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I bought a used Craftsman lawn tractor about 6 years ago. The thing I remember most about the day I bought it was smacking my head against my enclosed trailer as I loaded it in. Ouch! That was east of Henniker, N.H. and fortunately, I didn’t even suffer a headache from the mishap. When we got it home my mechanically inclined significant other crawled underneath it and had the mower deck hooked up in minutes. Why her? Because she wanted to do that chore more than I did. She did a great job, too.

The Craftsman came with a grass bagging system and I used it for several years, dumping the clippings on my neighbors’ property for him to use as mulch. It was a good arrangement. The nylon bags eventually split with age and I stopped using them. As far as the quality of the cut was concerned, the Craftsmen did the best job of any mower that I had previously owned. I changed the oil and filter on it annually and bought one new battery for it last year. This spring I went out to start it and it immediately roared to life. It runs great and still does an excellent cutting job. I looked at the hour meter on it and noticed it had turned over 800 hours last year. Time to do some research and think about replacement.

I got online and found that engines like the one in the Craftsman were good for more than 1500 hours when well-maintained. However, lots of folks traded in their mowers with fewer hours on them than what I currently have on mine. Well, if I sell mine now then the new owner should get about 700 hours from it before things start failing. The average homeowner puts about 30 hours on their lawn tractor each year. 700 hours will give the next owner a lot of life before it becomes unreliable, so I figure that selling it now while there’s still meat on the bone is good for everyone.

Then I researched new lawn tractors and found a few good ones. I wanted one with a Kohler V-twin as I have enjoyed good reliability with them. Rather than drive all over hill and dale to see who had what I wanted I looked online. I checked the store’s online inventory, then I called. Here’s some valuable information: Don’t believe the online store inventory robot. It doesn’t know squat. Talk to a human. There was a specific model that I wanted and after talking to several humans and physically going to one store and calling even more stores I found what I was looking for.

Amazingly this local box store offers free delivery on my new Cub Cadet lawn tractor with the 22 horsepower Kohler engine. I’ve seen good and not-so-good reviews about this lawn tractor, but after a while, you can differentiate the whiners from the level-headed consumers who understand that perfection is an unattainable concept. Excuse my rather crude analogy but some folks will complain that using a toilet was a bad experience because it didn’t wipe their butt for them. That’s the way it is with some folks who review consumer goods. I bought a used bass guitar the other day that was half price because somebody returned it because a string hit the pickup. I got out a Phillips head screwdriver, adjusted the pickup, problem solved. That whiner saved me $450 on my purchase. Thanks!

I think it pays to do your research when it comes to making most purchases if you can find the time. This is one of the gifts of having the internet. It isn’t always 100 percent reliable, sometimes you have to pick up on certain cues when reading revues and descriptions. It is still a caveat emptor world out there, but doing the research will often give you a fighting chance.

“The Morning Almanac with Arlo Mudgett” is heard Monday through Saturday mornings on radio stations Oldies KOOL FM 106.7, 96.3, and 106.5 and over Peak-FM 101.9 and 100.7. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.