Thanks for the gas tip!!! I'd heard that long ago I think but forgot about it!ya i have heard really good thing about the return policy at costco so it definitely wouldn't be bad to go new from somewhere like that. buying used can be a bit of a gamble but generally i am only looking when they are cheap cheap. the 28" machine i got for my aunts rescue was $20 and the muffler needed new bolt and it had a flat tire but it ran and worked. it even had electric start. picked up another machine a couple months ago for free that just needs a new drive cable and if i really wanted to i could red neck repair it for under $5 but i have dealt with enough machines to know what i am getting myself into.
my only advised whatever route you go is try to find a local supply of ethanol free gas. shell or canadian tires 91 octane gas is ethanol free. the ethanol free gas is better for the fuel system long term and you are less likely to have issues with the carb if you run it.