Green for Yellow

It was about sixteen years ago, when I first laid eyes on the lawn of my new house that I realized the days of the push mower were over, same for self-propelled. It was an acre lot, not all lawn, but enough to make this old man realize that it was too much for my aging body to handle without some form of riding mower.

Being the miserly person I am, I opted for the cheapest one I could find. The Sear’s Craftsman, their introductory model, fit my budget. Whoa! Mowing was almost fun…until the motor blew up. Piston came through the block.

Not known as a fast learner, I bought another Craftsman. It served me well for several years, but then I began to notice more and more smoke from the exhaust. Time for a new one. An uncle once told me that his move to a John Deere lawn tractor was the smartest thing he’d done in a while. John Deere, trustworthy, reliable, a brand you can rely on. Until you can’t.

First year, no problem. Great machine. Second year. Hmm, seems to be losing a little power. Third year, the sorry piece of shit couldn’t even make it up my slope. Go ahead, say it. “How much weight did you gain by year three?” No comment.

Back to the Internet for reviews and specs. I was more than shocked to learn what many folks were saying; John Deere was not the quality machine it used to be. Allegedly, they had cheapened their parts to compete with other brands, mostly at the big box stores. I found another brand that looked promising. It had a 46” cut, twin cylinder engine, and 22 horsepower, way more than enough to haul my fat ass up the hill. It was a Cub Cadet. I hated the name. A cub is what, something small, right, like a little animal? A cadet, in my definition, is one who is learning, not yet having mastered the course. A cadet in a military school for example.

Name bias aside, I went for it. A few days later, a big flatbed with a forklift arrives and unloads the yellow beast. First order of business was to try the hill. Hah! Climbed it with ease. So much power, I could almost burn rubber, pop a wheelie at the least. Mowed once. Mowed twice. But at the end of mow number two, I stopped by the hose for a little rinse off before returning to the garage. Wiped off the seat, climbed aboard…would not start. Had lights, had LED’s on the dash, but wouldn’t fire a lick, not so much as a thunk. WHAT?

I double check the conditions. No water under the hood. Blades disengaged. Brake on. Seat switch activated. Yep. No joy. I call the Cub Cadet service center. I talk to not one, not two, but four service specialists. Many suggestions, no solutions. Call Home Depot for a replacement they say. (Thankfully it was still under the 30-day warranty.” That’s when the fun started.

After listening to a phone menu of at least seventeen options, I get a live one. “Bring it back to the store,” she says.

“But lady, I don’t have a trailer. I had it delivered.”

“You’ll have to talk to the manager.”

The wait music with Home Depot has to be the worst ever; garbled, cracking, skips. It was painful to listen to. Finally:

“Yes Sir, We can swap that out for you. But you’ll have to come down to the store to do the paperwork.”

Aggravating, but not entirely unreasonable I suppose. I make the 15-mile trip. On the way in, I make note that there are three more identical Cub Cadets on display. The service department works me between a couple dozen phone calls. Total time standing at the counter? An hour, minimum. A manager appears to sign off on the transaction. ‘

“Thank you for your patience. I can get your replacement mower to you tomorrow. Will you be home?” Oh, most def. Bring it.

The sun rose on Friday. The sun set on Friday. No mower. I call.

“I’m sorry, Sir. I wasn’t able to get you on the schedule. Monday, for sure.”

The Monday happy hour arrives. No mower. No phone call. I check to see if I still have dial tone. I call the manager.

“We had to go to another store to find your model.”

“But you had three of them on Thursday.”

“Yes, but those were sold. The guys will be there between five and seven.”

The Missus overhears. “Bet you ten bucks, that doesn’t happen.”

“No, no. They’ll be here.”

I lost ten bucks.

At 8:45, I get a call. Can’t find your address. “Where are you?” I ask. He was less than a hundred yards away from my front door.

There were some tense moments as the guys lined up two skinny ramps with the mower wheels and shoved the new machine off the end of their small truck, no forklift this time. That was the easy part. Shoving my inoperative mower up those ramps had both men grunting.

It had been a long and aggravating day. The only good part? My happy hour lasted six hours.




Published in: on June 6, 2017 at 11:17 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Enjoyed this Warren – we have an old Toro and so far no problems. The long happy hour sounds good !

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