Jennifer and I enjoy tool sales. While we understand that “cheap” often translates into “doesn’t last long,” we still gamble once in awhile. So does our friend Carmen.
Several years ago, Harbor Freight Tools had a special on large wagons, the kind similar in appearance to classic Radio Flyer wagons, only larger. Carmen purchased two wagons as shopping carts for her farmer’s market stall. Whenever customers bought huge pumpkins or numerous plants, they could use the wagons to haul purchases to their cars.
Carmen even used a wagon once to deliver a customer to the bathroom. The woman had MS and was in urgent need of restroom facilities. However, she was quite tall and wasn’t sure about squeezing into the unusual conveyance. Then her sense of adventure took over, and Carmen got her to the restroom just in time.
“I used those wagons to death,” Carmen told us. The metal on them eventually bent and rusted out, but the wheels and supports were still good, so Carmen cut wooden planks and support pieces to fashion new platforms. Because she worked with materials she had on hand, one wagon ended up a little wider and the other came out a little longer. She used Sheetrock screws to attach the wood. Recently, when she had to replace wood on one of the wagons, she found it easy to do because she’d used screws instead of nails on the original repair.
Instead of discarding the old tires, she used “Green Slime” to repair them. (SLiME Tire Sealant is formulated for use in pneumatic tires.) “The valve core on one inner tube was shot,” she said, “so I used the core from another inner tube I had been cutting up for gasket material.”
When Carmen goes to market, she uses a wagon as a shopping cart by placing two wooden fruit boxes on the platform to hold her purchases.
Carmen’s ingenuity inspires us. Now we can hardly wait for the next sale at our favorite cheap-tool store!
Written by Fiercely Frugal Savage Sister Diana; photos by Carmen Davis-Stevens
© 2009, The Savage Sisters