Taking Your Gardening Dollar

A Pox on the Person Who Invented This Hose (Or: What Do You Expect for $14.99?)

HoseWhat a smart purchase I once believed this to be.  A little spiral hose that would coil right up on command, and then spring into action whenever I had a watering task for it.  In the small side yard off my kitchen door, where I had just planted a new garden that would require extra TLC, this would be perfect.  Or so I believed.

In fact, it turns out that a hose that is already predisposed to this level of coiling and twisting will–guess what?–turn into a hopeless, tangled mess the minute you take it out of its cute little package.  My heavy-duty, no-tangle, no-kink garden hose gets tied in knots.  Why, oh why, did I think this one would be any better?

Watering is usually a very pleasant, meditative task for me.  I don’t do it often; we suffer from six-month droughts and I force my plants to tough it out, giving them a drink only once every few weeks.  But when I do water, I stand out there with the hose, enjoying the forced vacation from the phone and the computer, contemplating my lovely if disheveled garden and thinking of little else.

But all that changed with the acquisition of the Piece of Crap Spiral Hose. Now I fight the hose, attempting to unwind, untangle, and unkink it without spraying water all over myself, backtracking every time it curls back onto itself, creating as many tangles as I remove.  And so when water actually does flow from this miserable piece of plastic junk, I stand there fuming and compiling long lists of punishments I’d like to inflict on the person who allowed this thing to exist in the first place.

So, Inventor of the Cheap Spiral Hose, here are the curses I inflict upon you:

  • You will never, ever able to get a decent parking space again.  Ever.  So much so that people eventually refuse to go out with you on the ground that your Parking Curse will cause their hair to go all flat in the heat during the long walk from the car.  This includes getting ready to back into a parallel-park space just as someone comes up from behind and slides in to your spot.  This will happen often.
  • Suddenly not being able to find pants that fit anymore.  What happened?  You’ll never know.
  • Your next-door neighbor will buy the same brand of cordless phone that you have, turning your private line into a static-filled two-party line.
  • The little magnetic stripe on your credit card will stop working and your attempts to get a new one from your credit card company will not succeed.  You will forever hold up check-out lines as clerks call their managers for assistance.  There will often be extra humiliation as the clerk assumes that your card is being rejected because of your poor credit history.
  • All of your pens will run out of ink at once, forcing you to go buy a whole new batch, knowing that they, too, will all run out of ink at once.  Well-intentioned plans to stagger the usage of the pens in order to avoid this situation will fail.
  • On the most miserably cold, rainy mornings, you will wake to find yourself out of milk, which you absolutely require in your coffee.
  • Attempting to renew magazines online will only result in your getting two copies of each issue for half the time, with twice the number of renewal notices arriving by mail.  Multiple phone calls will not solve this problem, except to make you grow to hate the magazine, which is depressing in itself as there are so few decent magazines anymore.
  • Cool former college roommates will come into town for a visit, look through your CDs, and point out that you haven’t bought any new music in ten years. You will be too humiliated to even craft a convincing lie about how you download your tunes now. 

Oh, wait.  I think I just described my life.  I wish all this on the aforementioned Terrible Inventor, only worse, and more so.

Take that.

Posted by on August 4, 2008 at 5:41 am, in the category Taking Your Gardening Dollar.
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27 responses to “A Pox on the Person Who Invented This Hose (Or: What Do You Expect for $14.99?)”

  1. Eliz says:

    Oh dammit, I was going to buy one of those. Who knows of a good, lightweight garden hose?

  2. Ron Rivera says:

    All of your pens will run out of ink at once, forcing you to go buy a whole new batch, knowing that they, too, will all run out of ink at once. Well-intentioned plans to stagger the usage of the pens in order to avoid this situation will fail.

  3. jgh says:

    Harsh! :-)
    I just read something where they tested the different kinds of hoses and they determined that the grey rubber ones are best. But I’m sure with our luck they are the most expensive and heaviest too.

  4. I’ve had one of those nasty hoses – and I hated it! It was always getting tangled up! I agree with your curses.

  5. Layanee says:

    This is very entertaining. It wasn’t me, honest but the pant thing is going on anyway! Oh, and the CD thing…I am going out to buy some new ones. Which ones will say ‘You are totally cool’? I need direction here. Add “A pox on your plants” to that list.

  6. Ron Rivera says:

    Attempting to renew magazines online will only result in your getting two copies of each issue for half the time, with twice the number of renewal notices arriving by mail. Multiple phone calls will not solve this problem, except to make you grow to hate the magazine, which is depressing in itself as there are so few decent magazines anymore.

  7. Sheila says:

    I had one of those hose and I thought I was the only person in the world that couldn’t figure out how to use it! Every time I set it down for a second to move a pot or pull a weed the darn thing sprang back to the other side of the deck on me! It drove me crazy! Thank goodness I’m not the only one.

  8. greg draiss says:

    even the $50 ones su*k.
    What you need is an infra-red hose.
    Just turn on the spigot and walk where ever you want with your nozzle. Water is transported through infrared waves directly to you wand or nozzle………..

    The(wishfull thinking)TROLL

  9. Claire Splan says:

    I have one of those but it’s a very pretty blue. Not the first time I’ve been seduced by color. I don’t hate it quite as much as the el cheapo hose I had before that constantly kinked and actually fought back, but the quest continues for a really good hose.

  10. Kitt says:

    Ha! I love the litany of revenge. I have seen versions of these that do work, but they are very expensive. Of course.

  11. deb says:

    I bought two of those horrid things. Worst purchase of my life.

