• Member Since 2nd Nov, 2012
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Admiral Biscuit


he/him

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May
16th
2020

Shovels, How Do They Work? · 3:38am May 16th, 2020

Y’all may remember from yesterday (technically, really early this morning) I lost my shovel, found my shovel, broke my shovel, bought a new shovel, and then broke that shovel, too.


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Naturally, our tale does not end there.

Nor, fortunately, does the collection of shovel-themed pony pics.


I tossed the two halves of the shovel in the back of my van, lest it somehow get lost (hey, it’s possible to lose a shovel, just sayin’). As luck would have it, the reciept was there, too, so I didn’t have to go hunting around for that.

Naturally, I couldn’t return it right away; I had to work. Not only did I fix the brakes on two different SUVs, but I also put front magical magnetic struts on a Yukon, diagnosed a no-start, replaced a battery, and met a customer who I wanted to punch in the face after only thirty seconds of interaction. Since this blog post isn’t about that, I’ll give you a brief summary:

Me, checking door pillar for VIN tag, which has information I need in order to properly diagnose his vehicle.
Him: “Oh, that tag’s not correct.”
Me: “It has a new cab?”
Him: “No, it’s more complicated than that.”

Might be why we can’t seem to find the right parts for your truck, bud. If it’s not what it says it is.

This isn’t the only time he’s lied to us, either. He said that one of the other shops in town put a new GM throttle body on his truck, except that it isn’t a GM throttle body, it’s aftermarket. Also, it wasn’t one of the other shops in town, it was a shop about an hour away. And they might have put the wrong part on, becuase he probably didn’t tell them that the VIN number for the truck was wrong.

If I’m feeling frisky next week, I’ll check through his history and see if the VIN the truck’s supposed to have (at least, the one that the licence plate says it should have) and the one that the PCM says it has match. I’ve got a 5,000 word blog post on what happens when you start throwing random parts at a Dodge Dakota in the hopes they’ll fix its problem. Protip: just because you can plug it in doesn’t mean it’s compatable.

But never mind that; y’all are here to hear about shovels!


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After work, I went back to the hardware store, and got the two halves of my brand new still-got-the-stickers-on-the-handle-and-that-nice-new-shovel-smell shovel and the reciept and went up to the counter and asked to be helped.

I explained my dilemma to the nice girl at the counter, showed her the two halves of my shovel, and she went in back to talk to her manager. A few minutes later, the verdict was rendered--there is no warranty on the shovel.

That’s right, the brand-new Ace-brand shovel I bought from Ace Hardware for the princely sum of $18.99 (plus tax) was in no way guaranteed to be suitable for the simple task of digging a hole in dirt. It was not free from manufacturer defects for a period of even one day--if we’re considering the time from when I bought it to when I tried to return it. A few hours, tops, if we’re counting the period of time when I actually had it in my posession before it broke.

If we strip it down to its most basic, the one thing that the shovel was supposed to be able to do, and the one thing that shovels have been doing ever since they were invented, which was--checks Wikipedia--a long time ago*, and this shovel was incapable of that for more than a few minutes.

Admittedly, I didn’t read all the instructions on the blade, but the shovel listing on the internet claims that it has :

Premium hardwood handles is durable and provides shock resistant flexibility

with

Steel collar reinforces head to handle connection

and that the

Wood handle digging shovel excavates compact soil

It also had the extra wide foot-stomping-down-on parts, so I believe that in pointing the spade end at the ground, stomping on the extra wide foot-stomping-down-on parts, and then attempting to remove the compact soil, I was using it as a shovel is designed to be used.


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*Of course you know I actually did check Wikipedia for shovel facts, and proto-shovels date back to the Neolithic era. They were commonly made of a large animal’s shoulder blade, and I bet they lasted longer than a day.


In the stage combat world, there are two kinds of swords. There are fightables, where the blade is typically high-carbon steel, where it’s flexible and can take a beating. And there are pretties, which are stainless, and meant to hang on the wall, ‘cause they just can’t take being bangled into other swords.

