- May 8th, 2010
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The light installation is complete, I put it in last Saturday. That means I’m no longer a failure at life, well not a complete failure just a 50% failure. And if there’s one thing I learnt from my Engineering degree, 50% is a pass, think about that next time you put your life in an Engineer’s hands (flying in a plane, driving a car, walking over a bridge or switching on a power point).
The design worked a treat and the client was happy. I’m not sure what they were expecting but they seemed a little overwhelmed with a custom solution that perfectly fixed all their problems. It makes me wonder what they thought I was doing when I spent over an hour talking to them about what the issues were and what they needed.
Even the installation went fantastically even though there were a few little things I hadn’t fully thought and maybe a vital tool I forgot. Fortunately Keith agreed to come along and brought his ute full of tradie gear so I got away with it. With him taking the lead on the install it even looked like a really nice professional job. I know I can do most of the things an experienced tradesman can do but it’s like the difference between me cooking out of a recipe book and a professional chef, both end products could be described as food but only one bears any resemblance to the picture.
There was a bit of ironic excitement, I was there installing a light designed to prevent the quadraplegic client from burning himself. While at the same time he decided to burn a letter and managed to set his foot on fire, I heard him calling out and looked out the window to see flames climbing up his leg. I managed to stop him burning with only a little damage to myself, mainly due to the plastic fabrics. Unfortunately he ended up with a huge blister covering most of the top of the foot, at least he couldn’t feel it.
The only think I forgot to do was take some pictures. So this is another boring lump of text, here, have a puppy.
In praise of Bunnings
I wanted a three bulb halogen light fitting, preferably running at 12V. Beyond that cheaper was more important that pretty and – because I wanted to play with the wiring – often better. I priced a few different options:
- $100 Southside Lighting, Fyshwick
- $90 Project Lighting, Tuggeranong (With special TADACT discount)
- $52.70 Bunnings, Fyshwick (240V)
It ended up being a bit of a no brainer. I understand it’s hard for a specialist to compete with a massive chain like Bunnings and I agree with supporting better service. Frankly though I would have gotten better service from an illustrated catalog than I got from Southside Lighting, maybe even some pretty models too.
The dimmers I used are designed for standing lamps and came from Southside Lighting. Mind you the product I was quoted wasn’t in stock, they did however have an almost identical one that was $15 cheaper. Catalog wins again… if I had known about the cheaper one I could have brought the quote down to $200.
To finish this up and bring it back to Bunnings. I also discovered this weekend that it’s 1/3rd of the price to buy a cheap extension cable than to buy wire and a plug. I love mass production.
Wandering further off topic
I think we are going to see the end of most of these specialist shops and I couldn’t be happier. When a decent webpage can tell me everything I need to know with better service, they’re doing something wrong. The costs are just far too high to justify in the modern age, these are large shops and Project Lighting had four staff working when I last went in, for two customers (including me).
How long until someone moves through and eats their 100% profit margin with a local online warehouse. And why aren’t I doing it?
Maybe that could be October’s project.