Sunday, March 16, 2008

Home Show, Part II: I Buy a Ladder

(When we last saw our heroine, she was trekking footsore, hungry, but determined through the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show . . . )

Finally, late in the evening, I made up my mind: I bought a 22' Little Giant convertible/extension ladder.

I'd been researching those puppies online practically since last year's Home Show. I found the booth on the lower level shortly after arrival at the convention center early in the afternoon. Hoisted both 22' models: Yeah, I can carry them both, but why mess with the heavier one when I don't need it? Rep informed me of the special Home Show offer--and yes, it compared favorably to what I'd seen at Sear's and online.

But I wanted to take a few hours to consider. Did I need this ladder enough to make a deeper dent in my credit? So I looked at everything else on display downstairs and up and let the idea percolate in my mind.

Just before I'd exhausted the exhibits on the upper level, I watched the demonstration put on by the rep for Jaws, the rival outfit. Interesting.

Or maybe not. The Jaws price was higher and didn't include all the accessories. So I went back down to the lower level and had the Little Giant rep do his demo, now that I knew what questions to ask. As he was at it, a homeowner came by and kept telling me how much he likes his 22' Little Giant and what a great product it is. "Couldn't do without it."

That was reassuring, though I'd pretty well decided to buy it at that point. And I did, with the accessories--step platforms, arms, leg extension, and wheels--thrown in. It'll be delivered in a week or two. It's all very well to say I can't afford it, but there's a lot of work I have to do on this house ASAP that I can't manage with my wobbly twenty-four-year-old wooden 6' stepladder. I figure my life and limbs are worth what I paid.

And pace Consumer Reports, my fingers are worth some common sense and care in setting the new ladder up when it comes.

Yes, I'm the sort of prat who likes to see if she got a good deal. So yes, I was online today checking other Little Giant suppliers, to check out their latest prices. And the deal I got was better than any of them could do, even considering the exorbitant Allegheny County sales tax.

But my search also led me to a Consumer Reports article that said these Little Giant convertible ladders (and indeed, all the 22' convertible ladders they mentioned) are unsafe and not recommended. Not because they don't take the weight or don't work, but because the extension technique isn't idiot-proof.

OK, fine. I can see how you can pinch your fingers if you get them between the rungs of the inner and outer sections as you extend or collapse the ladder. I'll make a note to keep them out of the way. And to wear leather gloves just in case.

And I'll make sure to use the proper handling technique. I know I can carry the thing when it's collapsed. Should be able to manage it when it's extended.

I understand the concern, but the shorter ladders Consumer Reports approves of will not fit the bill. I'll do a followup post on how well I can put the Little Giant 22 Type 1 through its paces after it arrives.


Jennifer said...

I'll look forward o your review... we could use one of those around here! We have a dinky aluminum 6 foot ladder.

Sandy said...

We have an old, rickety, 6' ladder that has just about seen its better days. I've been looking at those new ladders for some time and was not sure about them. I, too, look forward to your review.