May 8, 2017 - Robert John Hadfield

My Ford Pinto Dillema

There are some things that you can do yourself that just aren't worth it.


When I was in college I had a 1974 Ford Pinto station wagon. The car was nearly twenty years old at the time, so it had its share of maintenance and repair issues. As a poor college student, I remember how much I hated paying for those repairs, so I started figuring out how to repair things myself.

A few years later we had a Mercury Topaz, and Pontiac Grand Prix and then a Mercury Villager. I bought books for each one and I was the primary mechanic that worked on each. I replaced a few water pumps, a radiator and a laundry list of other minor repairs. I saved an enormous amount of money and learned some great skills along the way.

But a few years ago my perspective started to change. A water pump went out in our minivan and, just like I had done for years, I pulled it out and replaced it. But this time, while I had my hand contorted down between some hoses,  I thought, “Why am I doing this?”

I don’t have great tools and I’m really not a mechanic, so my car repairs almost always take many hours longer than a trained professional. But here I was again,  in my driveway spending hours and hours trying to reach bolts, wiggling parts loose, running back and forth to the parts store to find some little item no one told me about, etc. So for the first time I started thinking that I need to let go.

I started thinking about my business, my family, and a list of things I wanted or needed to be doing. So things changed. Over the next couple of years as repairs became necessary, I paid someone else to do it. And then finally, I bought a new car with a warranty! I didn’t want to be bothered with repairs at all!

And I’ve never looked back. When I was a younger man, I saved money, became self-sufficient, and learned valuable skills. But 20 years later, I have other priorities that are far more pressing than trading my time to save a few dollars.

Over the years I have received many phone calls from people talking about this same issue in relation to their cassette or video projects. In some cases the person calling had started the process themselves and realized the massive time investment that would be required to digitize a 2,000 cassette tape library, in other cases, people had purchased equipment hoping to do the project themselves only to find out that the equipment was a real headache and was much more complicated than they had anticipated. And there are even some cases where the person has the time, energy and willingness to do the work, but prefers to have an organization like ours take care of it so they can simply have the finished result more quickly.

It seems that almost every successful organization sells convenience and time. And our company is no different. But we add one additional thing – expertise. Just like the mechanics that work on my car! When I put my car in the hands of experts, I have the added comfort of knowing that my car is being handled people who have fixed thousands of cars, who know what to look for and know how to do the job correctly. There is value in that.

Convenience, time and expertise are valuable commodities, but the actual monetary value can only be decided individually. I am proud to have an organization that offers such important benefits to those who feel their time is better used doing something other than the work we can do for them.

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