Likewise, those of us in the automotive trades surely know that the Snap-On screwdrivers say right on the handle “Not to be used as a prybar, chisel, or punch.” That’s because they’re hardened steel, which is brittle. It’s fine for screwing things, but not for prying them.

Luckily, the Snap-On guy still warranties them even when it’s obvious by the hammer marks on the handle and the broken blade of the screwdriver that you’ve been using it as a chisel even though the instructions say not to.

[Related, in the past few years Ford has been publishing repair inscructions color-coded, and one day I got bored and looked up what the colors meant. Two of them, IIRC, involved the tool you used; one color was for a specialy tool, and another was for a normal tool used in an abnormal manner. I haven’t found anything yet with that color, but I do hope when I do, it’s something like using your Snap-On screwdriver as a punch.]

Point is, despite the puffery of the shovel’s features (which is copied word-for-word, so don’t go blaming me for any weirdness in their implication that the shovel may or may not have two handles, it’s possible that this wasn’t a fightable (dirtable?) shovel but in fact a shiny, meant to be displayed on the wall to show off your taste in hole-digging tools.

Maybe it’s like the photocopier; maybe shovels have different technologies. <--I hate to link you off the blog, but this is comedy genius and unfortunately also true.

Or was my dirt just too strong for a simple shovel?

Somehow, earthworms are able to burrow through it, and I presume moles could if they wanted to (I haven’t seen any moles, though). There are fox-sized holes here and there which I can only assume were dug by foxen--I’ve seen fox kits go into one of those holes, in fact.

Even a stupid plant, no more than a whirling helicopter from my red maple is somehow capable of burrowing through that soil which an Ace-brand shovel cannot. And don’t get me started on vines, I’ve got vines for days. I’ve got vines climing vines and I’ve lost at least one garden tractor trailer becuase it got buried in vines. (I did find it in vine off-season; when they’re not leafy, they don’t hide as much.)


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Back to the topic at hoof. . . .

I could have proven a point by stomping angrily out of the hardware store and taken my business elsewhere, but elsewhere is a forty minute drive each way, and ain’t nobody got time for that. So I angrily selected an all-steel shovel and forked over some more hard-earned cash for it, because come tomorrow--or later today, depending on when this blog is published--I’m going to have sixteen pony-themed plants and they’ll all want cozy holes to put roots down in.

Thus armed with Ace Shovel II, all steel and at least 30% more shovely than the previous shovel (based on price), I went down to my backyard again and contemplated the sod and apparently shovelproof soil below, and tentatively stabbed the Earth.


Two holes later, my brand-new, all steel Ace shovel


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actually continued to function, just as our neolithic ancestors’ shoulder-blade shovels would have. I dug the holes that needed digging, and come tomorrow, said holes will be filled with trees and shrubs, and they’ll be given loving care for at least a week before I leave them to fend for themselves.


I don’t expect to get my money back for the broken shovel. I could probably go through some process with my credit card and get a refund that way if I really wanted to, or I could keep harassing the people at the local hardware store until they give me my money just to get me to go away . . . and if I do that, I’ll be making a forty-minute (each way!) trip whenever I need anything hardwarey.

But.

Y’all know, if you’ve read this far, that I do love to go on and on, and while I haven’t looked yet, there are surely various online forums where one could discuss Ace brand shovels, and I could literally just cut and paste four thousand words (rounding up) of shovel-themed blog posts . . . it would be super easy, barely an inconvenience.

I could even, with minimal extra effort, spice it up with facts like the first shovels were made from large animal shoulder blades, and “it is via this connection between shoulder blades and digging blades that the words spatula and spade both have etymologic connection with scapulas.” Facts! Everypony loves facts!


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Or maybe I’ll take solace in the fact that all y’all enjoyed my rant about shovels and the quality thereof, and maybe I’ll focus on the more meaningful things in life. Spending $20 on a shovel that doesn’t shovel for long isn’t the worst purchase I’ve made, and I could presumably install a fitter, more productive handle on it. The stabby-in-the-ground part is still in perfect working order, and the extra wide foot-stomping-down-on parts are actually nice, especially if for some reason I want to use it barefoot rather than in work boots. As an aside, why didn’t they mention the extra wide foot-stomping-down-on parts in the features and benefits? The sticker on the blade made a big deal about them.

