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4.09.2012

DOLLARS AND SENSE

I have been bombarded as of late with the cost of repairing or maintaining things in our possession.  Something is most definitively out of whack economically any more!  I went to pick up my lawn mower, a toro top of the line walk behind mulcher which is about one year old.  Since I was contacted by Toro that there was some warranty work (bolts on transmission needed to be changed out), I took it back to the dealer where I purchased it.  I transported it to them, so there was no pick up or delivery fee.  I also had a free blade sharpening coupon from the initial purchase that I used as well.  While there for the warranty work I had them ready it for mowing season.  You know, change the oil and filters, a new spark plug.  Basic stuff.  Today I picked it up.  $72.00 dollars!!!!  $60 in labor and $12 in parts.  Not being able to contain my disgust at such a ridiculous amount I said to the owner who was handling my transaction, "Wow!  Why $72.00?  I delivered it to you.  I picked it up.  I had a coupon for free sharpening.  The warranty work was free.  You changed the oil and two filters and a spark plug.  Those are easy to get to on a mower.  That is MORE than I pay to have my $20,000 vehicle serviced!!!"  I'm not sure he appreciated my doubting the validity of charging that much to service a damn $400 mower.  I have changed my own mower oil in the past, and my dad usually sharpens the blade for me.  Recently I had a leak in a coupling that connects to my water softner.  I called a plumber I had used in the past as Doug and I were headed out of town that day.  Returning home after the weekend away, I was met by a bill for $210.00.  $75 service call and $90 in labor plus a small part.  I did his math.  It did not add up to $210.  I called the plumber and questioned his technicians ability to add a bill and why changing one coupling was that much money.  When he had the bill fixed correctly, I said I would pay it.  Two months went by before I got a corrected bill of $165.00.   Now there are honest errors and then there are ridiculous costs to basic and simple things. $60 an hour for labor is robbery.  Why go to college if you can be a plumber, an electrician or a mower repairman and earn $60 per hour!  I am going to stop writing this blog and become something having to do with skilled manual labor and make $125,000 a year!  We took our middle daughter and her husband out for dinner a few weeks back.  It was a costly night at $170 for the four of us.  Last week I hired someone to grind out a tree stump.  When I called my husband to give him the quote for what it would cost to have it ground out, $170.00, he happily replied, "Well, something is wrong with the world when eating out costs the same as grinding out a huge tree stump!"  Comparatively I think he felt like he got more for his dollars in the tree than a meal that was consumed and instantly gone.  It never stops.  Costs of everything are way out of skew.  When I was a Realtor the real estate market had a much needed correction.  Values cannot increase forever!  Bank lending practices got a slap on the wrist and a bit tighter regulations.  I think retail prices need a bit of curtailing!!  I will go back to changing my own oil in the mower.  And if I don't have to leave for a weekend away, Doug and I will fix the next leak.  We will now eat peanut butter sandwiches for birthday meals or a home cooked meal.  And if I only knew how to dispense my own prescriptions and diagnose myself think of the thousands I could save there as well. 

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