Our Mower That Just Won’t Quit

It’s human nature I guess to try and seek out a bargain when you’re making a purchase, especially when it’s something of a more expensive nature, and it’s easy to find yourself gravitating to the bargain model, even though you know it will be inferior to the more expensive models.

A lesson in getting what you pay for.

Whenever that happens I force myself to think of the Toro lawn mower sitting in my garage.

Toro Lawn MowerYou see, when my wife & I moved to our present home some 30 years ago, one of the first things we needed was a decent lawn mower, as the yard was large & we both enjoyed gardening & keeping the lawns looking nice. We live in a small town & we had one old style hardware shop in town, owner operated, old oiled wooden floors, and stacked to the ceiling with everything imaginable. Certainly not one of todays big box chain stores!

Doug was the owner, and I vividly recall him showing me three models of mower when I went to him for advice (try getting that in Costco!!) and his pitch.

  • He pointed me first to a flimsy looking electric model, that was less than a hundred bucks, but I remember him saying “we’ll see you next year when you come back to cuss me for selling it to you”.
  • He then pointed me to a decent looking mid priced model that was affordable for me, & again I recall his words, “this will likely be the last mower I’ll ever sell you, as I plan on retiring in 5 years, and this should last you about long”.
  • Then he showed me this Toro model, and his words were, “if you want to never bother about buying another mower for as long as you’re gardening, then this is the one. It’s bloody expensive, but if you look after it, it could last you a lifetime”.

Expensive! It was $550! Remember, this was in 1982, and $550 was a ton of money for a young family. (It’s easy for me to remember the exact amount from the ass chewing I got from my wife when I turned up at home with it!)

Still going strong

However, I did what Doug advised, and looked after it. Simple stuff like hosing it down after use, changing the oil each spring, cleaning the air filter, keeping the blade sharp, making sure it hit no rocks etc., and a tuneup at the small engine shop every five years or so. It’s working as well today as it did 30 years ago! Averaged over the years of use I’ve had it, the expensive Toro was actually dirt cheap!

Though Doug has long since passed on, his advice still resonates with me today, and was the reason I chose the Mantis XP 16″ Tiller/Cultivator when my old tiller croaked last summer.

It’s got all the features of the old mower, great quality, a bit more expensive initially, but I know will still be tilling for someone when I’m rocking away in the old folks home!


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