Apr 01

Another tool bites the dust

Tag: boat workjonny5waldman @ 7:41 am
At first, the returns lady at Home Depot didn’t wanna let me return the Dremel tool, since I didn’t have a receipt or the plastic box it came in. I pressed on. “It’s broken,” I said. “Try it. It turns on, but you can’t change the bits.” She examined the tool, turning it over mid-air. She held it gingerly, as if it were a sex toy, or a rotten vegetable. “What’s wrong with it?” she asked, bringing up the refund screen. “Broken collet,” I said, and she began typing. I spelled it out: C-O-L-L-E-T. A wave of joy swept through me. Success! I thought. Replacement Dremel, here we come! Alas, all was not right according to the returns lady. I had picked up a brand new Dremel tool, still in the box, for demonstration purposes, and now she looked at the image on the box — model 400XPR, with 70 bits and 3 attachments — and pointed to the attachments. She asked if I had those with me. “I don’t,” I said. “I brought everything I have.” This was definitely a lie. I had left all the good dremel bits on the boat, because we are down to a precious few of them. “You can’t return it without the box,” the returns lady said. “But it’s broken,” I said. “The tool is broken, and it’s guaranteed.” “I can’t return it like this,” she said. “There’s a code on the box that the manufacturer needs.” I begged. I pleaded. “What if you let me return the old tool, without the box, and then i give you the new box, since I won’t need it?” This calculus was beyond her. It didn’t work like that. The returns lady had me move over, to make way for another customer. Not a good sign. Not success. I felt like $100 was about to be pulled out of my pocket. My problem tool and I were handed off to Mike, apparently the fix-it guy at the service counter. I recognized him (I guess I’ve made too many trips to Home Depot) but tried to hide it. Mike grabbed a wrench, ¬†depressed the collet button with his thumb, and tried to turn the collet with the wrench. It didn’t budge. “That’s what I spent the last half hour trying to do,” I said, trying to establish rapport. He tried again, this time with two wrenches: one on the collet, and the other on the bit. “I tried that too,” I said. I wanted to say: I’m not a dumbass, dude, but I restrained myself. Mike tried a few more times. By now the manager had walked over, to see if Mike had made any progress. “What were you grinding?” Mike said. “Balsa wood,” I said, which was true. “It’s rusted shut,” Mike said. “It won’t open.” “I told you,” I said. “It’s broken. I wasn’t even running it hot,” I added, which was also true. “I’ve never seen a broken Dremel,” Mike said, with an air of fascination. He looked up at the manager. “I’ve never seen a broken Dremel,” the manager said, with a sense of gravity. He seemed troubled, as if he’d just learned that the world was not round, but octagonal. I thought for a moment, and decided it was against my interest to point out that I had seen three broken Dremel tools before, in my own hands, by my own doing. I also restrained myself from blurting out: Are you gys serious? You work in a friggin’ hardware store! Instead, I lied again, and said I’d looked online and seen that a lot of people have this problem. It seemed innocent enough; how could people like me NOT have this problem? Grudgingly, the manager said he’d take care of it. As the manager walked back to the returns counter, Mike made some joke about running a retail establishment, where the point is to sell things. Then, to me, he said a lot of people come in with “I.D. 10-T problems, saying it like that: I.D. ten dash tee. I tried not to laugh. I knew he wasn’t¬† comparing me to the people who can’t find the ON button, or who think their CD-drives are coffee cup holders, but I didn’t want to be mentioned in the same breath as them. I did not want to be cataloged anywhere near the Incompetents. The manager printed a refund slip and receipt, and I walked out into the world with a brand new Dremel, in a new case, in a new box, complete with 3 attachments and 70 bits. No money was sucked from my pocket. Success! Of course, halfway home, I realized I was missing one key bit: the coring bit that was stuck in the broken tool. The single best bit we owned! Curses! But I was too happy to turn around. Back at the boat, I swore I’d save the box, the case, and the receipt, because it’s only a matter of time before this one, too, bites the dust. Given how much work remains on the boat, it’s inevitable. I’d put money on it.

One Response to “Another tool bites the dust”

  1. Gary says:

    I have also broken a dremel tool… there is a plastic coupler inside between the motor and the shaft that can snap if the bit binds.

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