Box Stores - Abandon all Hope - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 17 Old 08-19-2016, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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Box Stores - Abandon all Hope

I just returned from a trip to Home Depot where they already had an array of snowblowers on display.

Curious, I went to play with the new Ariens models (Deluxe 28 SHO, Deluxe 24, and Compact 24).

The set-up on these machines was astoundingly bad. It was almost impossible to turn the hand cranks on the two Deluxe machines - rough and tight.

The chute deflectors on 2 of the 3 machines was unusable - would not stay in the upright position.

The Deluxe 28 SHO was set-up with the left side of the machine at least 1/2" lower than the right side - completely askew. I can't imagine how frustrating the Auto-Turn feature must be on such a cockeyed machine.

Their Snow-Tek machine was also set-up with a dysfunctional chute.

I guess we all realize that minimum-wage seasonal help won't do a good job of assembling, aligning, and calibrating these machines.

However, after this experience, I'll never consider buying a snowblower from a box store - especially an Ariens with Auto-Turn, which requires proper set-up.

If I didn't have a full-service dealer nearby for my upcoming purchase (Ariens Platinum 24 SHO - EFI), I would purchase online, just to ensure that nobody in a box store touches the machine beforehand.

Of course, Ariens doesn't sell their Platinum series through Home Depot.

I suppose even a high-end brand like Ariens has to accept the shortcomings of Home Depot in order to compete. It just makes things tough for their customers.
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post #2 of 17 Old 08-19-2016, 10:40 PM
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The Big Blue Box...

When I first retired I worked one summer at a big blue box store in the tools and hardware department. While there was a retired electrician in the electrical department and a retired plumber in the plumbing department most of the people who worked there had no experience with the products they sold. I remember a woman who was in the paint department had been laid off from a grocery store. One of my fellow workers in tools and hardware had worked at J C Pennys most of his life.
The best one was a guy who worked in the back setting up grilles, lawn mowers and snowblowers etc. was laid off from Magna Powertrain, an automotive manufacturer of transfer cases for 4 wheel drive vehicles. He was proud of the fact that all he'd ever done was worked on an assembly line all his life.
I don't know how many of you have ever done assembly line work but I worked at Eastman Kodak in my younger days as a metal fabricator and machine repair man and I can tell you a lot of assembly line workers are not the most mechanically inclined people I've met.
It's no wonder those snowblowers were set up so badly.
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post #3 of 17 Old 08-19-2016, 10:47 PM
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When I first retired I worked one summer at a big blue box store in the tools and hardware department. While there was a retired electrician in the electrical department and a retired plumber in the plumbing department most of the people who worked there had no experience with the products they sold. I remember a woman who was in the paint department had been laid off from a grocery store. One of my fellow workers in tools and hardware had worked at J C Pennys most of his life.
The best one was a guy who worked in the back setting up grilles, lawn mowers and snowblowers etc. was laid off from Magna Powertrain, an automotive manufacturer of transfer cases for 4 wheel drive vehicles. He was proud of the fact that all he'd ever done was worked on an assembly line all his life.
I don't know how many of you have ever done assembly line work but I worked at Eastman Kodak in my younger days as a metal fabricator and machine repair man and I can tell you a lot of assembly line workers are not the most mechanically inclined people I've met.
It's no wonder those snowblowers were set up so badly.
You are exactly the type of person I track down when I'm at a blue or orange box store. I can't tell you how much knowledge I soaked up over the years from retirees.

Anyway, it's sad to see the fine machines that Ariens builds assembled in unskilled fashion. That's the price of competing nowadays in our throw away society

My machine:
1979 Ariens 924039 (24", 8hp w/ differential)
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post #4 of 17 Old 08-20-2016, 12:07 AM
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Buying from a big box store is easy IF you can take the machine home in the big box it came in and set it up yourself.

The manufacturer's have made it so easy it's almost impossible to screw it up. ALMOST.

A quick read through the manual and the assembly steps, some basic tools and an hours worth of time.

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post #5 of 17 Old 08-20-2016, 09:04 AM
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I noticed the same thing at my local Sears store the other day. There was a black MTD built 28" Craftsman 3 stage machine and the chute control was locked to the left side and would only move about 10

Ariens Platinum 24 SHO w/369cc carbureted LCT motor


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post #6 of 17 Old 08-20-2016, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
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2 years ago I purchased Craftsman's largest "garden tractor" (54" deck), from Sears warehouse outlet.

Once I got the machine home, I noticed that the mower seemed to scalp the lawn on the right side, whenever I was on angled terrain.

I also noticed that my steering wheel was installed askew. The thicker "handles" on the wheel were placed at 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock, rather than on the sides.

A few months later, I brought the machine to a local mechanic for a tune-up, and he informed me that the entire deck had been mounted incorrectly. Apparently, bolts had been put in the wrong holes, resulting a misalignment that couldn't easily be seen, but was definitely felt as the machine created divots whenever I was on angled terrain.

Once he corrected the mistakes, the tractor performed perfectly. All problems gone.

In the future, even if I have to pay a bit more, I'll buy from a local power equipment dealer. For me, t's not worth the risk to buy major power equipment, like a snowblowers, from box stores. Even if you can't necessarily see the mistakes, poor assembly and set-up can haunt a user for years.
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post #7 of 17 Old 08-20-2016, 09:43 PM
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My Cub Cadet had a cable not even attached when it was "ready" for me to pickup from Home Depot.
I won't buy a blower from a box store again.

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Previous: Ariens 624E, Toro CCR2000
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post #8 of 17 Old 08-21-2016, 04:03 AM
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Well some of us could always take a side job and go work at those stores and show em how to do it right..
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post #9 of 17 Old 08-21-2016, 09:21 AM
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Just a thought to keep when buying from a big box store and you have a problem with your purchase the store will direct you to take it to the local dealer or service ctr.. Usually the first question asked is where you bought it? Some of you may be in strong disagreement with this but if I were a dealer I would work on your machine but it would be after all my customer's machines were serviced/repaired. I would also do my very best work on it no matter where it was purchased.

Joe

Sent from my junky old Hisense 7" tablet that I can barely see.
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New.green shovel
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post #10 of 17 Old 08-21-2016, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by micah68kj View Post
Just a thought to keep when buying from a big box store and you have a problem with your purchase the store will direct you to take it to the local dealer or service ctr.. Usually the first question asked is where you bought it? Some of you may be in strong disagreement with this but if I were a dealer I would work on your machine but it would be after all my customer's machines were serviced/repaired. I would also do my very best work on it no matter where it was purchased.
Well put. I even address this at the 7:55 mark in my video of "almost" 2 years ago. As you will see in some of the "discussions" below the video, not everyone agree's with my "front of the line privileges" theory.


2014 Ariens Deluxe 30 #921032 w/Armor skids, LED's, Hand warmers.
2015 Ariens Path Pro SS-21 # 938033
2010 Toro 1800 Power curve (electric, for the deck)
2009 Toro Power Shovel (electric, for deck steps)
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