Monday, 27 February 2012

Field frame #15: Mount's Bay Electrical

Site: Mount’s Bay Electrical
Location: Penzance, Cornwall
Date: 10 February 2012
SiB team: CD and SB
Image: Needs and Solutions

‘Understanding your Needs; Innovating the Solutions’. The needs presented at Mounts’ Bay Electrical on one rainy Penzance morning are various. A vacuum cleaner isn’t sucking properly. A small motor needs looking at. An electric shaver is making a strange noise. A woman brings in a friend’s kettle that ‘keeps blowing the trip off’. Jeff unfastens the base to look at the kettle element and breaks the news that repair, in this case, is not going to be worthwhile.

The measure of worth while: a calculation made swiftly, dozens of times a day, a different answer every time. Relevant variables include the quality of the appliance, the expense of parts (if they are even available), the time required to carry out the repair and fuzzier metrics of customer habit and attachment. One Hoover in for servicing—slack-bagged and beige—has been returning periodically to Jeff for close to 25 years. Another unremarkable vacuum cleaner specimen is collected by its owner for the cost of a £20 repair: ‘Wonderful’, she says.

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