I was with my twelve year old son in a local discount store, when he spotted a bright red plastic megaphone in the “Clearance” section, regular price $14.99, now just $4.99. With ideas bursting out of his pre-teen brain he just had to have it, so he purchased it (with his own money) and took it home.
The first hitch was it needs four “C” type batteries, no longer a common item in our supplies drawer. He scrounged two that he found lying around, but had to go to the local convenience store to get two more. Finding out that convenience comes at a premium, he purchased two new batteries for a sobering $5.99. The wrapping flies as he excitedly assembles the toy — only to find that it doesn’t work. A quick test finds one of the scrounged batteries is flat. Presented with the reality that he will have to buy two more new batteries, my son is realizing the deal on the megaphone is not as sweet as he first thought.
Fast forward a few days, and two more new batteries are acquired, and excitement again builds. Batteries, in and.. nope, it doesn’t work. Now he is mad. Not only a waste of money for the megaphone, but also the cost of the batteries AND the time trying to get it all together. It is seconds from the trash bin before a Dad intervention.
Does this sound familiar?
I have witnessed stories like this many times, particularly with Digital Signage projects, where hasty decisions paired with discount technology and sloppy installation lead to frustration and waste.
This story does have a happy ending, though. A quick inspection revealed a broken connection due to rushed assembly. Five minutes of soldering later, my son has a working megaphone. At least he is happy…
Don’t rush your technical projects. Understand all the costs. Invest in quality installation. And if you have a project in ruins on your hands, it is worth investing at least a bit more time to see what can be salvaged before throwing all that time, effort and technology away.