In Need of Repair / by Kendall R


Shattered - Day 269, originally uploaded by iamkr.

I was scraped up a bit in a recent Scooter vs. SUV accident. I was on the scooter end and my Macbook got smashed in the process. That’s what happens when you lay one down at 20 MPH and slide for 30 meters down the street. As I have been going about the aftermath – cleaning wounds, changing bandages, negotiating insurance, and trying to get my Macbook fixed – I have had an underlying frustration. The Apple Genius’ showed their not-so-genius side in messing up the repair and the estimate, and the whole process has been a bit aggravating. But I have had quite a bit more energy in this one area than seems necessary. So I started asking, “Why?”

Our world is smashed quite a bit. It’s in a state of constant repair. Our lives are smashed up a bit, too. Our hearts. Our relationships. Our communities. Our economics. Nearly every avenue of existence is either in the process of or yearning for repair, to be made whole.

I have moments where this reality sinks in and it’s not so much a sadness, but a sense of grace, of “ah ha” that leads to perspective and breathing deep. These things are true and, yes, repair is desired, needed, longed for, and – in most realms – actually happening, but slowly.

So, when something comes along that needs repair and can actually, quickly, be fixed but isn’t… well… it’s a bit frustrating. Which got me to thinking about how companies work. What if a company like Apple – a company that has an enormous amount of capital at hand and prides itself on innovation and design – what if they approached Customer Service with this perspective on repair? What if a company simply approached their customers with the reality that there are a lot of things in this world that need repair and will take years to remedy, but their product is not one of them? What if companies saw repair and customer service as a way of making teshuva, so to speak, creating a mitzvah and so in their little part of the universe they can make things whole? How would this change business? How would this effect the people that buy their products? Maybe then we would have one less area of life that needs repair.

My physical wounds will turn to scars and sooner or later I will forget about the accident. Our bodies are quite astounding at their ability to repair with very little from us. As a Paramedic said to me once, ”For all the ways I have seen human bodies torn and damaged, it never ceases to amaze me that each patient continues to live. The ability for the body to repair itself… well, clearly we were designed for the eternal.”

There are plenty of things in life that are easy to fix, to repair, to change for the whole. It doesn’t take much to do the right thing. But it does seem to take some thought, some drops of humanity…

UPDATE: Apple restored my faith in their company. When I went to pick up my supposedly fixed Macbook after it had spent four days in some repair depot, it was still warped and not fixed. When I explained that this was now my 3rd time at the store for this reapair, she took my Mac back to see if it could be fixed and then decided to simply replace it... with a brand new Macbook Pro, top of the line.
The human touch wins out again.