My mother-in law has made several mistakes in her life, but few rank as high as her comment that one of our brand new kitties was so “absolutely cute” that she wished she could have one.
The story begins one cold, blustery day in December when my mother-in-law came for a short visit to our house. During her stop, she heard a muffled meowing coming from a crate on our front porch that had old quilting poking out between the slats. At once, she bent down to carefully peer into the well-insulated wooden box and saw a moving, purring mound of black and white fur comprised of a mother cat and four cute kitties all snuggled safely together. Almost everyone loves the sight of a four-week old kitty-cat and, if I can say it, especially women. After all, kittens are furry, fun, curious and cuddly, and these had a large sympathy quotient, as there was a bit of a chill in the air.
With Christmas looming large on the horizon, guess what brilliant idea I had and what the mother-in law got under the tree? A lovable, black and white kitten freshly weened and ready for all the affection a mother could supply. I didn’t leave her totally empty-handed with her new pet. She also got a huge bag of kitty litter, several bags of food, bowls and assorted toys.
Everyone was happy, right? My mother-in-law got a new friend, the cat was off the front porch and I found a sucker willing to take in a new border.
But then, as things tend to do, the shine comes off the penny a bit, when the cat (not cuddly kitty anymore) uses the antique couch leg for a scratching post, starts coughing up who knows what staining the carpet and seems to reject every brand of cat food costing less than $25 a bag. Let me put it this way; you know you are in trouble when the only food your cat can hold down consists of whole Atlantic herring, yellowtail flounder, chickpeas and sun dried green lentils. I mean, I don’t even know what “sun dried lentil” are!
An elevator can be the same in a way. Everyone is excited to get one and they arrive fresh and new with bright buttons and shiny doors, plus all the stuff you need; a ring full of keys that jingle when you walk, a tank full of oil and a friendly man that stops by every once in a while to keep it purring just like it is supposed to.
The shine comes off the elevator penny as well. It gets dinged and scratched from every day use, it shakes a bit and groans a little more and the costs keep piling up. Many don’t realize with cats you are talking about life span of costs of around 15 years. Vets, medicine, food, toys, time, destruction and on and on the list of expenses goes and builds. An elevator has a lifespan of twice that with a similar list of expenses. Oil or ropes, lube, parts, wear and tear and the biggest expense of all, monthly maintenance. Bigg elevator companies can charge as much as $250 for a hydraulic elevator every month,whether they come out to check the unit or not. For a traction unit, Bigg Elevator starts their pricing at $600 per unit per month. To make matters worse, the maintenance fee can be automatically increased at the whim of the elevator company. Don’t believe me? Check your current contract.
The bottom line is that when getting an elevator or pet, think long-term as far as the costs are concerned.
Long-term, know that the initial elevator investment is often the tip of the iceberg and Bigg Elevator can make the price look awfully attractive to get you locked in, until the boom is lowered with future costs. Instead, be a smart buyer and get what you need, not what is being pushed, before signing on the dotted line. As an example right now we are getting lots of calls from wary consumers being up-sold traction units with proprietary parts on two-story and three-story buildings. Not cool. They are more expensive up front and in maintenance costs in the long run and are simply not needed in most cases. Why saddle yourself with a larger bill than you need for the life of an elevator?
The long-term expense for giving a pet as gifts means weighing carefully the value of the relationship with your mother-in-law versus the cost of raising the pet yourself…well…looks like mom gets a puppy for Christmas this year.
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