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Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Step Up the Ladder of Home Improvement Expenses

As fall was coming on, I visited Home Depot one day with a long list of things to buy. On that list was a step ladder. My dad had recently studied my trees with me and given some pruning advice. The trees were now tall enough that I could not prune them standing on a chair. I would need a ladder.

So off I went to Home Depot to get a step ladder. Standing in the ladder aisle, I called my dad for advice. What kind of ladder do I need? Aluminum or fiberglass? How tall do I need it? 6 feet or 8? And should ladders really cost that much? A 6-foot aluminum ladder (which is what my dad recommended) cost $39. That just didn't seem right to me. Realizing I didn't need a ladder just yet--pruning season isn't until late winter/early spring, I decided to postpone the ladder purchase and watch for a sale.

So the months have passed and I've occasionally checked for sales and have looked at other stores. No better deals were forthcoming. So today, now that pruning season is upon us, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and pay $40 for a ladder. So off I went to Home Depot again.

From the garden tools aisle, I called my dad for advice on a long-handled pruner. (I went for the bypass lopper; that's what Dad has.) "Where are you buying a pruner?" my dad asked?

"Home Depot," I replied.

"I'm on my way there right now," he said. "I'll be there in about five minutes."

I mentioned that I was going to get a ladder next and he said he'd meet me in the ladder aisle. We'd have some good male bonding at Home Depot.

Five minutes later, we were standing in front of the ladders studying the aluminum 6-foot ladder I had unfolded in the aisle. It looked decent enough. Had a nice fold-out platform for holding tools or paint buckets. It could support 250 pounds.

"Don't you already have a ladder?" My dad asked. I explained that when I talked to him a few months ago I had decided not to buy the ladder after all, hoping to find a sale on ladders before I needed one. We looked at the price tag: $49. Ouch. My effort to save money had actually cost $10 (decided it wasn't worth waiting longer).

But then came the kicker: "After I talked to you last time," Dad said, "I decided I needed a new stepladder, so I came down and bought one right here... for $39."


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