Economics is a funny thing. After taking a course or two in college, I came away thinking that it mostly relies on convincing people to share in your fantasy about something. It often starts with varied versions of “these pieces of paper hold value and you’d be nuts not to want them.” Before you accuse me of advocating the gold standard (read Terry Pratchett’s Making Money for a fun take on that), those pieces of paper could be currency, stock certificates, or Bazooka Joe bubblegum comics (if they still let you send them in for towels and t-shirts).

I was once informed that the whole cell phone repair biz is a total racket. That is, it’s based on the idea that once you’ve cracked your screen or damaged your device in some way, it’s now worth less than dryer lint. This is in spite of the fact that many towns/cities now have storefronts dealing in used mobile telephonical gadgetometry which are doing quite well. Priceonomics takes a look at what the costs associated with cracking your screen are, and how much you can expect to get for a damaged unit or how much it costs to fix it. So the next time you watch your phone take a dive onto a tile floor and grow a spiderweb pattern over your “Words With Friends” session, it’s probably not as bad as you might think.

Besides, once you put the first ding or scratch on something, it becomes nearly indestructible. It seems to have worked for nearly every car I’ve ever owned (the ones that started out looking nice, that is).