The downturn has made many of us question our priorities, become more interested in spirituality, and even seek out new religions. It’s certainly true for me. I was raised a nonbeliever, and before the recession, I lived a misguided life.
But now all that has changed. It took losing my job, but I have let duct tape into my heart. Duct tape, it turns out, can be a miraculous cost-saver and time-saver, and in the recession, we could all use both.
Today I live by a credo of the Duct Tape Guys: Don’t buy new when duct tape will do. I figure it has saved me about $100 in the past several weeks.
I realize that the Cult of Duct Tape is far from new—just new for this single, urban woman. Developed (some say) during World War II, it was used as a water resistant sealer for ammunition cases. The astronauts aboard Apollo 13 used duct tape to help turn their lunar module into a lifeboat. Keith Canfield, one of the spacecraft’s designers, later said that “I felt like we were home free” once it was clear there was duct tape on board. “One thing a Southern boy will never say is, ‘I don’t think duct tape will fix it.’”
A Google search for duct tape yields more than 5 million results. Fans of the sticky stuff have posted directions for creating duct tape dresses, duct tape wallets, and duct tape roses. Some people even swear by duct tape as a home remedy for warts.
I’ve been using duct tape in more conventional ways—to fix stuff that’s broken. Two years ago, if something came apart or wore out, I would throw it away and buy a new one. It simply wasn’t worth the time or energy it would take to patch it up.
Take the pricey makeup compact I dropped on the floor (twice), busting the hinge and breaking off one of the palettes. In pieces, it was almost useless. But I salvaged it with duct tape, which holds the clamshell together and even keeps it from sliding off the vanity. A few weeks later, when the Swiffer handle broke, my first thought was to get a new one ($17). It took two minutes and a few wraps of silver stuff to bring it back to snuff. The deflating exercise ball took seconds to patch; ditto with the compression bag I store winter sweaters in.
I’m not the only one leaning on duct tape in these difficult times. Another of our founders is using it to delay a windshield repair. A friend in Denver who started sewing her own clothes discovered that a dress form would cost a few hundred dollars, so she made one herself using duct tape and pillow stuffing, following directions she found online. I believe I we can get through anything with duct tape by our side.
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