A couple weeks ago, our gas oven stopped working, so mister handyman here decided to see what might be the problem. Now to start with, I'll admit that I know nothing about repairing a gas stove, but I'm a smart guy I think... I've always been good at troubleshooting, so I should be able to isolate the problem, order appropriate parts, and save the cost of a service call.
So with flashlight in hand, I open the broiler pan and start looking at the parts that connect to the gas line that would heat the oven. Margie had mentioned before that the ovens temperature control was off as it seemed to always get hotter and baking cookies required careful monitoring as the later batches would burn while the first batch would be perfect. However, the problem is much worse now as the oven/broiler won't heat at all.
OK... since the oven won't heat, this thingy I see must be the oven igniter with wires running to who knows where, so I think to myself... self... an igniter must supply a spark or other heat source to get the gas to light, so perhaps it's just a dirty contact that needs a good thumping to clear whatever is causing the contacts to not operate properly. So I thumped it only to have pieces fall to the bottom of the oven tray. Well me thinks... I've found the problem. With the holidays here, we're not going anywhere, and we don't have to bake as our neighbors thoughtfully have dropped off some wonderful baked goods anyway, I put the project on hold.
So today I remembered that I have a broken stove to work on (Margie never complains about how long it takes me to fix things you see), so I look over the stove for the model number, jot it down, and head to the computer to find a source for the part. The Internet is a great place to find appliance repair parts and compare prices so the first place I went was the manufacturers web site and quickly found the repair part that had pieces falling out of it. With a price of $77, I decide that maybe somebody else has a better price so now the search was on.
I had little trouble finding the same part from another source for just over $50, but the part description is what gets me. The very first thing the part description says is... "Caution! This part is EXTREMELY fragile". Oh great, here I am tapping the thing with a hammer and it's EXTREMELY fragile... guess I'm gonna pay some stupid tax as I like to call it.
From the Brian Hoag dictionary...
stupid tax - Additional cost of something due to carelessness, stupidity or just not knowing what you are doing in the first place and going ahead anyway.
Now I admit that I may get lucky this time around and the stupid tax amount may be zero as the part I broke may also be the part causing the oven malfunction. On the other hand, I may be paying substantial stupid tax as once I get this part replaced, I may still have the original problem in which case I'm back to square one.
In the movie "Broken Arrow" which is the story of a stolen nuclear bomb, one of the characters makes a comment that he's not sure which is more troubling, the fact that we lost a nuclear weapon, or that it happens so frequently we developed the term "broken arrow" to describe it. I kinda feel the same way about stupid tax. I've paid plenty of stupid tax in my life, and I obviously haven't learned yet how to avoid it.