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On Buying a String-trimmer

Yard-work is work-work. Especially when the temperature is so hot that the asphalt is melting. Once per week, I dutifully don my safari hat, sunglasses, and gloves to attack the lawn. We have had a lot of rain, so even in May, the lawn was as thick as it is now in August.

Over the years, I have accumulated a jumble of lawn equipment suitable for the Smithsonian. My leaf-blower has been around since the Milli Vanilli lip-syncing scandal of the early 90’s. I expect it to blow away any day. My lawnmower is newer, so that should be fine. But my string-trimmer started acting up in June. I took it in for repairs, and most shop-owners just stared at it and said “it will be cheaper to just go buy a new one.”

It finally quit one hot day, half-way through the weekly ordeal. The salesman at the big-box store explained my options. I had to choose from gas, corded, rechargeable, curved-shaft, straight-shaft, split-shafted, or stand-alone? He talked me into a straight-shaft, split-shafted gas model.

The second day of use, it stopped. I re-read the instructions, but it still only worked intermittently. Then, the string stopped advancing. For the second time, I took it apart. I sought advice on the website. Finally, after several days of research, sweat, and righteous indignation, I took it back to the store.

But, before I left home, I called the store to be sure I brought whatever they needed to accept the return. The man was nice, helpful, even jovial. It almost sounded like fun. I got in the “Return” line and waited my turn. When I told the customer service representative that I had a trimmer to return, immediately she asked, “Does it have any gas in it?” Obviously, they would not take it until it was bone dry. Wonder why jovial-man didn’t mention that?

Less-righteous indignation accompanied me as I returned home. I disposed of the excess gasoline in a proper manner, and then returned to the store. It took about 20 minutes, and I was back in the “Return” line. A supervisor in a yellow high-visibility flame-resistant reflective safety vest, pointed her finger at me, and motioned for me to step out of line, and to meet her at her desk. It was third grade déjà vu all over again. The multiple lanyards around her neck, and the combat badges on her vest, indicated that she was a highly decorated veteran of the demilitarized “Return” line.

She asked if I had emptied the trimmer in the parking lot. When I said no, she said that I had not been gone long enough to go anywhere else. I told her that I went home to do it, so she asked me where I lived. She started calculating the possibilities as I fumed (pardon the pun). As her reflective vest glistened in the bright fluorescent lights, we were at an awkward impasse.

After a lengthy and stressful pause, she pointed for me to get back at the end of the line. She watched me until I left the store. She knew I was guilty, but did not have preponderant evidence. I knew I was innocent, but had no way to prove it.

There were no winners here. She was upset. I was upset. It could not be amicably resolved. Sometimes, life is like that. Two lives bumped together in the “Return” line, and that was that.

It would be good for all of us to consider James 1:19-20 NASB, “This you know, my beloved brethren. But, everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” While neither of us created a scene, I could have handled the situation better. Next time, I will.

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