No assembly required

Published 4:28 pm Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Beware of big boxes that say, “No Assembly Required.”

When my many-years-old push lawnmower coughed and sputtered and wouldn’t stay running more than ten seconds…it’s hard to cut the grass when you have to crank the lawnmower every ten seconds…when that happened, I decided it was time to buy a new one.

The cheapskate in me led me to visit the Goodwill store, Salvation Army, and any small engine repair business. I asked, “Has anyone left an old lawnmower?” I even traveled all the way to Pelham where I knew a lawnmower repair shop that was two generations old.

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The answer was the same at all those places. “We just had one last week.” That’s the story of my life. A day late and a dollar short.

I decided to bite the bullet and went to a few big box stores. The last lawnmower I bought was the cheapest one I could find. Did I mention I have this “cheapskate” streak?

This time would be different. I did not want the cheapest I could find. That was less than $200. I felt like splurging so I opted for the model right above the cheapest. It cost a whopping $218. What attracted me most was the little phrase on the big box “No assembly required.”

I should have been suspect. The box wasn’t big enough for a lawnmower that required no assembly unless it was folded up like a piece of paper. Or, once the box was opened and the mower was removed, I was supposed to sprinkle some water on it and it suddenly would expand. I bought it, anyway, and put it in the back of my daddy’s truck.

I got home and I felt like I would need to get out my tool box and do “something” to it. My tool box is actually a plastic, gallon Ziploc bag with a pair of pliers and a 9/16 wrench in it. Oh, and a Phillips head screwdriver. If I had to do anything that called for another tool, I would have to go to Dollar General and get it.

I opened the box and there was my “No Assembly Required,” red Troy-Bilt push lawnmower. Sure enough, the motor was on the red body. The body already had the wheels on it and the handle was attached. All I had to do was take it out of the box and adjust the handle.

Aha! I did have to do something! I had to adjust the handle. It was set for a 5 foot person and I’m a little taller. I found the owner’s manual and my brain began to turn to mush. (That didn’t take too long.) Nothing turns my brain to mush faster than an owner’s manual. Who writes these things?

To tell the truth I hardly ever read the owner’s manual. Why would I want to do anything right? After all, I’m a man. I don’t ask for directions and I don’t read owner’s manuals. If I can’t figure out how to adjust the handle, I’ll just bend over and push the mower around like I was 5 feet tall.

There was also a little pouch of engine oil to put in the mower. The manual for the mower, itself, was different from the manual for the Briggs-Stratton engine. One manual said “Refer to the other manual” for where to put the oil.

I know where to put the oil; I just didn’t fall off the turnip truck! All that was left was to get some gasoline, but make sure to get the good kind.

Imagine how proud I was of myself when my “No Assembly Required” cranked on the first pull! Thank the Lord, I didn’t have to use those bad words I have almost forgotten.