Saturday, October 2, 2010
This is the first time I've actually decided to shop online for something major like a snow blower. In fact, this is the first time I have purchased a snow blower in 25 years. The little Toro snow blower has done well but despite one attempted repair for the "slider" at the bottom of the blower, it's pretty much disabled.
So a snow blower I need.
Usually, as a man, I love to walk around Lowes, Home Depot, Menards, Sears and Ace Hardware just looking. Browsing through the screws ad nuts section is a blast. I love looking at tools. And I especially like the garden sections. It's a toy store for men. I don't have to buy anything but I always find something I need for the house.
Last week, I found water proof sealant for the concrete driveway to help keep the water from seeping in to the cement, freezing and cracking it more than it is. (You have to do it every Fall to make it effective but three drums of sealant cost over $200. Not everyone, especially in the economy the past decade could spend $200 on concrete sealant when they are struggling to pay for food or outrageous state taxes, local property taxes and extreme utility fees.) Not all the stores had the sealant. And the prices varied significantly. It was cheaper at Lowes than it was at Home Depot.
But this time, I figured we're talking about a very expensive item. A decent snow blower costs about $499. 208 cc. Hand starter -- the idea of an electric starter sounds good but it's not always convenient when you are stepping through two feet of very cold snow. Fuel of mixed gasoline and oil is horrible. I never get the mix right. I just want a straight gas engine.
So I checked online to see which store had the best.
I went to each web site. Sears.com. Menards.com. Lowes.com. Acehardware.com. HomeDepot.com.
Each one offered a place to type in to search for what you want. They all worked, except Menards. I typed in snow blower and got flowers and junk. It doesn't work very well.
They claim you Save more money at Menards. But you don't save time when you can't find anything on their web site.
Sears is old faithful. But they were higher priced. Home Depot offered a snow blower for $499 that was 208 cc while Sears offered almost the same one but 179 cc for the same price.
Chicago winters are terrible, especially in the suburbs where there often are fewer trees to prevent the snow from blowing around. The villages often do a poor job of clearing the streets and when they do, its usually while you are at work and when you come home there is a wall of pushed snow blocking your driveways. (If they did it overnight, when I get up to snow plow the driveway, I can clear the end of the driveway and it's great.)
Lowes offered a good web site but they had so little options in stock.
So, it is off to Home Depot.
Of course, now I have to make sure they have it. Maybe I'll go to Will County instead of the one near my house. Why should I pay that high sales tax that outgoing County Board President Todd Stroger shoved down our throats so he could have a good balanced budget to help him in the election. He did have a great budget, but the sales tax killed his political future. Good riddance to politicians who always rely on taxation rather than on good leadership to deal with their problems.
-- Ray Hanania