Noisy and pointless (no, not the Senate)

Is there a more goddamned useless invention in common use than the leaf blower? In exchange for droning noise and unpleasant exhaust you get leaves that have been blown around… blown around. Here’s one of the two offenders in my office parking lot today doing their part for monoxide emissions. The end result being all those leaves make their way from the sidewalk to the parking lot. Because they won’t be collecting them in any way, they’re just going to have them rot in a different location.

The only person ever to give me a valid reason for using a leaf blower lived in Manassas where the county did curbside vacuuming of leaves, so getting them all down into the street had some purpose. Most time I see these used they’re just making the leaves Someone Else’s Problem. Which might be at least a reasonable if rude goal except for that one thing that no leaf blower user seems to have ever considered:


Seriously you clowns, you think some sort of leaf blower magic keeps them from just blowing right back to where they were? Buy a fracking rake and some garbage bags.

11 Comments so far

  1. Mitch and Murray (unregistered) on October 27th, 2006 @ 1:57 pm

    Bagging leaves is about 1000 times easier when they are all in a big pile, and a leaf blower is WAY easier on one’s back than raking, plus it’s a hell of a lot faster. If you’ve ever had to rake a yard full of leaves, you would know the value of a leaf blower. NOT to mention that if you want to remove leaves from a large area with plants you aren’t intending to kill, it’s much faster and safer (for the plants) to blow the leaves out rather than precisely rake around them.

    Furthermore, some leaf blowers can be configured to vaccuum so that, when attached to a bag or trashcan, make the bagging process much simpler.

    And, I’m sure you know that leaving leaves in your yard UNremoved can be bad for business, attracting rats, bugs and even killing your grass.

  2. Doug (unregistered) on October 27th, 2006 @ 2:21 pm

    I’m with Don on this one, and it’s funny he should bring it up. I absolutely loathe leaf blowers. I was just saying to my sister last week, “If I could get my hands on the guy that invented those things…”

    Raking is good exercise, and almost zen in a way. But not in this country, everything has to be “improved” by attaching a hydrocarbon belching gas engine to it.

    When I visited the Kennedy graves recently they had these signs “Quiet please, show respect!,” and ironically there was a team of guys with those obnoxious things working the area. You couldn’t carry on a low conversation with another person standing ear-to-ear.

  3. Don (unregistered) on October 27th, 2006 @ 2:35 pm

    I’ve no doubt there’s a few circumstances where blowers serve a purpose such as the cited delicate plants. However that’s rarely how they’re used. As luck would have it, the above is a cropped version of
    this picture.
    See much delicate foliage? See any attempt to make a pile?

    Nope. It’s just the standard leaf blower practice of Get Them Away From Here. Who cares if it’s out in the parking lot to make a grubby mess or, better yet, someone else’s yard?

    As far as backbreaking… give ME a break. I don’t see management going out of their way to make those guy’s jobs easier in any other way. Putting leaf blowers rather than rakes in their hands has NOTHING to do with less labor and everything to do with cheaper & quicker, regardless of the consequences to my eardrums or the atmosphere.

  4. Doug (unregistered) on October 27th, 2006 @ 3:37 pm

    Bingo. My mother is older and widowed. Before she sold her house I would go over there to help out. In the fall, the guy next door would use one of those things to clear his yard of leaves. Not only did you have to put up with the racket, guess where the leaves ended up? That’s right, in her yard. And guess who would go out there and rake them up and put them in the compost? So, effectively I was also raking his yard. What a prick and good riddance.

  5. Be_stress-free (unregistered) on October 27th, 2006 @ 3:41 pm

    I have to say it’s the worse offense to the environment – first they use a non-renewable resource to make the machines run, then it’s spewing out gasoline exhaust (the smell and fumes make me cough and gag) and the noise pollution is painful and gawd awful!

    I doubt that it’s any more cheaper or quicker than to have another guy on board to rake.

  6. Doug (unregistered) on October 27th, 2006 @ 4:02 pm

    Noise pollution used to be a hot issue, yet you rarely hear about it any longer (sorry for the bad pun). Now days it seems everything is running on fossil fuel. Why use an ax when you can blow $500 on a gas-powered log splitter?

    Rainy days like today can be dreary, but I love them because no one is out mowing their useless lawns, blowing leaves around, running table saws, jack hammers, and other assorted obnoxious devices.

    When the last drop of oil is sucked from the planet, the people who forgot how to rake leaves, or walk a few blocks to the store instead of driving, will be in a world of hurt.

  7. wayan (unregistered) on October 27th, 2006 @ 4:06 pm

    I can just see it now, the next leaf collecting improvment: leafblowers on Segway, the sidewalk SUV.

  8. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on October 27th, 2006 @ 4:20 pm

    Not all leaf-blowers are gas-powered. I had an electric one that I was forced to use to clear leaves with, growing up. Of course, part of that was bagging it up, or putting it in piles on alternating Tuesdays for the bulk waste folks to get.

  9. Mike (unregistered) on October 27th, 2006 @ 4:28 pm

    I had an electric leaf-blower at my last house. I could clean up my yard in 1/10th the time it would’ve taken with a rake and it did a better job as well. The problem isn’t so much the leaf-blowers, lawnmowers, etc. The problem is yards. Yardwork is a crime against humanity regardless of the tools used.

  10. Be_stress-free (unregistered) on October 27th, 2006 @ 6:13 pm

    Still, just think of the health benefits you get from raking vs. using a machine, whether gas or electric (which also uses some kind of energy resource that produces CO2 into the air). Getting your exercise and being able to breathe the air while you do it. I can’t imagine that you can breathe deeply when you are using a blower for fear of inhaling whatever is lifted up off the ground.

  11. veraciraptor (unregistered) on November 11th, 2006 @ 6:26 pm

    “And, I’m sure you know that leaving leaves in your yard UNremoved can be bad for business, attracting rats, bugs and even killing your grass.”

    Oh yeah, rats love to feast on … leaves. Yeah, right. So do all those bugs which come out, er, when the weather gets cold. LOL. And as for grass, it is a miracle it has survived all these millennia with that scourge of trees actually dropping their leaves every year. Thank goodness we’ve invented this great tool before grass became extinct.

    Face it, the only reason people like LBs are because they are L-A-Z-Y. Americans are fatter and lazier than ever. We’d rather destroy the earth and fund the Sauds than actually get some exercise with a good old fashioned rake.

    The mean, greedy, lazy aggressive SUV, leaf blower culture is a corruption of the true American spirit IMHO. Americans were once humble, hardworking and down to earth. Now we’re becoming selfish, lazy bastards who will run people over for a parking spot — just to save from walking an extra 50 feet. The leaf blower is the ultimate in selfish behavior — you annoy your neighbors on a Sunday morning, you blow dust and dirt over to their side, you pollute the earth so your children will have to deal with it, all because you can’t get off your fat lazy ass and do some real work for a change (as opposed to sitting on your fat as sbehind a computer all day like most of us).

    Leaf blowers are a symptom of a larger problem– the decline of the American soul.

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