31 May 2011

The Low(es)down

When we got our sod last month, the installers told us that it would probably be established enough to mow in about a month...and this weekend, right on schedule, the time came. Almost all of the pieces had filled in, with some growing especially well and creating an irregular surface:



It was about 7 a.m. when we decided to get started to beat the heat that would soon settle in. (We were a little concerned about waking up neighbors, but the electric mower is so quiet that we couldn't even hear it from the far side of the house.) Since the sprinklers were already on in the front yard, we headed to the backyard with our new electric lawn mower.

Halfway in, things were going well. The mower smoothed out the differences among the pieces, giving us finally -- finally -- the nice, smooth lawn Steve has been wanting for so long:



Pretty good, huh? (If you're wondering, the plant at the bottom center is basil. It's just living there until we put in our raised vegetable garden beds.)

Unfortunately, though, that's the only part of the yard that now looks like that. Halfway into mowing the backyard, the mower started to sputter and then stopped. We couldn't get it started again. Something was definitely wrong.

Pretty sure we had bought it within the last 90 days (the deadline for returns to Lowe's), we hunted down the receipt...only to find that their return policy on garden electrics (lawn mowers, edgers, etc.) is only 30 days. We were peeved. We do a ton of shopping at Lowe's and had no idea that there were exceptions to the return policy. (Although, in their defense, it is printed on the receipt.) The mower has a two-year warranty, so we knew we could get it fixed, but the breakdown about the third time we used it didn't exactly inspire confidence.

We decided to try taking it back anyway. And here's where we proclaim, loudly and happily, that Lowe's gets an A+ for customer service, because they took it back, no questions asked. (Except for, you know, "What's wrong with it?") We didn't buy a new one right away -- we're trying to decide between a new corded electric mower and perhaps a reel mower like Fiskars's model. We have a friend with a push mower, so we'll probably borrow it from him and try it out before deciding.

Anyway, we couldn't be happier that our neighborhood home improvement superstore rose to the occasion and stood behind their product. We've found that Lowe's is generally more expensive than Home Depot, but with customer service like that, we tend to think it's worth it.

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