Maybe one day I’ll write a one-shot about a pony who buys a shovel that doesn’t live up to her expectations, and as a result she tells all her friends what a lousy shovel it was and then nopony wants to shop at that hardware store and the stallion that owns it has to sell it to pay his mounting bills (he’s got a mortgage, you know) and depending on the moral I want to impart on my readers, he’d either die penniless in a ditch, or else everypony in town would gather together to buy the mortgage from the bank and put him back in business and he’d learn to be more flexible about the terms and conditions; he’s really a decent guy, don’t you know. He could be a little bit more leniant in his return policies, and the ponies in town could maybe not turn into an angry torch mob at the drop of a hat . . . or the snap of a shovel handle. There’d be hugs all around and a song, and I just realized that if I changed it to being a snow shovel instead of a dirt shovel, I’ve got the perfect pitch for this winter’s Hallmark Holiday movie.


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FIN

Comments ( 71 )

I kinda want to say you can take this blog and shovel it, but that would be a silly thing to say :twilightsmile:

Can you post a picture of the receipt, with store number, and we'll see if suitable pressure can be applied.

it would be super easy, barely an inconvenience

Ah, yes *grin*

"actually continued..."
I think I pulled a fucking rib
you ass

5263333 You can always go nuclear and post a Tweet with @AceHardware in the body, expressing your dissatisfaction with a shovel that is barely a sh. I've been amazed at how fast somebody from the home office will respond to Twitter when you can't get anything else out of a company.

Nice to hear the steel shovel worked.

Makes me wonder. Did you get it before or after seeing the comments on the last post?

Have you heard the tale of grandpa’s axe? It was the best axe he ever had. When he finally passed away, it had been fitted with five new handles and two new heads...

This is obviously the first part of the tale of Biscuit’s shovel. Just keep replacing handles. Until you need to replace the blade bit.

Or just keep using the all metal one...

5263328
Yeah, I'm inclined to think this post was justice in spades, which I can totally dig. It helps that he follows his own code of shovelry.

There's good money in Rockhoof lamenting the poor quality of Equestrian shovels compared to those of yesteryear.

And thanks for Part II. :D

Wow... way to fail customer service 101. If this was the second shovel you’d returned this way that would be one thing but when what you bought dose not do what you bought it for... ya take the name of the manager and wright a nice letter to the owner.

This post inrigues me...

Took a business law course, 50+ years ago.

In the absence of a SPECIFIC warranty, there is the
"doctrine of IMPLIED merchantability"
"An implied warranty of merchantability is a warranty implied by law that goods are reasonably fit for the general purpose for which they are sold." Wikipedia

In other words, you sell something you warrant that
it is good for the purpose that you sell it for.
You sell "rat poison" you warrant that it kills rats
You sell a "shovel", you warrant that you can dig in the dirt with it

In short, you could probably take them to Small Claims Court & get your money back.

This is why manufacturers provide specific warranties
It ain't to protect YOU, it's to protect THEM from you

This is why Amazon is EATING THEIR -ING LUNCH!

it would be super easy, barely an inconvenience.

Well, someone's been watching Pitch Meetings.

He could be a little bit more lenient in his return policies, and the ponies in town could maybe not turn into an angry torch mob at the drop of a hat . . . or the snap of a shovel handle

Alternatively, the angry mob's torches are all made from snapped tool handles. For extra irony, most of them are pitchforks.

In any case, sorry to hear the shovel saga went this way, but at least you have something that can actually withstand the adamantine-like hardness of packed soil.

Hm I don't know if 20 dollars is worth the hassle of small court but excuse my crude language, what a bunch of assholes.

Probably why the cheap shops sell heads,handles and shafts seperatly.

You put it together, it your fault it comes apart?

That, and they can flog cheap brush handles, watch people keep coming back for replacements as they break em with shovels?

Think of all that money you save on specialised weight lifting gear and gym membership doing lifts with your nice new steel shovel.

