Friday, April 27, 2012

I Can’t Say the Ford E-250 Is A Pleasure To Drive, But It Does Its Job Well

Ikea delivery will be $169?  Bah!  We can do better than that ourselves, right?  Let’s rent a van and go get the stuff ourselves.

Such was our plan one recent Sunday morning.

You can rent a cargo van at U-Haul for $19.95 plus $0.49/km.  Great, just $20!

Wait, what’s that small print?  Oh, $0.49/kilometer.  It’s about 30 km to the Ikea in Etobicoke, so 30 km x 2 (there and back) x $0.49 = $29.4.

So we’re up to $50.

Our plan was to take the whole family to Ikea, have lunch there, let our son play in the kids area and get some big pieces of furniture.  If all went according to plan, we’d all drive to the U-Haul, I’d get the van, and we’d all drive on to Ikea.

Only, we’re a little behind schedule.  How to get me to U-Haul while mummy gets the kids ready?  Take a cab.

We’re now up to $75.

One could argue that this wasn’t a direct, unavoidable cost, but it is something I had to pay for in order to get this furniture.

At the U-Haul all went very well.  This was a Sunday and it was not busy at all.  The guy at the counter said that the previous day would have seen me waiting over an hour.  Pro tip #1: don’t rent at U-Haul on Saturday.

I decided to rent a dolly to move a big piece of furniture already in the house.  That’s another $7.  (Really?  A $40,000 van for $20, a $100 dolly for $7?  I think I’ll start a business renting just dollies.)

The U-Haul guy offered me some optional insurance on the van for about $17.  I had no idea if my car insurance or if paying by Visa covers me, so I bought that.

So all totaled, U-Haul will cost $20 + $30 (mileage) + $7 (dolly) + $17 (insurance) + HST = $83.62.  Add in the cab ride and our total so far is $108.62.

And I have to replace the gas I used before I drop off the van.  Yay.

Off to Ikea in a bill board on wheels on a windy day.  This isn’t a just a big minivan.  This is a Ford F-250 pickup-based, almost full lane-wide, 7 foot tall, 18 foot long monster.  Basic everything inside.  Geared and built for 1 thing – carrying a lot of heavy stuff from 1 place to another.  Totally exceeded my requirements.  I’d have been happy with a GMC Savana, or even just a minivan. But, it did have a line-in jack on the AM/FM radio.

The reason we chose the Etobicoke Ikea was the covered parking.  I hadn’t checked the dimensions on the van before entering the 9-foot limit parking garage, but it fit.  It quickly became obvious that I’d need to park far from other cars because of the tight spaces and corners.  Pro tip #2: when driving a new vehicle know it’s dimensions.

Shopping was ok, but the play area was full when we went to drop our son off, so there was much crying.  It was a little heartbreaking to have to tell him because we’d been mentioning it all day.  Ikea is really best visited with children on a weekday.

Ikea has spots near the door for loading your car, but in the covered parking you cannot back an 18 foot van into one of those spots.  Pro tip #3: stick to the uncovered parking with anything bigger than a minivan.  Or just wheel your purchases to your present, easily accessed parking spot.

Furniture loaded, we headed home.  Do not try to drive in anything but the right lane on the highway in a Ford E-250.  It really shouldn’t go above 110 km/h.  Anything more is a little hard to control.  It’s so wide that even the smallest variation can leave you too close to the next lane.  That’s how it felt, anyway.

By the time it was time to take the van back both children were fast asleep.  This meant I’d need another cab ride home.  Add another $25.  Replacing gas cost $20.

The final total for the day was $83.62 for U-Haul + $50 for 2 cab rides + $20 for gas = $153.62.  We saved $15.38 over Ikea’s deliver cost.  On the plus side, we got the furniture on the same day.

This could be done for much less than Ikea’s delivery cost.  Eliminate the need for the taxi, research insurance coverage, won’t need the dolly next time.  Renting a smaller vehicle from a car rental place would probably help, too. Enterprise rents a GMC Savana/Express for $50, which includes 200 km. They’d probably pick you up, too.

By the way, I didn’t even need the dolly.  The thing I wanted to move was too big for it, and it came apart just like Ikea furniture.  Live and learn!

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