Saturday, May 23, 2009

Do the job with the right tools

It is difficult, but not impossible, to pound a nail with a screwdriver. I speak from experience. Unfortunately, many of today's products, including many items found around the average home or apartment, can only be fixed with very specialized tools. Making a part or product dependent on specialized tools accomplishes a number of things for the manufacturer. It provides motivation to have the product repaired only at authorized repair facilities and a makes it possible to charge a much higher price for the repairs made.

Having a special tool for a repair, is not the same as manufacturers tying in their consumables to the original manufacturer. For example, if you buy a new car, the manufacturer will specify that a certain brand of oil filter, air filter or other consumable be used exclusively. Not that the manufacturer's brand is superior to third party products (they usually are rather average) but that the manufacturer can get a higher margin of profit off of each item or vehicle.

The number of specialized tools is endless, all you have to do is watch the New Yankee Workshop and count the number of tools used by Norm Abram. But are all of those tools really necessary? Some yes, some no. If you are producing a TV show to sell tools they are, if you are actually trying to build something, you can do without most of them.

In trying to fix a faucet a while ago, my son-in-law decided to help me. Thankfully. He immediately got in his car and drove to Home Depot and purchased the replacement cartridge and the special tool to replace the cartridge. With the special tool, the job took five minutes. Without the tool, it would have never happened. Now what do I do with the tool? Guess what? I have another faucet to repair and now all I have to do is buy a new faucet. I already have the tool.

Eventually, or maybe even at the beginning of life, you end up prizing room more that having the right tool. Unfortunately, at those times of life, is when you most need to save money and when having the tools would be the most useful. When you have enough money to pay for someone else to do the repairs, you have too much money.

1 comment:

the guitarist from hell said...

I hope you paid him back!!