Sunday, April 17, 2011

I assemble the New Grill... in 17 so called easy steps

     On a recent Sunday afternoon Mrs C and I went Grill shopping, The grill on our deck is one we purchased the summer we married in 1996. Trying to light it involved holding a flame close to the propane tank, and I decided it was time for it to go to a better the junk yard.

   We had been looking around the last few months, getting prices and surveying the selections at local stores, so off we went. The first stop was Lowe's. Nice selection, but nothing really spoke to us. Then we went to Home Depot. The selection there was pretty diverse, but the ones we liked cost more than we wanted to spend. Eventually we ended up at the Sears Hardware Store in the Trexlertown Shopping Center near our home.
    There wasn't as much of a selection, but there was a Kenmore brand grill there that met all our requirements. So we took one home.(After paying, of course!)

   I get the box in the garage, and I clear an area to work in. The first thing I do after opening the box is read the directions.
   Now if they are correct, all I need to assemble the grill is one phillips head screwdriver (supplied) and to follow the 17 easy steps.
   Oh, if it were only that easy.

   Why is it that they (manufacturers) provide multiple pictures and diagrams for the blatantly obvious steps, but for the more complex ones, such as use 4 D Screws to attach the side mounting plates. they don't supply any pictures, not even a few words of encouragement.
   Those plates are odd shaped with multiple choices for how to be mounted. I ended up getting in the car, driving over to the store, and looking at how the model we viewed was put together. Something I should have done in the first place.
    But the good news is that the grill is all together and ready to go. I felt pretty good about getting it together in under two hours. And that was with the two spaniels bouncing around in the garage helping me sporadically.
    That turned the 17 easy steps into more like 34, because it is difficult to assemble anything with two dogs begging for attention and wanting to play. Even if they are old dogs, it's hard to ignore them.

   So the grill is done, and I'm sure the dogs will be waiting at the foot of it for that first wayward piece of meat.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

A visit to the OVERpriced Going out of business for last 6 months furniture store on MacArthur road.

   Sunday afternoons are a time for spouses to do things together. (At least when the NFL isn't on TV.) So today Mrs Casey and I were out shopping for a new grill for our deck. The grill we have, we purchased from Sears way back in 1996, the year we were married. So it has a bit of wear and tear, the burners don't work quite right, and igniting it last year involved holding a flame near a propane tank. (HINT: That's not SAFE!)

   It was time for a new one. We did buy one today, but in between stops at Lowe's and Home Depot to check selection and pricing, I made a stop at a store that has been going out of business since last September. "Everything must go! All Sales are final!" Those ridiculous posters were everywhere. Three weeks ago we stopped in, and we inquired about a big plush chair that Mrs C liked. The chair had a price tag of $549, and a big red tag of $369. Then the salesman said there was further discounting, and told us he could sell us the chair for $269.

     Mrs C and I are very discerning shoppers. She lets me do all the negotiating, because I don't put up with Bull. I told the guy he was dreaming, and we left. But we made a note of the offer and decided to come back in a few weeks to see if there were steeper discounts.

   So we ended up there today. As we entered, we were attacked by a locust swarm of salespeople, who I brusquely ignored, while Mrs C told them we knew what we were looking for.
    We go right to where the chair is, and guess what? THE PRICE WENT UP! Now it is $649, and the discount price is $399!
    And this time a saleslady came over and told us it was marked down to $294!

    When my wife remarked that it was cheaper on the last visit, the smart ass saleslady cracked, "Well you should have bought it then."

   These people aren't even trying to hide how dishonest they are. I am sure people go in there and see stickers seeing something priced at $3000 marked down to $1500, then told they can get it for $1200, and think they are getting a deal. But if they shopped around, they would find the stuff marked as $3000 likely is worth $400 in a legitimate store. They had a few quality pieces, but much of it was mass produced junk that wouldn't hold up for more than a couple of years of use.
    I know junk, we purchased a sofa about ten years ago at an outlet and we knew exactly what we were getting for the low  price, It held up okay, considering we had three dogs that thought it a good place to sleep when we weren't looking, but it finally became too ugly to look at. I took an axe to it in the driveway, chopping it into small pieces so it fit into the Township supplied 90 gallon garbage bin.
   I enjoyed doing that.

    I think I would enjoy doing it again to much of the junk being sold at the Overpriced Furniture Store on Macarthur Road behind FedEx Kinkos as well. But we will never know, because money is tight, and we don't buy crap. We look for quality and getting our money's worth.

     By the way, we purchased a new Kenmore grill at Sears. I am going to try and assemble it during the week. That should be a barrel of laughs. And the topic of my next post.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Working in the warehouse world

   I am a professional Logistics person.In my previous job, I managed Warehouse operations at a facility near Philadelphia. In my present job, I oversee a team of employees who unload containers from overseas.. One thing that is really making me wonder is how much stuff we buy each and every day that is from China.
   It has all been hand loaded and when it gets to us, we have to get it unloaded, palletized, and ready for shipment to the retail concern that ordered it.
   You know those Martha furniture collections you see at certain big box stores? Tonight we unloaded three of those, ending up with close to 350 total pallets. All of it made IN CHINA. One of the difficulties of the job is that while the stuff comes in Steel containers, they have cheap plywood floors, and we can't risk taking a forklift in many of them because they will break the floor and get stuck in the container.

  It happens regularly. And some of the containers smell so bad with unidentified chemical fumes that I give the guys surgical masks to help them bear being in the damn things. Sometimes it makes you want to throw up, and some people do. I doubt China has much of an OSHA agency/

   But it is all made in China, and the guys joke that someday all the food will be made in China. As long as they make good Chicken fried rice, I could get by.

   So there's a little bit of trivia for you.

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