Sunday, November 16, 2008

Shopping and Other Things

J will celebrate his 60th birthday this month and asked for and received an electric guitar. Much time was spent at guitar emporia listening to him noodle on various prospects, but finally the selection was made, and the guitar and its attendant equipment came home. J, who used to play acoustic guitar proficiently, hasn't played for about 15 years, and he needs to practice, practice, practice.

And we--oh happy day--learned that we could repair our old Marantz speakers, rather than having to spend a stupendous (for us) sum of money on new ones. We discovered a while back that our speaker hiss was the result of deterioration in the foam on the edge of one of our bass speakers. There was much procrastination, but we finally headed off to Best Buy and Circuit City to test new speakers. We were mightily disappointed in the quality of the sound, even of the expensive prospects. Tearfully, we looked at the possibility that we might have to spend four figures to replace our speakers, and the sound wouldn't be as good as what we already had. We returned home, dejected.

The prospect of spending so much for so little led me to my computer, where I went online and Googled Marantz speaker repair. And was saved. There's a whole industry devoted to repairing and reconditioning old Marantz speakers and receivers. We could obtain repair kits or send our speakers in to be fixed. J examined the instructions and decided that this was an easy fix, so he ordered the repair kit. It arrived promptly and J set about reconditioning the speakers. The bass speakers are now in the final drying phase and will be reinstalled tomorrow. I'm not sure whether I'm happiest about keeping speakers that are better than much of what is out there now, or saving so much money. But I am especially proud of myself for Googling BEFORE we spent a lot of money on new speakers.

And I do not feel at all guilty for not propping up the economy by purchasing something new, when reconditioning the old serves us so much better. In fact, I'm becoming distinctly irritated with the constant calls for us to go out shopping to support the economy. Even people with secure jobs are feeling nervous about our economic prospects, as the number of unemployed increases by the hundreds of thousands every month. And somehow it's unseemly to be spending lots of money when your neighbors are losing their jobs, their homes, their retirement savings.

And aren't some of these same people claiming that we brought this on ourselves by spending our home equity (for those who don't rent their homes) and running up our credit cards?

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