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I Hate Trying to Fix Things

By JLP | June 2, 2008

The other day I changed the spark plug in my nearly-nine-year old Craftsman Trimmer. After I got the plug changed, I pushed on the little primer bulb and all I heard was the sound of air. I reached down to touch the fuel line and it disintegrated in my hand.

I said to myself, “Dangit!”

So, I found my owner’s manual, which I keep in handy a filing cabinet. I found the page with the parts listing and then went on Sears.com to place my order. Since the trimmer was nearly nine years old I decided to go ahead and order all new fuel lines: primer and hose, fuel return line, and the fuel line assembly. Well, only the primer and hose and the fuel assembly line were in the box when it arrived on Friday. The fuel return line was on backorder.

I decided to go ahead and do what I could. I took the trimmer apart and was happy to find that the fuel line assembly was fine and didn’t need to be changed out. BUT,… the fuel return line (which was on backorder) did need to be replaced. All the lines were the same size so I decided to cut the fuel assembly line and use it in place of the fuel return line. Everything was going just fine until I tried to attach the return line to the carburetor. The area where the line was to be attached was too small for my fingers. So, I decided to take the carburetor off in order to get better access. When I did that, the fuel assembly line broke!!!!!!!

DANG IT!

The brand new part that I just tore up because I didn’t need it! LOL!

Now I have to buy another fuel assembly line, which will cost another $10 – $20 (I’m not exactly sure how much). This will bring my total cost of fixing up this trimmer to $60. Meanwhile, my grass was growing out of control since the trimmer had been out of commission for two weeks. Not wanting to wait another week, I decided to go ahead and buy a new trimmer and give the old one (after it’s fixed up) to my son since he wants to start doing yard work for our neighbors. It works out nicely: I get a new trimmer and my son gets a free one to help start his business.

But,…

I STILL hate trying to fix things.

Topics: Miscellaneous | 7 Comments »


7 Responses to “I Hate Trying to Fix Things”

  1. douglas Says:
    June 2nd, 2008 at 8:10 am

    Join the Club of Fixing Haters!

    I’m always looking for the most efficient way to get things done. And I understand that fixing something myself will tend to be cheaper than buying new (most times), or getting somebody esle to do it. My problem is, I don’t know how to fix anything. I’ve tried it and in a few occasions I’ve succeeded. But still most of the times I finish spending more (my try plus the buy or fix by sb else). So now, I research, and only try to fix myself if there is a high chance of success.
    It might not be the most frugal thing, but it seems to be the one that works the best for me.

  2. Philip Says:
    June 2nd, 2008 at 8:17 am

    Sounds like a good economics story on sunken costs. At what point do you need to just drop that trimmer completely and not try to revive it anymore even if you have so much into it.

  3. Don Says:
    June 2nd, 2008 at 10:05 am

    @Philip: of course the point to stop is before the $60 was spent on the replacement lines. The problem is with predicting. Assuming that JLP’s experience to this point has not changed her predictions of the future (i.e. she really is accurately predicting that $20 fixes it), then how much is already sunk in the project is irrelevant.

    It’s like worrying about how much money you have contributed to a poker pot. Once the money has been spent, it is “out there” and you have no claim. You can’t let it affect your play; you have to look at the size of the pot, the bet, and your confidence in winning the hand. I.e. you do the same analysis that you did on the earlier rounds of betting.

    Now douglas has a positive take. From past experience he has learned to make better predictions.

  4. JLP Says:
    June 2nd, 2008 at 10:28 am

    Don,

    I’m a he, not a she.

    Douglas,

    I probably should have taken it into a lawnmower repair place and had them do the work.

    I also have a problem just throwing something away that still works.

  5. KC Says:
    June 2nd, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    My husband can’t fix anything. I, however, am remotely handy, and have a father who can fix most anything, so I’ll at least look at something before I toss it. But I think the most important thing when trying to fix something is knowing your limitations. I doubt I would have tried to fix the string trimmer – they are pretty cheap to replace. But had it been a more expensive item I might have taken it in for repairs.

    I did tackle some fence work last summer that I’m still proud of. Just a few fallen boards and missing pieces of lattice. It took me forever to fix it (cause of a lack of skills), but even if the fence lasts a year or more (which it has) that’s delaying the cost of a new fence.

  6. Phyllis Says:
    June 2nd, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    At that point when the thing falls apart is when my husband runs to me to say: can you fix this, I broke it trying to repair it. Not a mister handyman! But I am a handwoman. However,I look at items first to see how much will it cost to fix for supplies, how much time, and how old is it. Then I go online to check out prices for new. I found that often items things like trimmers, etc. are cheaper to just replace, as parts can be hard to find, and the new ones have better advancements. However, you had a use for your old one, for your son. Sometimes I just like the challenge of tinkering and if it is something I really like I enjoy the learning process. However,we both work long hrs. so our time is limited. I hate to admit it but sometimes just pitching the old and buying new is advantageous. I often set my old things out by our trash and the scavengers pick things up for repair and resell.

  7. Foobarista Says:
    June 2nd, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    I’ll confess to laziness; I just hire a yard service to come every other week and be done with it. We get at least an extra half-day per weekend to do stuff we actually like doing, and I don’t need to store and maintain thousands of dollars worth of yard tools.

    And I also come from a house where my wife is the “handyperson” – she will let me fiddle with something until it looks like I’m ready to smash it against the wall, and she’ll grab it and have it fixed a couple minutes later…

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