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Want vs. need: The rest of the story

Last week, I was thinking about how we sometimes buy stuff we don't really need. But, as with every story, there is another side. Here's an example.

A friend of mine bought a wide belt sander. He totally didn't need one but he wanted one and that, as we have learned, is the real motivator. He used it occasionally but for the most part, it collected more dust than it made.

Until his phone rang and the caller told him he was making a set of cabinet doors and was looking for a local shop with a wide belt to sand them out. My fiend told him to bring them in and the “customer” was delighted to pay the hundred bucks.

The next day, he had an ad in the local paper offering sanding services. It's amazing how many guys needed short runs of various woodwork sanded and after that, the wide belt was running almost full time. He even hired another guy to run the sander so he could get some other work done.

I had the idea once that a guy could make a pretty good business by outfitting a trailer out with a wide belt and an edgebander and offering mobile service to local shops. These are two machines that many small shop owners need from time to time but didn't have sufficient need to justify buying them. Might still do it one day …


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