By Michael J. Searcy
Well, that title was supposed to illicit an emotion and cause you to want to read what I have written. It also has to do with two screws I recently had to deal with at Home Depot – and the advice I received.
So here’s my story… The toilet paper holder in my home’s master bathroom was coming loose from the wall. As this isn’t my first rodeo in home repair, I took the device apart and found the issue was caused by the screw inserted into the plastic piece that expands into the drywall, intended to hold the piece steady. Instead, it was rubbing the drywall and increasing the size of the hole. I knew I could make the update if I had the right tools, so I went to Home Depot and found a very nice, seemingly knowledgeable associate. My experience with these guys is that they are pretty smart in many ways so I was comforted in knowing I had another set of eyes on this project.
I suggested to the associate that I should use a molly bolt device. You know, in the old days, we used them in our ceilings to hang our swag lava lamps. You can push them through a wall and they open up with a wing that secures screws to the wall regardless of the hole size. As I surmised, my hardware consultant simply agreed and I was off on my way to repair the damage. When I got home, much to my dismay and disbelief, the molly bolt screw was a “machine” screw with small threads and a round end. As I tried to reassemble the toilet paper holder, the decorative cap which the post held in place did not have enough room between it and the screw head so I couldn’t finish the reassembly. Plus, I had already set the screws and molly bolts, so I had to unscrew them and sadly listen to them drop to the floor between the walls. How can you take an entire assembly to a store for a consultant/advisor to examine, and they still get it wrong?
After giving myself a few days to laugh about the whole situation, I found myself off to Home Depot again with everything in hand. This time I met a different hardware advisor, explained the situation and, after a careful exam of all my toilet roll holder parts, he agreed that I needed wood screws with larger threads and a flat head, so he suggested using the plastic devices that expand when you tighten the screw into them. Since the holes in my walls were now much larger, he fixed me up with some larger plastic inserts and off I went in great anticipation that this project would soon be completed and I would relax following a job well done.
Well, that did not happen. When I inserted the plastic holder into the drywall, it punched right thru and made the holes even larger, so I tried it again turning the holes up and down instead of left and right. Well, that did not solve the problem either so then I had four holes in the drywall and a toilet paper roll holder sitting on the back of the stool.
A few days later I head back to Home Depot where I find yet another consultant/advisor. This gentleman listened to my story of woe and suggested I buy everything needed to remove the drywall, then replace, tape, mud, sand and paint so I could fix the wall and start over with the original devices to secure the toilet paper roll holder to the wall. At this point, I’m really thinking this is not a good plan and I would soon be calling a handyman service.
However, I decided this toilet paper holder was not going to get the best of me, so I went back to Home Depot the next day and buy the materials to tackle the job myself. This time I met another advisor, told him everything that had happened and he suggested I use molly bolts. I explained that the head MUST be flat and that molly bolt screws with the narrow threads all have round heads and this simply would not work because that’s where I started. His comment; “You know, of course, they make machine screws with flat heads these days.” With that, I bought them, along with new molly bolts, and went home to finish the job. It took me ten minutes and it’s all good as new.
So you might be asking, what’s the point here? As I see it, there are two and they are very true for a multitude of situations in life.
#1 Advisors are NOT all the same so its critical for them to gather all the facts, know all the options and have the experience to come up with the best solution the first time.
#2 When you don’t know what you don’t know, you can experience much unnecessary aggravation.
I hope this story puts a smile on your face. Now I am confident that nobody is going to ask me to help them with a little handyman work around their house!
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Originally published on June 18, 2015 by Searcy Financial Services, your Overland Park, Kansas Financial Planner and Investment Manager.