As TVs grow more disposable, so do TV repairmen
That's the question that prompted me to spend time hanging out with guys whose job title sounds like an oxymoron these days: TV repairman.
For years, I had driven by these shops, wondering: Who gets TVs repaired anymore?
A few weeks ago, I actually stopped into a store I had passed by for years -- Gulfport TV in the Gulfport Square shopping center -- to find out. What I discovered: thanks to cheaper TV designs, the rise of the extended warranty and consumers' desire for the latest technology every few years, not many people bother with the repairman anymore.
Forget recessions and rollbacks -- nothing can make an American skimp on their TV sets. And to make sets cheaper, say some experts, manufacturers are using technology that is difficult to repair without replacing big parts. The repair guys suspect, however, that manufacturers are making parts less available and more costly so customers just buy new TVs when the old ones malfunction.
Spend some time with guys like Gulfport TV owner Charlie Wickson or A&M TV's Ellis Meiggs, and you can tell these guys are a different breed. Some of them can recount experience working on radar systems or missile technology, but fate led them to TV repair when times were good -- say, 10 or 15 years ago.
Now, like so many industries connected to media, changing technology and consumer tastes have pushed these guys to the sidelines.
Regardless, I think their story also tells us a little something about ourselves. Click here to check it out and let me know if you agree.