Recently I was replacing an old socket in a recessed ceiling fixture in our kitchen. The insulation on the wire was very old. Here's what the old socket looked like:
It was coated with gradoo, so I went to the local hardware store and bought a spanking new socket:
When I got home, I discovered that the wires on the socket weren't long enough to make it to the junction box. I couldn't replace the short wires with longer ones because they were riveted to the socket. This is a crappy, user-hostile design. When the wires go bad, you have to throw the entire thing away.
Fortunately, I still had the old light socket, and I had some extra wire, so I was able to rewire the old light socket. Hurray for repairable stuff of yesteryear!
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.