Reading the instruction manual generally gives good results - provided you keep the pages right side up when doing so.

I bought one of those fancy gas powered weed eaters a couple of weeks ago. I’d always wanted one. After all, they seemed to be what you see real groundkeepers using.

Like I say I’d wanted one for a long time, but the cost! Oh my, the cost! If you shop around you can find a weed eater that costs a lot less.

Of course you have to put up with the extension cord but when you consider the cost—and you really should consider the cost—the single string electric unit looks pretty good.

Not to mention that Canadian Tire sells electric weed eaters, and everything that Canadian Tire sells eventually goes on sale. It might even get marked down to half-price and then the electric unit really does make some sense.

But last month I bought the gas unit—not their top of the line model. After all, you have to be practical you know.

What tipped the scales in favour of the purchase was the Stihl flyer that came in the mail. It was a glossy flyer with pictures of nice shiny weed eaters. I thought maybe now was the time to make the leap.

What clinched was the display of Stihl weed eaters at CVS in Rock Creek. The sale prices in the flyer were available at CVS too. Bonus!

So I asked helpful CVS salesclerk Emilio what the difference was between the lowest priced unit and the next model up. He told me the more expensive one was easier to start—he may have said something about an automatic choke.

But I figured that if I was paying big bucks for a brand new gas weed eater that it should be easy enough to start— just follow the instructions right?

So I went for the entry-level model.

Back at home I took care to read the manual on how to start it. Push the bulb to prime the line – put the choke on and then pull the start cord a maximum of five times. Then take the choke off and give the cord another pull and it should be running. So I went out to the yard and I do all this stuff exactly as the manual said. Prime the line—flip the choke—pull.

And pull and pull and pull and pull. And nothing.

Man oh man—I was not impressed.

Emilio said the higher priced unit was easier to start, but maybe I should have asked if this one was even possible to start.

I did finally manage to get it going—on day two. But the problem was it would only run with the choke on.

So I took the thing back for Emilio to check out. He called me up later to say it was ready and offered a lesson in starting it.

I was offended! After all, I HAD read the manual – twice in fact, once before I went out to start it and then again after it wouldn’t start.

When I picked it up I got a lesson in both weed eater starting and humility.

Emilio did the start-up procedure and had it idling just fine in just a few pulls. He said I must have flooded it.

One thing he did do differently though. He used the choke lever opposite to what I had been doing. I almost opened my mouth and to tell him he was doing it wrong. But it dawned on me how stupid that would make me look and I simply thanked him and took my weed eater


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