I have seen it as "30-30 Guarantee", "30:30 Guarantee", "30/30 Guarantee" and even "20-20 Guarantee".
So Where does it come from?? I was told it originated during the Great Depression (1930's) when masses of unemployed men traveled the rails from town to town and did odd jobs for meals or pocket change. The quality of their work was sometimes dubious and often that freshly painted fence may have just been covered by a layer of white lime instead of paint and washed off after the first rain. So their work was covered by a 30-30 Guarantee....... "thirty feet or thirty seconds, whichever comes first". With Railroad tracks nearby the 'Hobo's' could easily be gone in 30 seconds.
With today's 10 page long disclosures, hold harmless statements, binding arbitration, and a host of other documents that come with a contract or new product purchase it is kind of nice to be able to offer a 3 word warranty... Will society be any worse off for it?
This past year (2009) I have reverted back to doing Handyman work and have often joked with customers about my 30-30 guarantee. I sometimes get a look of shock but usually just a smile or chuckle. I was self employed for 10 years manufacturing a keyboard interface unit for the banking industry which was sold through dealers. During that time I always did any returns/repairs free of charge but often told of my 30-30 warranty in a humorous way.
So who taught me this phrase?? A man named Homer Ferguson. He was a retired older gentleman who lived next door with his wife May and their little Mutt. He would regale me for hours with his stories of the Great Depression and provided a window on the lives of the average person during the early 1930's. He explained and often showed me how to do things with little or no material..... or re-using discarded items to make repairs and create new from old. This lifelong lesson came with another quote "Poor people have poor ways" Often these repairs were shoddy and temporary at best. But his answer was "The best I can afford at any price". He would then joke, "....but I get the 30-30 guarantee..." hoping whomever was listening would ask. "So what is a 30-30 guarantee?"
My life's gift was the ability to work with my hands to create, repair, and mentally visualize the result. This gift has served me well and on several occasion's I have found myself in need of cash (sometimes desperately) and have been blessed by the ability to use tools to repair things, build things and create things from very minimal outlay. I always "go back" if the customer has a problem and I never charge as I feel this is the right thing to do. But I do enjoy sharing my 3 word warranty........."Thirty Feet or Thirty Seconds, Whichever comes first"
Judd Hadley (aka Juddley!)
Created by Juddley
Revised: September 29, 2010 12:48 PM