Wednesday 17 July 2013

Disposable Society

Louise bought me a battery powered drill an number of years ago from Sears. Now, although I am all in favour of people buying me things, when I opened the gift I was kind of disappointed. I had heard about these fancy new battery powered tools, but what I had heard didn’t impress me that much.

From what I had read, the tools didn’t have the power that the corded variety had and just when you needed them to perform, the battery would run out and need to be charged. The way I looked at it, was that if you needed a plug in for the charger, why not just use the corded tool in the first place. They were some what awkward to use because the battery made them bottom heavy and to me they just looked clunky. Nope, this is just a passing fad like cell phones and digital cameras, and anyone that works with tool on a regular basis will stick to corded tools.

Well, shit! Fast forward about twenty years and you are hard pressed to find decent corded tools. Everyone from the home handyman to the serious professional will use battery powered tools almost exclusively. A year or so ago, I was on a construction site and the guys there all had battery tools and several chargers for the tools. I’ve even come over to just how convenient it is not wrestle with cords every time you need to go around something. Of course the manufactures have improved the performance of the tools so that they rival or surpass the corded tools. The batteries are more powerful and hold their charge much longer.

I was helping my son with a project last week and he had two cordless drills and I brought my thirty year old corded drill to do one particular job. All three drills performed much the same, but with two of them there was no need to wrestle the cord around the project. It took twenty years, but I am finally convinced that there is a place for cordless tools. I still prefer to use the corded tools, but that’s more my being a grumpy old prick that doesn’t like change. I still don’t think cordless saws are a good idea, but that’s because when you are working with a saw it’s a good idea to be paying attention to all aspects of the job. A cordless saw just gives you too much freedom of movement.
 12V Lithium Drill
A couple of days ago, there was a cordless drill/driver on sale at Princess Auto for $25. The cordless drill that Louise bought all of those years ago is almost done for. One of the batteries won’t hold a charge anymore at all, and the other one needs to be charged just before the job. I figured that I couldn’t lose for $25 and if I didn’t like it after a while, Princess Auto has a generous return policy. I brought it home, used it for a project and I have no complaints about its performance. I was actually hoping it would work well, I hate to return things. I was so pleased in fact, that I just called my buddy and told him that he should go and pick one up before they sell out.

I even checked out the cost of getting a replacement battery, with the thought that it would be nice to have a charged spare for those times when I am working hours at a time without a break. Surprisingly, it would cost $48 to buy a spare battery. Now, I was never good at math, but if the drill cost $25 then the battery by itself should be just a fraction of the cost. I guess it is just a fraction, eight quarters.
It’s shit like this that pushes your face in the fact that we are indeed living in a disposable society. I can remember a time when you could take a tool in and have it repaired, good as new. In the good old days, if your TV went out, you called a TV Repairman and he would come to the house, test the tubes and by the time he left you were a few dollars poorer, but the kids were watching the Lone Ranger.The last time I took something in for repair, I was told that they could repair it but by the time you figure in the shop cost and the hourly wage, you could buy a new one cheaper. That was a freakin’ computer!

Maybe I should go and buy another drill, it is still cheaper than buying a spare battery and I’ll have a spare…everything.

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