Amy Rees Anderson: Learn to trust people with firsthand experience

By Amy Rees Anderson

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Feb. 11 2013 10:45 a.m. MST

The Wovel taught the author that it is important to trust people who have more experience than you do.

Amy Rees Anderson

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Just over five years ago, my husband and I were married. At the time, I had been a divorced, single mother of two for many years with a daughter who was 11 and a son who was 14. We were married on New Year’s Eve, so winter weather was in full force here in Utah, with plenty of snow coming down. During my years as a single mom I had fabulous neighbors who were always willing to shovel my driveway whenever there was snowfall, so I had never had to deal with shoveling any snow myself. It can be said that I was completely and totally inexperienced in the art of shoveling snow.

A few weeks after our honeymoon we experienced a huge snowstorm. My husband came into our living room and said, “Babe, we need a snow shovel.” I responded, “Why don’t we just order a snow blower?” (After all, each of our neighbors seemed to use those, so why wouldn’t we?) He explained that a shovel would be better than a blower because we would be able to teach our 14-year-old son the value of hard work and manual labor. He then left the house to run some errands.

Being the independent and highly capable entrepreneur that I was — or at least that I considered myself to be — I decided to take it upon myself to find and purchase the most advanced snow shovel on the market. I did what any good entrepreneur does and Googled “most advanced snow shovel.” I was thrilled when my search results came back with a snow shovel that was recommended by Bob Villa himself! Now, I knew that name because I had been an avid fan of Tim Allen’s television series Home Improvement and I remembered that during their “Tool Time” spots they often sang high praises of Bob Villa as the tool expert. I also found that this particular shovel had been named “Invention of the Year” by Time magazine! Even more importantly, it was being touted as the world’s safest shovel, and what mother wouldn’t want her son to use the world’s safest shovel to shovel her walks? It was clear to me that this shovel must be fantastic!

I wasn’t deterred at the price tag of several hundred dollars because I had never purchased a snow shovel before, so I had nothing else to compare it to. I even paid overnight shipping charges that were almost as hefty as the price of the shovel itself because the weight of the box was well over 30 pounds. After all, we needed it quickly to handle the snow that was accumulating outside.

Thrilled with my purchase, I waited anxiously for my husband and son to return home so I could share the good news with them. When they arrived home I ran to exclaim the news of this amazing purchase I had just made for them. “Why would you order a shovel online?” he asked. “We can just pick one up down the street from the local hardware store.” He was clearly bewildered. This was no ordinary snow shovel, I explained. This was “The Wovel” and it was the best snow shovel on the market! Bob Villa himself endorsed it and Time magazine picked it as the “Invention of the Year.” What could be better than that? I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t excited. When I explained that the shovel even came with its own instructional DVD on how to use it, my husband stopped the conversation and proclaimed, “Cancel the order.” I couldn’t cancel it as I had paid extra to overnight it and it was already on its way. I was surprised by his response because I thought I was doing something wonderful and he was putting it down without even seeing this amazing shovel. Given that we were just newlyweds and he didn’t want to hurt his wife’s feelings, he agreed to wait until it arrived and try it at least one time. Then if he didn’t like it, we would send it back. That was our compromise, but deep down I was certain that victory would be mine once he experienced how incredible my purchase was.

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