Saturday, February 18, 2017

The adventures of the millionaire mower

Usually myself and mowers don't go well - I either spend too much on a mower that doesn't do much at all or spend too much time trying to coax life back into free mowers who would much rather be left for dead.

Until this week when I managed to snap up a decent 4 stroke for a bargain price of $50. From a couple who I suspect are actually multi millionaires..

Back in Bendigo, I had this beast - which would die all the time and I would constantly find inventive ways to bring it back to life when the grass got too long and desperately needed cutting back:

Now with the rental I'm in currently there are two choices when it comes to the lawn care:

1. Hire someone every few weeks to do all the grunt work and pay them accordingly.

2. Roll up the sleeves, tackle the job myself, moan a lot about the stupid sloped patch at the front and eventually walk into the house covered in lawn clippings, happy that I did all the work myself.

It was a no brainer really. All I had to do was to find a mower that wasn't going to spontaneously combust when I pulled the cord. I tried my favourite haunt for random bargains Gumtree, no dice there (or mowers in my price range of: not much.) Likewise Facebook didn't come up with any grass chewing bargain solutions - which left eBay. And after a quick search of mowers both within my price and driving range, it came down to the one - a four stroke mower from a brand I'd never heard of that was priced at $50 with only a couple of hours to go - so I matched that bid and drove off to work.

A couple of hours later and eBay triumphantly announced me as the winning (only) bidder. So I shot off a quick message to the seller explaining my work hours and would it be possible to pick it up after my radio shift ended at 9pm? They replied 'no problem', shot me the address and I sat back very happy that I had found my new bargain mower.

It wasn't until my shift was over that I actually googled where this address actually was and lo and behold my new mower was currently residing at Paradise Point on the Gold Coast. Which for the uninitiated including myself, is a VERY well off area of the Gold Coast. I mean look at this place - it only had one road to cross over to the northern most part where I was headed.

And look at the mower I was planning to buy - it doesn't actually scream 'tool of the rich and famous' does it?

And so 20 minutes later as I was driving over that one road to get to the top most section I was really thinking the seller got the address here wrong. At the end of the bridge road there was a security shack that was helpfully unmanned at that hour as I really didn't want to try and explain that I was there late at night to pick up a mower worth only $50.

One block later and I starting to think I was really not in the right place as I was surrounded by mansions. And when I pulled up the number they'd given me I thought someone was playing one hell of a trick on me as I'd parked in front of a mansion with not one, but two double garages. You know someone is really building up a nice collection of automobiles when they need at least 4 car spots to start with. The mansion came with ferns, palms, roman columns and sandstone brick, a big security gate that lead to the foyer and from what I could see through the window, a lovely big chandelier lighting it all.
Surely this would be the furthest place from where I should be - usually my eBay and Gumtree pick ups take me to places completely opposite from where I found myself now.

But I decided to try anyway, pressed the doorbell button and....nothing.
I could hear the TV going, nobody came to the door. So I gave it a couple of minutes and pressed it again.
Nothing. TV noise, no sign of life.
I was just about to jump back into the Warwagon when I discovered a completely different intercom/doorbell button and figuring 'what's the worst that could happen?' pressed that instead.

That's when I heard voices - yes! Signs of life!

However they weren't happy voices as someone was wondering out loud who was ringing their door bell at this time of night and who was going to go to the door to find out. Then someone suddenly mentioned the word 'mower' and the garage on my right suddenly opened. The seller - a lovely middle aged woman - came out and apologised that she had fallen asleep and didn't hear the first doorbell. Her husband arrived just behind her and happy to see that I wasn't here to steal away his luxury bright yellow Mercedes next to the racing motorcycle (boy did it look amazing though) and helped pulled the mower out. He explained that since they had replaced the real grass with the fake stuff the mower wasn't needed and their handyman had given it the once over and reported it in working order.

'Now I'll just get my husband to gave you a run down on how it works' Ahh bless. It was nice of her to offer but I explained that I was getting the hang of many mowers and it wouldn't take me long to get the hang of this one. 'Oh I just want to make sure that you're happy and that you write some good feedback.' At 9:20pm though it probably wasn't the best time to give it a road test in a super rich neighbourhood and I took it at face value that everything worked and handed over my 50 bucks.

It wasn't until the next morning in daylight that I got to see the full extent of my mower score:

Hmm, not bad. If it worked then it was a nifty fifty well spent.

I spent 5 minutes going over the basics - checking out the condition of the plug and ensuring it sparked, making sure the fuel line was open (this mower doesn't come with a close option) and checking the blades were bolted in firmly and not likely to spin off and accidentally shave the dog. After quite a few primes and pull starts I deduced that the remaining petrol in the take would have been well past it's use by date and I should mix some new stuff in. So I filled it back up, let it rip and it fired right up! Did I mention the bargain of 2017? I'm calling it now.

$50 SuperSwift Mower - the good, the bad, the ugly

The good: 

It cost $50.
3.5 HP Briggs and Stratton motor
Australian made.
The choice of millionaires. 

The bad:

No easy way to get stale fuel out without a pump
The only way to turn it off it to pull the spark plug cord off
The long bolt that holds the air filter down seems to have rounded out what it normally goes into. So the air is just sitting there and will fly off with the nearest bump or slope. 

The ugly:

The bit of black cord you have to use to keep the catcher in place to actually catch things
The only way you know the catcher is full is when it leaves a lot of grass everywhere outside of the catcher. 
It works so well, I now need a whipper snipper to do the edges. 

Of course many people would probably ask the obvious question 'If they were millionaires, why were they selling their old mower when they could just give it away or throw it out and easily afford a newer one?' 
Well as my mate Chris best put it: 'They made 50 bucks off you for something they no longer needed nor had a use for. Now you know how they stay being millionaires...'


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