At least you aint manually lifting 250 lb Austin Mini engines?:twilightoops:

Or trying to lay 450 lb york stone flag patios? :pinkiecrazy:

Oh my gosh, Admiral, you could probably write a blog post about paint drying and I'd still read it, and probably enjoy it.

5263441
It's all designed to keep Big Shovel in business

Just had a thought: if you do another three blog posts on shovels, that'd be five total, thus making you The Ace of Spades

That's poor customer service. You have a receipt, the sticker's still on the handle, and I can't image the metal's particularly dinged up from digging two holes (unless you were digging them through concrete). This is something I suspect could be rectified with a complaint to Ace's corporate email. You might not get a refund, but a gift card would probably make you feel better about shopping at Ace again in the future.

You might even let all the people following your shovel drama on social media know that the company resolved things satisfactorily. Because that's a thing (smart) companies take seriously since these things can go viral thanks to the internet.

Oddly enough Ace is where I bought my last (snow) shovel too. But Lowe's is within walking distance and I have to drive past Home Depot to get to the closest Ace. Maybe your location doesn't have any local competition, but the company as a whole does, and it certainly isn't any sweat for me to stop shopping at Ace because of your bad experience there. I have options, and it's already inconvenient for me to shop there. And if that's the kind of service I can expect, maybe I don't want to.

But what would I know about customer service? I mean, I only spent my college years working for Walmart. It's not like Walmart's a shining example of customer service, but at least they know how to take things back.

That’s right, the brand-new Ace-brand shovel I bought from Ace Hardware for the princely sum of $18.99 (plus tax) was in no way guaranteed to be suitable for the simple task of digging a hole in dirt.

I pretty much lost it here.

5263328
"I ain't workin' here no more!" :rainbowlaugh:

5263328

I kinda want to say you can take this blog and shovel it, but that would be a silly thing to say :twilightsmile:

Silly, yes, but now I have a functioning shovel, so I actually could.

5263333

Can you post a picture of the receipt, with store number, and we'll see if suitable pressure can be applied.

I could, but there’s no point. Besides the blogs, the only further escalation that’s worth having is me copying both blogs exactly and sending them to Ace customer service, with all pony pictures attached. Somebody might be amused enough with that to send me a gift card, I dunno.

5263337

I think I pulled a fucking rib
you ass

You’re welcome!

5263343

Nice to hear the steel shovel worked.

Makes me wonder. Did you get it before or after seeing the comments on the last post?

I knew it was there, ‘cause I’d seen it when I bought my first shovel but didn’t want to spend the extra bits. In hindsight, I would have been $18.99 (plus tax) richer if I had, but y’all wouldn’t have gotten two glorious blog posts.

5263349

Have you heard the tale of grandpa’s axe? It was the best axe he ever had. When he finally passed away, it had been fitted with five new handles and two new heads...

My most reliable truck was a 1988 S-15, which over the years morphed into a 1984-1992 S-15/S-10 with little bits of Buick thrown in for flavor. If you keep replacing parts as they wear out, you can keep something going for a long time.

This is obviously the first part of the tale of Biscuit’s shovel. Just keep replacing handles. Until you need to replace the blade bit.

Yup, although I’ll buy a handle that’ll dig more than two holes next time around.

Or just keep using the all metal one...

Yeah, or that.

5263352

Yeah, I'm inclined to think this post was justice in spades, which I can totally dig. It helps that he follows his own code of shovelry.

:heart:

5263357

There's good money in Rockhoof lamenting the poor quality of Equestrian shovels compared to those of yesteryear.

Or for an unexpected twist, Rockhoof praising modern Equestrian shovels becuase the metallurgy is so much better than it was back in his day.

5263359
You’re welcome! Figured y’all would want to know how the shovel saga ended.

I got all my bushes planted. Turns out I didn’t dig enough holes, ‘cause I was so busy blathering on about shovels that I forgot 5 times 4 is 20, not 16.

5263361

Wow... way to fail customer service 101. If this was the second shovel you’d returned this way that would be one thing but when what you bought dose not do what you bought it for... ya take the name of the manager and wright a nice letter to the owner.

