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Sun May 30, 2021, 02:21 PM

Throwing Good Money after Bad - Why Government Does It and I Don't

Governments are really good at doing that. You build a partial wall to keep immigrants out, but it never gets finished. Still, you have to spend more money to maintain the useless, unfinished wall, so it doesn't become even more of an eyesore or fall down and kill someone. Good money after bad.

Or, you build a brand new jet fighter that costs in the billions for each one that gets made. But, it's a lousy plane that can't even do the job it was designed to do. So, do you scrap the useless fighter jets? No, of course not. You keep throwing good money after the bad to modify and maintain the things, even though they are next to useless.

Or, you have a bunch of failing highway bridges. Do you replace them with new bridges? Naturally, no. Instead, you spend millions upon millions to fix the old ones sort of - enough to keep them from falling down for a little longer. You spend tons of good money on patching up bad bridges, instead of building new ones that will last for decades.

That's how government does things, much of the time, really.

Individuals don't always do that. Sometimes they do, of course, following the government example. But, not always. Here's what I did today:

Over the years, I've bought several power tools when I needed them to do something. A bandsaw. A drill press. An electric chainsaw. An air compressor. Things like that. Since I don't use them professionally, or even often, normally I buy cheap store brand tools or buy them from places like Harbor Freight. I know they're not professional tools, but I don't care. They work well enough to get the job done I bought them to do.

So, as I have written before, I'm moving. Today was the second day of cleaning out the garage, where said tools live, along with assorted junk. The junk went into the giant roll-off dumpster, but what to do with those off-brand power tools? I looked at them. Most were covered with a layer of garage dust and grime. They still work, but I won't need them at my new place. Time to get rid of them.

Should I just throw them in the dumpster? Well, I can't really do that, because they still work just fine. Should I list them on Craigs List and field calls and visits from would-be buyers? Not a great idea. I'm really, really busy right now, and that would be an interruption. Should I have a garage sale? Well, again, all of those options take a lot of time, and I'd have to clean up the tools, to boot. How much is my time worth and how long would I need to spend to get back maybe $3-400 for all of that stuff? That's the calculation. Time is money, so should I throw my time (good money) after bad (crappy cheap tools)?

Here's what I did. I put all of the tools out by the curb on my street with a FREE TOOLS sign. I didn't clean them. I didn't do anything. I just put the big ones on the lawn there, and the smaller ones in plastic bins. But, that's haphazard. So, I took a photo of the display by the curb with my phone and posted a Craigs List Ad with the photo and the title: CURB ALERT! FREE POWER TOOLS! The body of the ad was my address and cross street. Then, I wrote "All tools work. First one here gets the stuff. Please don't bother the homeowner!"

Less than 10 minutes later, a truck stopped and loaded everything into its bed. I took down the ad, 10 minutes after I posted it. I did not throw good money (my time) after bad (cheap used tools). Problem solved. Other guys with pickups also drove by, but they were too late. Only one stopped and yelled at me, "Do you still have the tools?" as I continued working on cleaning out the garage. I said, "Nope. They're gone." I wanted to say, "Can you see them there?" but that would have been impolite. A couple of hours later, some guy driving a late model Ford F-350 diesel pickup banged on my kitchen door and demanded, "Where are those tools you advertised?!" I answered, "In the back of the first truck that came here."

Don't throw good money or time after bad. It makes no sense.

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Arrow 14 replies Author Time Post
Reply Throwing Good Money after Bad - Why Government Does It and I Don't (Original post)
MineralMan May 30 OP
spooky3 May 30 #1
MineralMan May 30 #2
spooky3 May 30 #4
MineralMan May 30 #6
spooky3 May 30 #7
Cracklin Charlie May 30 #3
MineralMan May 30 #5
Cracklin Charlie May 31 #13
Ocelot II May 30 #8
Cracklin Charlie May 31 #12
Delarage May 30 #9
Ocelot II May 30 #10
MineralMan May 30 #11
moonscape May 31 #14

Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sun May 30, 2021, 02:35 PM

1. I've done that before too. Works every time. Nt

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Response to spooky3 (Reply #1)

Sun May 30, 2021, 02:39 PM

2. Probably the guy who took them will clean them up

and sell them at his next garage sale. Good for him! He can spend the time I don't have to spend.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #2)

Sun May 30, 2021, 03:39 PM

4. Agree. I put out a 15 year old Oreck plus replacement parts

Yesterday. I tried replacing the band but it still didn’t work correctly. It would probably cost $150 plus more of my time to fix—or maybe it couldn’t be fixed. Before Oreck went bankrupt I could have taken it for free repairs to a local store under the 21 year warranty that came with it. Still would have required time.

Someone who is good with repairs and has the time may have gotten a free vacuum that may last many more years.

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Response to spooky3 (Reply #4)

Sun May 30, 2021, 04:46 PM

6. I buy Dirt Devil vacuum cleaners.

They last about three years, and cost about $70. When they die, I buy a new one. They clean well, are lightweight, and work OK. That's my solution. Belts and filters are available at Target.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #6)

Sun May 30, 2021, 04:47 PM

7. Thanks--already replaced it with something Consumer Reports liked. Nt

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sun May 30, 2021, 03:29 PM

3. I've been seeing your posts about hiring professional service help.

I need someone to dig out my flower beds. I just went out to do some cleanup, and found a horrible mess of honeysuckle, wild grape, oak seedlings, poison ivy, and bittersweet. It has rained this whole month, and things have gotten away from me. I am afraid I need professional help.

My question: do you know if there a job name for a person who could help me with this?

It may have to be done by hand with a shovel. I am trying not to waste time calling people who don’t do this type of work. Any info appreciated.

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Response to Cracklin Charlie (Reply #3)

Sun May 30, 2021, 03:43 PM

5. Gardener or Landscaper

Beyond that, I don't know.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #5)

Mon May 31, 2021, 03:15 PM

13. Thanks!

Gonna start the process of hiring someone tomorrow.

By the way, hubs and I were faced with the “stay or move” from our house dilemma last fall. We decided to stay, due to the craziness of the housing market right now. So, we have been doing some remodeling, and a lot of cleanup to our existing home. We have had really great experiences with every contractor we have hired.

Waiting for our yard to dry to finish up some concrete work, then exterior paint, and we are done!

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Response to Cracklin Charlie (Reply #3)

Sun May 30, 2021, 05:18 PM

8. Landscaper. I just hired the same guy who does my snow removal in the winter

to dig out an area for a rain garden. He does a lot of this kind of work in the summer, and he's categorized as a landscaper.

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Response to Ocelot II (Reply #8)

Mon May 31, 2021, 03:11 PM

12. Thank you!

I was afraid to insult a “landscaper” by asking for just a cleanup job.

I will start looking tomorrow.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sun May 30, 2021, 05:55 PM

9. That's the way

I've put stuff on Craigslist for ridiculously low prices (5.00 for a circular saw) and get no responses. Put it out as "Free" and 25 people descend upon my driveway.

Just gotta remember to take down the post ASAP or else people get annoyed. But not always easy to do with the speed some folks show up.

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Response to Delarage (Reply #9)

Sun May 30, 2021, 07:26 PM

10. Got rid of a lot of perfectly good stuff I didn't need any more

by posting a notice on Nextdoor under "Free." If I don't need it any more it has no value to me and it's not worth the hassle of trying to sell it. Usually I just post the notice, put the things out by the alley, and they're gone in no time. Somebody has something they can use and I don't have unnecessary stuff cluttering up my house or garage.

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Response to Ocelot II (Reply #10)

Sun May 30, 2021, 08:11 PM

11. Free is the magic word, for sure.

Tomorrow, some furniture goes out, but nothing upholstered. Nobody takes it. Straight into the dumpster.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Mon May 31, 2021, 03:26 PM

14. I tend to donate. We have a local donation charity place

that uses proceeds to help Seniors in the community.

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