How to log items that can’t be repaired but are still useable in some form

@Ann_Birks got in touch with the following interesting questions:

I have been adding items to the fixometer for about a year now and it’s all fairly straightforward but I do have a couple of queries about how to add items.

It’s probably easiest if I give you a couple of examples of what I am struggling with.

First one is when somebody brought in an amplifier that had a CD player in it. The Cd player wasn’t working but the rest of the amplifier worked well. Our fixers were unable to repair the CD player. Had this been purely a CD player, I would have added it as “end of life, repair info not available”. However, the actual piece of equipment was still working. I wasn’t sure how to add this to the fixometer.

Second one was a vanity case with a broken clip fastener which could not be repaired, however it had a second clip fastener and wasn’t going to be thrown away, the owner was advised to wrap a rubber band round it! So – this was something that couldn’t be repaired but wasn’t going to be thrown away anyway.

We also recently had a cheese grater with a broken top handle – the owner would have liked it to be repaired, but it couldn’t be, but it was still a useable item.

I find it difficult to know how to add things that can’t be repaired but are still useable in some form.

Any advice would be really useful.

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Which are great questions - I’ve gone down a few different paths while thinking about this and haven’t come to a solid conclusion yet - maybe there isn’t one at the moment? We don’t have anything currently to record exactly the case of ‘something that can’t be repaired but is still useable in some form’.

The simplest suggestion, in case you need something in the short term, is to leave the ‘Repair outcome’ empty, and add some notes to the Assessment field as to the outcome.

That said, maybe there’s a neater way of doing it. Anyone else any thoughts?

We’re fairly flexible with the term ‘Fixed’ - generally meaning that the owner has gone away happy and able to continue to use the item where they wouldn’t have otherwise. So loosely meaning - ‘whatever problem the visitor had with the item has now been resolved’, which allows for things like giving advice on usage to count as fixed. But we can’t really use it when no problem was actually fixed, even though part of the item remains usable.

What if we show someone that something is still usable when they thought it wasn’t?

I can imagine this discussion going a long way down multiple rabbit holes…

e.g. maybe we need Still Usable repair outcome for things like that?

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I remember having this chat with @james previously, as we have this happen pretty regularly, and sometimes it’s just that person didn’t know how to use it. I’m pretty sure we enter them as repaired, as the point is that they’re not end of life and there is nothing ongoing and the person’s mind has been put at rest that the item can still be used in some shape or form.

With the first example that @Ann_Birks mentions…we recently had someone that brought in a CD player which also had radio and tape deck (a small portable one). We couldn’t fix the CD player for her, and she said she never used the radio or tape deck so was going to bin it. We encouraged her to give it away to someone that would use it as the radio, but she was doubtful. So in that incident, we did log it as ‘end of life’.

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Here yes I concur with Clare’s comment and I would personally be happy to say ‘Fixed’. We’ve given advice that immediately leads to its use again and thus prevented it being disposed of as a result.

As a general point I take Ann’s distinction to be what to log when someone brought something working to be improved, but it wasn’t, so they carried on using it as it was.

On a case by case basis:

  1. Integrated Hi-Fi system where CD player doesn’t work and can’t be fixed but rest of system works. As Clare says, depends on what the participant did with it - if they said they were giving up on it, then end of life. Even if they said they’d keep it for the tape/radio part I might be so bold as to class it as EOL anyway to record the barriers to repair for the CD player.

  2. Vanity case with broken clip fastener that couldn’t be repaired. They kept using it anyway and had always intended to. So no repair outcome.

  3. Cheese grater with broken top handle. Couldn’t be repaired. They kept using it anyway and had always intended to. So no repair outcome.