Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

And, The Hits Just Keep On Coming

If something I owned broke, or just stopped working, I would try to fix it.  I would take the repair as far as my skill, and knowledge would allow.  With some broken things that wasn't far, but with many other things I did succeed.

How old the broken something is, is there a newer, better, shinier version available, and cost would be the factors that would preempt any repair attempt.  The challenge of giving the broken thing an extended life was always something worth taking on so that when I had to buy a new own I could justify the purchase, and have no regrets.

Many of us follow these steps to some degree.  We'll wiggle it, shake it, and turn it upside down. Some of us will even go the next step, and take a screw diver to it, open it up and do the wiggle, shake, turn maneuver all over again.  We do it not so much to save a buck, but to satisfy the driving force to accept the challenge to fix it that the thing has offered up.  Half of our brains hope for a quick, and easy fix, and the other half are hoping for a new, shiny thing.

The other day, after wiggling, and shaking,  I bought the new shiny thing.

Failed lock set.
The lock set on the door leading from the house to the garage failed.  It was only about three ears old. I bought it at Home Depot along with the metal door I attached it to.  One morning before the weekend I saw that the door was closed, but there was light coming from around the lock set side of the door.  On closer inspection I found that the door was not closed all the way.  I opened the door, and rotated the knob, and found it would only turn one way.  I made sure it was unlocked, tried again, and got the same result.  Now, this lock set was one of those sets that also comes with a deadbolt.  It wasn't cheap, and that would be my motivation to take the thing off the door, and tear into it.

Challenge accepted.

I grabbed a Phillips head, and went at it.  Soon I had the knob off, and in my hand.  I wiggled it, followed by the required shake, and then examined it from every angle as I wiggled and shook.


The knob continued to turn only one way, but not the other way so it would not allow the door to be closed unless the knob was turned.  Without any further wigglin',  I was off to Home Depot. It was time for a shiny new knob.

Home Depot's lock set aisle is impressive.  Large displays up one side of an entire aisle of lock sets with, and without deadbolts, brass, or nickel finished, antiqued rubbed bronze, or brushed metal finishes, key operated, or combination lock.  I narrowed my search to a combination pack of knob, and lock set, and I found the price was a bit more than it was three years ago.  Maybe a new part would help.  One company did sell a replacement inside piece, but my lock was a Schlage, and the store no longer carried those replacement parts because they were seldom sold.

Well, duh.  They are replacement parts.  If you sold a lot of them it would not speak well for the product,  but it you did need a replacement, you would need it then, not in three to five business day from an online site.

I was directed to a lady at the end of the aisle.  The Home Depot employee that directed me said she knew everything about lock sets.  And she did.  I told her my problem, and she asked what company the lock was from, and I told her it was a Schlage.  She said to call them, and they will replace the lock set for free.  They warranty their products for life.

Free?  Really?  Well, that sure as heck beats a shake and a wiggle hands down.

The new lever lock set.
I bought the set I wanted.  The only difference was that I bought one with a handle, not a knob.  It would be easier to open coming in from the garage with hands full of groceries, and such.

When I got home, I called Schlage, and was greeted by a lady named Judy, and I explained my situation.  She said she would be happy to help, and asked for the numbers on the replacement set I had just purchased, and for me to email her a copy of my receipt.  She then told me my refund for the newly purchased lock set would be sent out in two weeks.

Really?  She told me that Schlage stands behind their products, and they are guaranteed for life.  I asked if she wanted me to send her the old set, and she said no.  I then told her the new lock set had a lever, and was not the knob type that it replaced.  She agreed that a lever was the best thing to have on that door since it would make life easier with hands full of groceries. No, she said, it didn't matter that it was a lever.

In the span of a couple of months, I had been visited twice by the Consumer Good Fairy.  First the powered bathroom shade was replaced for bupkis, and now a $70.00 lock set was being replaced as well, and all for the price of a phone call.

So much for planned obsolescence.  Today corporations find it better business to build a product that will either last, or take on a policy of replacing a defective item with no questions asked.  For the consumer, this means a great deal.  Loyalty is insured, and that spawns more positive word of mouth reviews, and more business.  It works - I'm doing it now.

The lesson in all of this is if you have a product that has failed, and you fully expected it to last a lot longer, then give the company a call, and speak to customer service.  You may be in for a pleasant surprise.

Now, for a bit more positive consumer news.  I want to report that the new razors from I wrote about back on April 30 are great.  That first razor I loaded onto the handle two weeks ago is still there, and shaving very well.  Let's see just how far it will take me.

In the meantime, the hits just keep on coming.

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