The Sharp End: Chips with everything

Business is booming at Dixons' TV and computer repair centre, finds Dave Waller.

by Dave Waller

I'm off for a day playing Mr Fix It, getting intricate with printed circuits and LCD displays at Dixons' electronics repair centre. Fist primed, I'm ready to bang stuff.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it, goes the adage, although these days there's plenty of pressure to ditch the first half of that phrase and just roll with the last bit. In a world of built-in obsolescence, we're teased by the idea of consigning our broken kit to landfill, its failure a green light to replace it with a newer model packing extra inches and ever more ridiculously high levels of def.

As such, I half-expected the repair centre in Newark to be just an old guy in a shed using his watchmaker's screwdriver to torment spiders. Yet when I arrive, I'm in for a surprise: it's a bright, buzzing hall where rows of young, black-clad engineers sit plugged into their desks by anti-static wristbands, pulling punters' precious electronics out of heavy-duty plastic crates and attacking them with power screwdrivers. REM blares in the background. It seems the religion of thrift is not lost yet.

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