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"Sometimes it's not what you say, it's how you say it."

Friday, August 1, 2014

Do It Yourself - Pros and Cons

When it comes to handy-man home and auto projects, I am not one of those self-starters that loves to tinker in the garage or the workshop.

The to-do list typically gains no special priority over the annual tax filing, as far as I am concerned.

That being said, I do have a naturally inquisitive mind.  Over the years, I have to admit that I have waded into a variety of projects based on curiosity and what I attribute to neuro-chemical stimulation from solving a complex problem that I previously knew nothing about.

I remember as a child the thrill of announcing to the world, "...and I did it all by myself!"

So this week's unplanned project was the result of an annoyance that has been looking in my face for six months.  Whenever I hop in my Ford Explorer SportTrac and turn the key, the first thing I see on the overhead console is the digital compass and external temperature display.  When the display began to flicker, fade and eventually disappear, I developed a neurotic obsession with finding out why.

Follow this thread to see How I Repaired an Electrical Component on My Explorer SportTrac.

Why did I wait six months to "scratch the itch?"  Glad you asked.  When it comes to handy-man projects, I would much rather pay a professional and take satisfaction that I saved my time and aggravation.  But counter-balancing that preference is my hard-scrabble, DIY, Yankee, practical roots that refuse to pay good money for fixing such a frivolous luxury as a digital compass and temperature display.

I will pay for an oil change, but not a blinky light that tells me my global orientation and environment in both Celsius and Fahrenheit.

Which leads me to my topic which I will not belabor.  What are the pros and cons of DIY?

  1. Learn something new.
  2. Save labor cost.
  3. Save parts cost markup.
  4. Say "...and I did it all by myself!" to anyone that cares.
  5. Get the job done right...after all, if you want it done right, you must do it yourself....or so the saying goes.
  6. Instant gratification.  Why wait in line for an appointment?
  1. Whatever you might learn is likely to be forgotten or never needed again.  Like school.
  2. Time is arguably more valuable than money or labor cost.  You cannot discount time.
  3. Cutting corners on materials is usually a short term prospect. Quality, guaranties, and product knowledge are built into the markup.  Peace of mind is lost. He who represents himself has hired a foolish attorney.
  4. One could argue that self-absorption in DIY bliss is as productive as fishing, crossword puzzles and fantasy football.
  5. There is a much higher likelihood that at DIY project is inferior to a professional job.  Just think of some examples. Ever pull your own tooth?  Made your own shoes? Fly yourself to your next vacation destination?
  6. When a DIY project emerges from the equivalent of pointing and yelling "squirrel!", and then a day or more is gone, someone or something more important and less interesting just got scuttled.
I guess on balance I am truly not a DIY guy.  But apparently I am not intellectually 100% efficient either.  You only live once.

You know the best of all possible worlds is to own 100% of your time and have enough money to freely decide whether to pay the pro or do-it-yourself if you want to.

Any ideas about that program?  Check this one out... The System

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yup! "It's how you say it." This was thoughtful as well as entertaining. Thanks!