I did think of escalating it to the manager right then and there, but I didn’t want to be that guy, you know? Might go back next week when somebody else is working the register--some of their employees are our customers.

Or just cut and paste both these blogs on Ace’s webpage, a review page for the shovel, or wherever else I feel it would get noticed. With extra shovel facts thrown in.

In fact, I could write an entire third blog post with just shovel facts and famous shovels throughout history compared to the one I bought at Ace which broke.

5263372
As well it should; you strike me as a person who knows a thing or two about shovels.

5263832
Woops.

But hey, you didn't forget where the metal shovel was, so that wasn't (much of) an issue, right?

5263383
Yeah, and there’s possibly also a manufacturer’s warranty on the shovel. In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, here in Michigan a lot of stores are currently refusing returns due to Covid, so that might be why they’re not taking it back at the moment. While it’s unlikely that a shovel would be contaiminated, there’s no way for them to know.

There is a survey link on the back of the reciept where I can tell them how helpful they were to win a $50 gift card, and maybe I will visit their site and tell them about my shovel experience.

5263424

Well, someone's been watching Pitch Meetings.

Just one or two. :P

Alternatively, the angry mob's torches are all made from snapped tool handles. For extra irony, most of them are pitchforks.

Oh, yes, that’s perfect.

In any case, sorry to hear the shovel saga went this way, but at least you have something that can actually withstand the adamantine-like hardness of packed soil.

Honestly, at the end of the day, I got my bushes planted, and all y’all got to read two amusing blogs about shovels, so that’s wins all around.

5263426

Hm I don't know if 20 dollars is worth the hassle of small court but excuse my crude language, what a bunch of assholes.

It’s really not worth the effort. And now that I’m thinking about it, they might have refused returns based on coronavirus; some businesses are. Although if that was the case, they could have just said that. . .

Once I get caught up with other things, it might be worth taking their online survey. Just for giggles.

5263441

Probably why the cheap shops sell heads,handles and shafts seperatly.
You put it together, it your fault it comes apart?
That, and they can flog cheap brush handles, watch people keep coming back for replacements as they break em with shovels?

That certainly is likely to be the case with some stores.

As I was thinking of tool handles, I remembered that Apple Honey stocked them and sold them at her repair shop.

Think of all that money you save on specialised weight lifting gear and gym membership doing lifts with your nice new steel shovel.

Really, the best exercise I used to get was tossing tires up to the second story of a tire store.

At least you aint manually lifting 250 lb Austin Mini engines?:twilightoops:

Not if I can help it, but some of those big shiny rims and knobby tires the hillbillies around here like so much weigh nearly that, and there’s four per truck.

Or trying to lay 450 lb york stone flag patios?

I assume these days they use a crane for that, although I gotta imagine there’s some old Yorkshireman who just flogs those things in place all day long and probably ties knots in rebar when he wants to relax.

5263458

Oh my gosh, Admiral, you could probably write a blog post about paint drying and I'd still read it, and probably enjoy it.

Eustatian Wings beat me to it. (And it’s a really fantastic story, and you should read it.)

I did write, at the suggestion of Brumby Run, a story about a mare changing the wheel on a wagon.

5263474

It's all designed to keep Big Shovel in business

Curse you, Big Shovel <shakes fist>

Just had a thought: if you do another three blog posts on shovels, that'd be five total, thus making you The Ace of Spades

I don’t know if I have it in me to do three more blog posts on shovels.

But spring planting season’s only just started, so maybe I do.

Especially since I misplaced my trowel today.

5263847

I remember the Irishman, last of the Navvies, and with a steel shovel he could dig holes faster than the powered minidigger.

It amazing how much weight you can move in the old steel buiding site wheelbarrow.

Took years to break that garden and house services in, but theyve been able to enjoy it the last 20 years in retirement.

5263679

That's poor customer service. You have a receipt, the sticker's still on the handle, and I can't image the metal's particularly dinged up from digging two holes (unless you were digging them through concrete). This is something I suspect could be rectified with a complaint to Ace's corporate email. You might not get a refund, but a gift card would probably make you feel better about shopping at Ace again in the future.

