Thursday, December 8, 2011

It Really Shouldn't Be This Hard

There it is.  The hose reel.  Doesn't seem like a terribly complex contraption.  Also, it seems like a pretty good idea on our farm when we are often dealing with 300-400 feet of hose at a time.

Since I am also an academic (read in, thinks he has to know more then he should before he acts and believes such information is findable), I had to do some reading and researching to find the best made hose reels for 400+ feet of hose.  All this within, of course, normal monetary and time constraints.  We settled on a particular model with "no-flat" tires and heavier gauge steel construction.  It seemed pretty good on paper.  So, we made the order.

First thing of note - we made this order early in the growing season so we could put them together and get used to using them throughout the growing season.  Every tool has a learning curve, even something as simple as this.  For example, if all 400 feet are 'played out' and you want to roll it all up, you would do well to drag it back towards the reel *first*.  Why?  You're trying to pull *alot* of weight otherwise and the cart is not heavy/stable enough to stay still while you try to turn the wheel.

But, that's not really a part of the story.  The real story goes something like this:

Early May: We make the order with a company that shall remain nameless but will (in the future) be orderless from us.

Mid to Late May: Two boxes (with two reels) arrive two and a half weeks later.  Allow 10-14 days delivery.  Ok, we can forgive that.  Boxes look a little rough, but it is the contents that count.

early to mid June: We were ready to put these together  about a week prior to their arrival.  Now, other things are taking our time.  So, it is two+ weeks later when we have a rainy day and time to put these together.
Box #1 is opened.  Instructions are found.  I begin to lay parts out and compare to the parts list in the instructions.  I give up when I realize the small parts do not match the list.  But, it seems like the parts do match the instructions for assembly.
Assembly begins.  The base is assembled, wheels put on .  The hose reel drum is assembled.  The handle is assembled and put on the base.
Now, to put the reel drum onto the base you need the handle that serves as the crank.  The picture doesn't show it well, but it is on the right end of the pictured item.
Where is the crank?  What?  Really?  No crank?!?
Really.  And no way to put the drum on the base without it.
Box #2 is opened.  All parts removed and inspected.  No crank.

Next Day in June:

Phone call made.  We request cranks.  Two to be exact.
"Sorry, the cranks are on back order.  But, we will ship two more reel kits.  You can take out the cranks and then have the remainder shipped back to us. "
We suggest they just take the cranks out themselves, save on shipping and just send those cranks.
"No. We can't do that.  It's the whole box or nothing."
We suggest they OPEN the boxes before shipping to be sure there are cranks in each box.

Mid to late June: Ten days later.  Two boxes arrive.   Better timing.  Boxes still look pretty rough.
We open one box.    There is, in fact, a crank.  We finish the first cart.
We open the other box.  There is no crank.  But, the packing list *does* say "open boxes to make sure crank is in the box."  Before you say someone only opened one of the two, consider that this packing list with the instruction  to open boxes was INSIDE the box without a crank.

Next Day: Phone call #2.  We inform them of our case number and ask them to arrange to pick up two boxes.  We also inform them that we are still short one crank.  So, maybe they could either:
a. open a box and send us a crank
b. pick up three boxes and leave us alone with only one working hose reel and refund our money for one of the two reels.

They choose option c - pick up two boxes and send us another full box with the whole assembly.

Some point in July:
Two boxes go away and a new one appears.  It is immediately opened while the UPS guy watches.  It has a crank.  We suggest he can take the other crankless one too, but he cannot do so.  He only has an order to ship two.
Cart #2 gets put together at some point thereafter.

We also were good people and made a call to get the company to arrange another pickup for the 3rd box with a crankless reel.    We kept the box where we could get to it easily and, in fact, put it prominently in front of the garage when we went somewhere so UPS would see it if they came when we were not around.   I think I only tripped over it a few times.

It's December.  I moved that box into the granary for the Winter.   I suspect they have enough inventory on hand for the crankless hose reels already. 

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