  12. Reading Dirt says:

    I’ve got a spiral hose that kinda works, but you know, after a lifetime of experiences with phone cords (remember phone cords? Anyone?) you’d think I would have known better. Spiral hose/cord that just retracts — yeah. Right.

  13. Mischelle says:

    I feel your pain. I, too, was seduced by this awful hose. It was going to be the answer to my need for a lightweight option to water my porch plants. I had visions of gracefully moving from pot to pot, lovingly tending each plant. Reality? It’s more like yanking, pulling, getting tangled in the mess of spirals while managing to soak everything in my path including myself. I’m sure the neighbors are entertained, though.

    Curses, you sadistic hose designers.

  14. Gail says:

    I concur…the hose is worthless and it had no water pressure coming through it! The other one I bought at the same time was the one that was flat, rolled up easily and could be run over by a truck…which was a good thing because it had to be laid out in the sun to dry before you could roll it back up or it rotted! Naturally the only place I could lay it out in the sun to dry was the driveway where it was repeatedly run over. You can’t run over the male and female hose ends. Both in the garbage can!

  15. Rosella says:

    “the one that was flat, rolled up easily and could be run over by a truck”……Oooh! I had one of those –purchased at Target at vast expense — $20, I think, for about 20 feet. It was indeed lightweight, but about two weeks into its lifetime it sprang leaks all along the seams and ended in the trash can pronto. Now, I have a nice new dark grey hose with a lifetime guarantee and a promise of no kinking. Unfortunately, it has already begun to leak at the coupling, so the hose and I are about to go back and test the “lifetime guarantee”. I DO like the idea of the infra-red waves, but what happens if they too kink? Water might be transmitted to the garden across the road or into the upstairs bedroom or the freshly-painted living room.

  16. Cindy, MCOK says:

    The seduction of the spiral hose, I know it well. It does seem to help with the tangling, etc. to have a hose basket designed to hold that type of hose. What makes me crazy about it is that it always kinks AFTER I’ve pulled it all the way out to the end of the sidewalk, so I have to walk back up the sidewalk to unkink it, then back down to the end again (hoping all the while that it doesn’t kink a second time). And being that it’s a piece of crap hose, the vinyl breaks down very quickly if left outdoors. I noticed yesterday that mine has sprung numerous tiny leaks, not enough to affect its performance significantly but enough to get me more than a little wet. So why am I contemplating buying another one?

  17. Like Mischelle, I purchased both the spiral and flat hose at the same time. They both seemed like such good ideas. In hind sight, I wonder what I was ever thinking. Nice to know I was not the only one seduced by these crazy things. Now I only buy those really heavy no-kink hoses. They last for more than a season, and I am building up great muscles lugging them around the garden.

  18. thistleandthorn says:

    Blue, coiled, gray, whatever. Just don’t drink from them! (Unless they are white)

  19. Old Kim says:

    The ideal hose hasn’t been invented. Those spiral hoses have been around for years and I quit selling them as soon as the first one sold was returned as defective.
    So I’ve resorted to easy and just leave hoses laying around. Mine are green because they blend in better. Hose couplers with an on and off turner works great for attaching 20 ft cheap hoses to reach farthur away.
    The best hoses still are heavy and I’m only rolling mine up when
    guests come over.

  20. mycatearl says:

    Amy, as a hose “sufferer.”..you might enjoy this article that recently ran in our local paper about the garden writer’s travails with his hose. He hated the spiral ones, too; but he did find one that he liked…..

    Here’s the link –
    http://www.al.com/hg/mobileregister/bfinch.ssf?/base/living/121637252086990.xml&coll=3&thispage=1

  21. Every year, I swear…I stand at the top of the escalator to the NW Flower & Garden Show, or at the entrance to Cow Palace in SF and watch dozens of innocent flower show attendees haul those coiled garden hoses home. Tucked under their arms, with promises of “easy” gardening chores on the horizon….what a huge waste of money and energy. I am with you, Amy. These hoses are the most worthless “accessories” marketed to gardeners in recent memory.
    The basic green hose is about the best thing I can think of.
    debra

  22. Barry Prince says:

    Thanks for stopping me from buying one.

    I am still amazed that we can’t get a decent waterhose on a consistent basis. Even price does not seem to be a useful discriminator anymore. I have had cheapy Walmart ones do great (or not sometimes), and expensive ones really be bad (or not). I am surprised it has not made it on anyone’s Presidential platform to address this…

  23. MarkDPelhamNY says:

    You need a coiled boat hose – go to a marine supply store. I had one for several years when I lived in an apartment with a terrace garden – it was awesome. “Marine” hardware is really an order of magnitude better than things for landlubbers – the rigors of life at sea and all. It will be much more than $15, but then a “bargain’s not a bargain” and all that.

  24. cloverann says:

    I had to laugh – and concur – I labeled this hose, about…oh, 20 minutes.. after we got home from COSTCO “The Hose From Hell”.
    It currently is in “use” in the chicken pen, where an equally lousy nozzle has permanently attached itself on the end. WHY don’t I throw the whole thing away???

  25. Lori says:

    Heehee. I was stupid enough to buy one of these, and I think I used it, oh, twice. It’s sitting in my garden shed, taking up space. And there isn’t anyone I dislike enough to give it to. ;P

  26. Barbara says:

    Two people – stretch it completely out. Water from there – do not move. If this is not practical – feng shui it – out it goes.

  27. grcg says:

    I have one of these, and I would have to agree that it is not as spiffy as advertized. The two things that make it useful to me are 1) I have a long pot I use to store it neatly in its coils. and 2) I have two ‘straight line’ paths that I use this hose for. I don’t have to make any turns with it. Otherwise, I don’t think I would have the patience for it. I don’t know that I will buy another.

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