Put-It-Together-Yourself America

Laugh Tracks in the Dust

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I fondly remember the days of yesteryear when I could go to a store and buy what I wanted from the in-store inventory. Usually, I could pick up the item I bought, put it in my vehicle, and take it directly home. If it wuz a big enuf item, the company would happily deliver the item, most often for free.

Those days are extinct as the passenger pigeon and T-Rex. They’ve been replaced by “Put-It-Together-Yourself America.” Today, if you buy an item more complicated than a marble and with at least two pieces, you’d better be prepared to get out the ol’ tool box and put the item together yourself.

Or, if you find an item you like in a store, chances are good you won’t be able to buy it from the showroom, but will have to wait for it to be ordered and delivered at a later date — and then assembled by you.

I’m learning America’s new economic axiom in spades these days after moving into our new home. And, to make matters worse, I have mentioned before in my columns that I suffer from MDS of the brain. That stands for “Mechanical Deficiency Syndrome.” I can’t pick up a nut or screw without dropping it. I can’t change oil without spilling it. I have to tell myself — “Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty” whenever it pick up a wrench to use.

We didn’t move our ancient entertainment center to our new home, opting to buy a new one. We couldn’t find one we liked locally, so we found one we liked on the internet and had it delivered. Naturally, it came in pieces and wuz too complicated for me to put together, so our son-in-law and daughter assembled the entertainment center in their workshop and delivered it to us ready to use.

Since moving in, Nevah and I sold our dining room table because it wuz too big and didn’t fit the new decor. We didn’t sell the four dining room chairs as we liked the old ones and they are on rollers. So, after the Facebook buyer left with our old table, we went table shopping.

After visiting the showrooms of two large, local furniture stores, we found one dining room table at each that we liked. But, we didn’t want to buy the chairs that were package-priced with the tables. The cost wuz more than double with the chairs.

So, we offered each store to buy its table without the chairs. Both places refused our offer to buy just the table on the grounds that it was difficult for them to sell dining room chairs separately. But, they offered to order just the table for us and that we could expect delivery sometime in January or later.

That clearly didn’t work for “table-less us,” so Nevah went online and found an identical table in a warehouse somewhere in upstate New York. The price, even with more than 1,000 miles of delivery costs, wuz less than buying locally. The table is to be delivered within a week, but with the alert that “some assembly is required.” What’s new?

So, bottom line is that the local furniture stores missed out on selling us a new dining room table, when they could have sold us the one on the showroom floor and ordered a replacement showroom table from New York for less money and got it in a week. Go figure.

It was the same story for the shelving I bought locally for our garage storage. Nuthin’ from the showroom floor. Nope. Five boxes of shelving that required us to put-it-together.

I guess the good thing about the new economic axiom is that it’s enhancing family togetherness.

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I’ve been quick to criticize local furniture store business policy, so I am pleased to report that there are exceptions to the new economic rules. Nevah sold our two old recliner chairs, sofa and loveseat over the weekend via a local internet “for sale” service. So, again we went shopping locally for new stuff to replace the old.

We found what we wanted at the Furniture Warehouse in Manhattan and the owner wuz glad to sell out of his current inventory, and deliver and set up the furniture for a very modest fee. The new sofa and loveseat were delivered just yesterday, so we had to “suffer” without recliners for only two evenings.

And, a funny thing happened at the Furniture Warehouse. I wuz wearing a FARM TALK cap and the owner volunteered that years ago he hired an awesome sales gal who eventually went to work for FARM TALK after graduation. The sales gal lived on a farm near Nevada, Mo., but wuz attending Kansas State University. She worked for FARM TALK for 10 years and, I wuz told, still lives in Nevada, but works for an equipment company in Ft. Scott, Kan. It’s a small world indeed.

***

A farmer and his wife got into a raging argument over family finances. The wife declared angrily, “I think I’ll join the women’s lib movement and demand that a husband pay his wife for doing housework.”

Her hubby retorted hotly, “Well, you just do that, gal. Sounds like a bargain to me. I’ll pay you $50 a day, but I only need you to come in and do all the housework on Tuesdays.”

I’d bet he’s doing his own housework these days — for nuthin’.

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Mother Natures skipped Indian Summer this week and went directly to winter from summer. It wuz 80 one day and 18 degrees a day later. That rapid change sparked my words of wisdom for the week: “Winter is the season when we try to keep the house as hot as it was in the summer, when we complained about the heat.”

Have a good ‘un.

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