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Is planned obsolescence a business strategy? Surely seems like it to us. While we acknowledge it does create jobs and builds into our consumer market, it also takes it’s toll on our environment. That’s why we want to do our part at Tech Discounts to re-purpose and reuse as much – and often – as possible.

When items are collected through our recycling division, Tech Dump, they go through a sorting process of what items can be re-purposed and what items are to be recycled. Once an item is deemed repairable or reusable, our staff pulls out all stops to ensure your data is safe and secure (of course they ensure your data is secure if it’s being recycled, too).

Tech Discounts technicians then prepare the product for resale. They might replace a damaged screen, upgrade a hard drive, fix a keyboard or simply clean the components to make them ready for our customers. We specialize in an assortment of items, from tablets to laptops, desktops to smart TVs, and phones to speaker systems. There’s hardly an item we won’t try and save from recycling.

These items then find a home in our stores: either in person on our Golden Valley or Bloomington sales floor, or through our e-commerce store on eBay. The sales of these items directly funds our organization (did you know we’re a 501(c)(3) non-profit?!) and further our mission of providing jobs for individuals with barriers to employment.

We strive to make the most out of manufacturer’s planned obsolescence production model. When creating items that are intended to only last a few years, our staff swoops in and does our part to maintain and revive such items. Not only do we save these items from landfills, we’re also creating more jobs because of the increase in discarded products – all for the sake of upgrading an iPhone or a seemingly failing laptop.

If you own a computer, chances are you’ve probably had a moment of, “Huh, I thought I saved it right here…” or “Shoot! I didn’t mean to delete that!” Don’t hang your head because you’re not alone – it happens to the best of us!

So what do you do?

Step One: Shut your computer off

     The moment you notice something isn’t quite right or a document is missing, power your computer down. There are many potential reasons for missing data; some of them are in the user’s control, and some are not, but the best chance for recovery is to not click around too much after first noticing the issue. In short, the data might still be there, hidden deep in the hard drive where it’s not immediately discoverable. It’s easy to panic at the thought of lost data, but take a few deep breaths and…

Step Two: Bring your computer to Tech Discounts

     While we do hope this to be a quick process, the time it takes to possibly recover the data is dependent upon the size of the hard drive and how much data you’re looking to recover.

Pricing: Starting at $99 (but only if data is recovered!)

     Data recovery services at Tech Discounts start at $99. This includes up to 16GB of recovered data on a flash drive. While we will do our absolute best to recover any lost data, if we can’t recover it, you don’t pay for it.

Contact us for more information or stop by one of our Tech Discounts stores in Golden Valley or Bloomington for details.

As one can assume, all of us over here in the reuse world are firm supporters of the right to repair, or “Fair Repair” bill that’s up for debate right now. Just last week, CityPages wrote an excellent article about how this bill would impact companies such as ours. By nature of our business, this bill would positively affect our day to day operations in the repair realm. Average consumers would also benefit as they seek answers for commonly asked questions such as, “How do I replace my phone battery?” or “How do I replace my iMac screen?”

How else would the “Fair Repair” bill benefit us and the community?

1) Solutions: Without access to the manuals, parts and sometimes proprietary tools used for assembly, diagnoses can only be taken so far. Having full transparency to product assembly and tools would shed light on issues that are fixable.

2) Job Creation: Products that are repairable need someone to repair them, right? Well, in line with our mission of creating jobs for people facing barriers to employment, the “Fair Repair” bill would require more hands on deck to tackle these now repairable items. More items needing to be fixed equals more jobs available to fix those items.

3) Environmental Impact: Simply put, we love our Earth and want to keep it as long as possible. With the passing of this bill, it would mean we could prolong the use of our electronics by fixing them instead of tossing them aside and buying new when a problem arises. Items especially prone to this are phones, causing consumers to purchase new when it might be a battery fix or something similarly as simple. But where we stand now, those “simple” fixes are not exactly simple, resulting in consumers heading back to stores to purchase new products.

So…after hearing a few of the positive effects this bill would bring, you might be wondering what’s next. We suggest showing your support of this bill and voice your desire for your right to repair by writing a letter to your state Senators and Representatives. Share with friends and spread the word on the consumer’s right to repair their own gadgets!