you don’t expect them to go wrong.

I hadn’t stamped upon the screen or flushed it down the loo,

I hadn’t done much with it, except make a call or two.

I know it’s not in warranty, I know I’ll have to pay

I know I won’t get cross if I’m without it for a day.

I had visions of mechanics with tiny phone sized tools

With HNDs in phone repair from specialist phone schools

Who could put it on a platform and take it all apart,

And replace a mini cam shaft to make its engine start.

I might even get a coffee, if they smile at me and say,

“It’s quite a quick repair, love. We’ll soon have you on your way.”

But though I looked around and trawled the Internet for ages

There isn’t one phone garage listed in the Yellow Pages.

I consulted all the paperwork, which said to make a call

To an 0800 number listed somewhere in Bengal

Except there was one problem, which you’d think they might have known:

You can’t exactly make a phonecall if you have a broken phone.

There was only one thing for it. I wandered into town

And picked out a likely phone shop from the thousands all around

A twelve-year-old approached me and he asked if he could help.

I said “I’d like my phone fixed, please,” and then he gave a little yelp.

“Repairs?” he said, in tones reserved for dog shit on the floor,

“I didn’t think that people bothered with them anymore!

No, it’s much better for you to invest in something new:

Take this one, for example. Let’s see what it can do.”

He held up a bit of plastic that looked much like my old phone:

“If you purchase the right add-on, this one turns into a drone!

The basic pack allows you to watch films and browse the net,

It takes selfies, does accounts and tracks appointments with the vet,

It has email, Facebook, MySpace, Netflix, Windows version 10,

And you can use it as a notebook with a phone-adapted pen!

If you already have a contract – and I assume you do –

You can purchase it today for ninety-eight pounds ninety two.”

“But what about my old one?” I asked, “Where will it go?

I’m sure there’s not much wrong with it, for someone in the know.

It seems a shame to chuck it out, when we hear every day

That we really should recycle rather than throw things away.”

He looked a bit bamboozled and then he shrugged and said,

“I fear environmental stuff’s a bit over my head.

You could always check our website and drop Management a line,

I imagine that they deal with questions like this all the time.”

And so I thanked the twelve year old – though I declined the sale –

And went home to compose a suitably insightful mail.

I told them my dilemma and I offered a solution

Which might reduce their costs and offset much of their pollution.

“Just offer to repair your phones, and everyone will see

How ecological a manufacturer can be!”

They did reply eventually. They said it was a shame,

But repairs don’t turn a profit if you’re in the mobile game.

And so I have a broken phone. I’m not too sure what’s next,

But forgive me in the meantime if I don’t return your text.


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