Serviceability & Simplicity

19 Jul

Two important concepts for preppers to integrate into their lives, or at least their prepping, are serviceability and simplicity.

Serviceability means you can service the mechanical items you rely upon. Firearms and vehicles come to mind. Are you sufficiently familiar with your firearms and vehicles so you could maintain them if you needed to?

We live in an age of declining serviceability. People aren’t expected to maintain their own vehicles. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something new appears to complicate your world. I remember when car windows were manually rolled up and down. That was too much work, so they invented power windows. Life was good. Some vehicles today have computer-controlled window operation. The computer gets confused and you can’t roll your car window down. You have to reboot your window.

The added complexity just isn’t worth it. It’s one thing to troubleshoot or replace an electric motor. It’s another when you’re dealing with proprietary software and computer hardware. Troubleshooting is more difficult and repairs can be more costly.

Computers have wormed their way into our appliances too. In the old days, a washer had simple switches and dials. Easy to replace. Many washers today are controlled by computers. Is a CPU really required to dry my underwear?

I’m not saying we should go back to horses and washbasins. That would be foolish. But needless complexity costs us money for little real benefit. It takes away our ability to service our equipment. It makes us more dependent on others.

You can fight to regain a measure of serviceability in two ways. Go with simpler options or learn more, especially electronics. Simpler options are disappearing from the market.

Simplicity applies to things that are already simple. Take the humble plate that you eat from. Plates come in a wide range of styles. Some are smooth. Others have intricate work with ridges around the edges. When you pop them in a dishwasher, it doesn’t matter. But, if you wash them by hand, food sticks more easily to intricate patterns and ridges. The same is true of silverware.

In a longer-term prepper situation, smooth plates and silverware is easier to wash by hand. This can have real consequences in terms of the time it takes to get them clean and hygienic.

Hunters in remote areas often carry bolt action rifles, because it’s the simplest action. The idea is that there are fewer parts to break or malfunction. The bolt action gives you all the firepower you really need. This doesn’t mean we should replace battle rifles with bolt actions. We need to balance the features we get with the level of complexity. When you make an prepper purchase, ask yourself: How serviceable is this thing?

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