When I was growing up in the UK, pretty much everything that needed to be plugged in to work was sold without a plug on the end of the cord. This was because there were different plugs used in different parts of the country. At 11 or 12 years old we were taught in science class how to rewire a plug safely. Even when I went to university in the early '80s, the hall of residence where I lived had round-pin plugs rather than the flat-pin ones which are now the standard. There was a thriving trade by the Junior Common Room in reselling plugs from the previous year's graduates to the first years. Nowadays I think it is much more common to buy things with plugs attached. I got very good at rewiring those plugs every time I moved back and forth from home to uni!
I had a summer job here in the US one year where we put new plugs on lamps for college dorm rooms. (The previous year's students having vandalized the lamps.) Each packet with a new plug carried the warning "Only to be installed by a licensed electrician!" It really wasn't that difficult attaching the new plugs!
I recently needed a new plug for my iron. The cord near the plug was getting rather hot, and obviously the wires inside were damaged and a fire hazard. I couldn't simply remove the plug, shorten the wire and reattach the plug because the plug was (by design) fused to the cord. This is common over here. So I needed to buy a new plug, but couldn't find one anywhere. Fortunately, we do have in our town a man who will do small repairs like this. I think it cost me about $8 - far better than replacing my $90 Rowenta iron! Right next door to the electrical repair shop is an actual, honest-to-goodness, cobbler's. The cobbler's is not quite so cheap. $20 to resole a $20 pair of shoes is not worth it to me, though I will happily pay that to get another season out of a $100+ pair of boots. Sadly, both are run by older gentlemen and it looks as though when they finally decide they're ready to retire both will close for good. (The cobbler's store is run by an immigrant from eastern Europe who must now be in his 80's and his son who's in his 60's. The electrician commented that some of the materials he needs for repairs are simply no longer available!)
One of the advantages of the American plugs is that they are a lot smaller than the British ones. Some even only have two prongs instead of three. If you are travelling with a British device that needs to be plugged in, the plug itself is pretty bulky. The plug below is brilliant! I hope they manage to bring it to market!
15 hours ago