Saturday, July 16, 2005

Buyer Beware

Buyer Beware
Originally uploaded by cafn8.
I went to a tool sale today. I figured it couldn't hurt to look around. After all, it was held a walking distance from my house, so anything I bought would have to be carried back over the hill. I can't say I was really expecting much in terms of quality, but I figured that some issues might be OK if the price was right.

So I walked over. I have to say that their method of selling this stuff should a enough to make anyone apprehensive. Here's how it works. First, you grab a pen and clipboard as you walk in. One example of each tool is laid out on several rows of tables, each with an identifying number. I might mention that there's no guarantee that the display tools are of typical quality. When you see a tool you want to buy, you write its number and description on your clipboard. When you are done shopping, you pay, then go outside to where a semi is parked. There you hand the attendant your receipt, he finds your tools in the truck and brings them to you. It's a rather risky system for buying refurbished tools if I do say so. It also has a very shady feel to it. Rightfully so, though. This literally IS a fly by night operation.

So, did I buy anything? Well actually yes. I did. I decided to shy away from anything expensive. Shopping there was a gamble and I decided not to gamble anything I wasn't prepared to lose.

So here's what I bought:

A dial caliper for $20- quality seems decent, if not high.

A 24" bolt cutter for $10- It took significant force just to move the handles open and closed when it was new. I had to spend 20 minutes filing powder coat off mating surfaces, loosening tight joints, and lubing each joint with clean grease. Now it's like butta. I can't say if that was a good deal. I guess I can look at as a kit to make a tool.

A voltage tester for $4- the kind that senses AC voltage when when placed near a wire. Haven't tried it yet.

A laser pointer for $1- You know, for cats.

I guess it was an OK trip.


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