Thursday, July 28, 2011

So My Tractor Mower Died

My riding mower (Sears) finally bit the dust two weeks ago. While I sat at home lamenting the loss and waiting for a Sears serviceman to come and perform the autopsy, I was unable to mow my lawn. I mow it twice a week during Florida's rainy season (currently).

I was fortunate enough to find someone to mow it one day last weekend, and it was starting to look shoddy since done, too much unlike the way I keep my lawn.

Last evening Sears called and told me that their man would be at my home in the "window" of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Well, that's pretty much a picture window. Most servicemen provide a two-hour window.

Well, he showed up shortly after noon and the post-mortem was performed. It was not good. Seems it needed a new engine. I use the term "new" loosely because the price that he quoted me (after collecting $108 for his service call), was $1300 plus change. And that was for a reconditioned motor, not new!

Before he left, the kind man handed me a card that was good for $90 off the price of a new mower, if purchased within two weeks.

After I was able to pick my jaw up off the floor, I quickly Googled "Sears" in order to review the prices of their new (really, truly new) lawnmowers. Well guess what? They ran $1300 for a new one, the same size and features of my dear departed mower. It included a two-year warranty. Less the $90, that would have been $1410, plus tax (seven percent, mind you, in Charlotte County, FL.) or $1508.70.

So, I contemplated driving 11 miles to Sears and getting a new mower. All this time between funerals and decision-making, my grass continued to grow, at what seemed to me, and unreal rate. Heard the expression "Watching grass grow"? Well, it appeared that I could actually see that happening.

On my way eastward in my covered wagon, I stopped at my local Home Depot, which is only three miles away (Donna Deacon, if you read this, you'll appreciate that, I'm sure … it might help your stock options).

I checked out comparable mowers and I found an Ariens with a wider cut, greater horsepower and all the features that I had on the Sears model (except for the clock/mileage meter) including the coffee cup holder. (Tell me, who drinks coffee while mowing the lawn in 98° temperatures?

With the help of a nice young man and a stunning young female assistant manager, I wheeled and dealed, having the balls to ask if Home Depot would consider the $90-off offer if I bought there. To my surprise, the assistant manager agreed! Not only that, but they offered me a FIVE-YEAR service contract for a total of $1486.16!

So, at least in my mind, I saved having to drive eight miles beyond Home Depot to get to Sears, instead, taking the deal on the spot. (Sears, cry your heart out!)

In addition, I saved a $59.95 delivery charge, slated for Saturday, by renting a Home Depot truck ($19.95 for 45 minutes, with tax at 7%, $21.34 for a total of $1507 plus pennies). The good folks at Home Depot loaded the mower on the truck for me. And, I drove off into the sunset … wait! That's another movie. I drove home, had a friend help me to unload my treasure and I returned the truck to the Home Depot. Score: Home Depot 1, me, 1, Sears 0.

I was surprised when the gal at the refund counter (not the stunning young assistant manager) asked me for a receipt for the gas that I deposited into the truck. The stunning young assistant manager told me specifically that there would be no gas charge since the distance that I had to travel was less than 10 miles.

I sheepishly smiled at her and said, "I was told that there would be no charge for the gas," adding that the dashboard indicator in the truck told me that the truck gets 40.2 miles per gallon. I asked her how I should have (without a calculator) determined how much gas to deposit for a round-trip of six miles.

She had no ready reply and cancelled out the charge for fuel. Score another for me!

All-in-all, I think "I done good" today although I may find myself crying later tonight when it hits me that my net worth dropped $1507.50 PLUS the $1.07 cost of a Blockbuster CD (to help me not cry tonight) plus $6.95 for a Subway tuna sub (foot long) so I wouldn't have to cook after mowing the lawn while trying to beat an approaching tropical storm that dumped a good 2" of rain in the pool (and much needed for the lawn).

Did I get the lawn done before the storm? Yep!

So, folks, how was YOUR day?


RJScott said...
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