Being gearheads, we already know you’re helpless without tools. Really helpless, as in forced to call in an expensive tech just to make a stupid routine repair on an appliance. Or expensively tow the car to the dealership for even more expensive repairs. Like yesterday- below freezing out and the VW diesel car wouldn’t go over 100 KPH. A liberal arts major with no tools or training would have called a tow to the nearest VW dealer, 100 kilometers away. Then the dealer would have thrown at least a thousand dollars worth of parts at it, plus maybe another thou in labor. And after sitting in the nice warm dealer’s shop for a day or three, the fuel would have unwaxed and run fine, justifying the expensive unneeded repair in the said unprepared liberal arts major’s mind. Don’t laugh- I’ve seen VW dealers replace thousand dollar injection pumps before to fix diesel fuel fuel waxing!

But being a liberal arts major armed with tools, a fuel filter, and a manual I was prepared. Stopped at the next station offering diesel and topped up the half full tank, and after a couple miles I was cruising at 120 KPH again with power to spare. If that hadn’t worked, I had a spare fuel filter and the tools to change it, following the manual’s instruction I’d done that many times before. If a code was thrown, I had a VAG-COM adapter and the software on my laptop to diagnose.

The average american household is literally littered with TVs, computers, video games, etc.. Other than finding repair advice on the internet, the above are pretty much useless. My relatives are typical- A TV in every room, and while as an AAPL stockholder I thank them for all the iStuff they’ve bought, they don’t need anymore. What they need is tools and the knowledge to use them. So thank’s to Sear’s heavy holiday discounting, over the last few holidays I’ve gotten them tooled up. I gave the kids stuff they can explore with but not do too much damage, and the tools with destructive potential to the adults. Gave my sister in law a cordless drill, and she knows how to use it!

So if you want to give the relatives some real gifts this holiday, skip the electronics (other than a code reader or VOM). Tool ’em up to DIY themselves outa poverty!