The only thing I can think is that they might not be accepting returns right now due to Covid. Although, they could have just gone out and said that . . .

Their reciept does have the link to their online survey site, and I could have some fun with that. Maybe they’d toss me a few bucks just to get me to go away. Or a coupon for a free shovel handle or something.

You might even let all the people following your shovel drama on social media know that the company resolved things satisfactorily. Because that's a thing (smart) companies take seriously since these things can go viral thanks to the internet.

If this goes viral, I’ll eat my shovel hat.

I probably could post it to a few sites where it’s likely to get more widespread attention. Heck, I could print up copies of it and hang them on Ace’s front door. Or if I wanted to spend more time and money, bulk mail copies to everyone in town (it’s a small enough town that’s actually feasable).

Oddly enough Ace is where I bought my last (snow) shovel too. But Lowe's is within walking distance and I have to drive past Home Depot to get to the closest Ace. Maybe your location doesn't have any local competition, but the company as a whole does, and it certainly isn't any sweat for me to stop shopping at Ace because of your bad experience there. I have options, and it's already inconvenient for me to shop there. And if that's the kind of service I can expect, maybe I don't want to.

They don’t have any local competition. It’s about thirty miles or so to the nearest big-box store, and quite honestly not worth the drive for a shovel or something like that. And I do like to shop local when I can; keep the bits in the community, you know. Heck, I get all my Admiral Biscuit shirts from a local printing company, even though it’d be cheaper to order ‘em online.

I suspect if I kick things up the chain, I’ll get my money back from Ace corporate, or at least the opportunity to vent my spleen at someone who works there.

But what would I know about customer service? I mean, I only spent my college years working for Walmart. It's not like Walmart's a shining example of customer service, but at least they know how to take things back.

Yeah, that’s true. Still won’t shop there unless I have literally no other option. :P

5263838

But hey, you didn't forget where the metal shovel was, so that wasn't (much of) an issue, right?

Nope, I know exactly where it is!

Currently marking the last bush I planted, in fact, and also possibly doubling as a convenient bird perch.

5263852

It amazing how much weight you can move in the old steel buiding site wheelbarrow.

If you can get it rolling, probably just about any amount.

Took years to break that garden and house services in, but theyve been able to enjoy it the last 20 years in retirement.

:rainbowlaugh:

I don't know what the state of things is here in Canada, but I remember hearing that, in Europe (and in Australia, if I understand the laws that got Steam fined over two million dollars), the law places limits on what refund-related consumer rights may be contracted away.

If nothing else, it'd probably make them very careful to say that it's COVID that's responsible for the refused return to avoid risking liability.

5263851
It's like a little baby shovel

5263831
It could go either way, really.

5263854

Yeah, that’s true. Still won’t shop there unless I have literally no other option. :P

I rarely do (it's been months). They were horrible to work for, and I also prefer to support the smaller companies. As I keep trying to explain to people (and I'm preaching to the choir here :raritywink: ) Walmart isn't a company you want around with absolutely no competition. Most of my retail money went to K-Mart until last year in a desperate bid to help keep their doors open (I had one of the last remaining K-Marts - it survived the second bankruptcy, but it's gone now), while I support a local grocery chain (which is the only store I've been in since the lockdown started). We don't have a Target, and frankly, I don't want to be anywhere near Walmart right now. Walmart skimps on everything. At least when I was at the grocery store yesterday, I visibly saw someone wiping down the carts between uses.

I can't imagine Walmart would bother with something like that, because that would require paying someone to do it. The last time I was in a Walmart I saw a self-driving floor cleaner going around the aisles (apparently this must be an even cheaper option than using illegal immigrants, a thing the store I worked at was busted for while I was working there; we lost the entire overnight cleaning crew in one go). You can't make this stuff up. Unfortunately.

Glad to hear the new new shovel works.

5263832
Aye, thanks. :)

Oops. :D Sorry about that. Glad it worked out in the end. :)

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