A post I created for a local locksmith's blog on his website.
If you happen to be one of those people who still actually watch TV adverts these days rather than fast forwarding through them, thus missing the delight of ex-reality show stars desperately trying to flog frozen fish fingers, then you may have noticed a commercial that's been doing the rounds recently. It's for a car manufacturer; let's give it the codename of Molkswagon, as no-one will ever crack that code.
So in the commercial there's a couple of men buying parachutes from a flying school, but one of the men, unhappy over the prospect of shelling out a bit extra on a quality product, enquires about a tattered one he spots in the "Reduced to Clear" section. The assistant describes how this particular parachute "isn't as rigorously tested" and "the stitching isn't as good," but this isn't enough to deter the shopper, and his eyes light up when he's also offered a free clock radio with the purchase.
Having made his choice, our bargain-hunter looks on as the second shopper walks off with the better-quality parachute. He takes it to his car which is naturally the model being advertised (sharing it's name with 'a good walk spoiled', as Mark Twain might say) and the caption "You get what you pay for" pops up on screen as the advert finishes.
This advert came to mind the other day when I was called out to a man who had got himself into a bit of predicament, lock-wise (This is different to getting into a predicament loch-wise, as that would require a Scottish life buoy rather than a locksmith - it's important not to get these mixed up). The customer in question had been intending to switch his old locks for new, secure antisnap locks. This was very commendable and something, as you'd imagine with me being a locksmith (not a lochsmith), which I'd heartily support.
Regrettably, events took an unfortunate turn for our amateur locksmith when, after purchasing cut-price examples from Dodgylocksforsale.com and casting his eye over a YouTube instructional video, he enthusiastically began the task of fitting them to his patio doors on a sun-soaked Friday afternoon. Four hours later, worn-out and sweating with frustration, and now with doors that could not even be closed as darkness approached, he threw in the towel and called me in to help.
Arriving at the scene of destruction, I found that in attempting to fit the new (but inadequate) locks, he had managed to destroy the whole locking system, rendering it useless, and meaning that entire mechanism now needed replacing. Even at cost price, these mechanisms cost a pretty penny, and thus he was faced with having to pay out a substantial amount more than he would have if he had just called me in to fit quality locks from the start. In trying to save money by ordering cheap locks online and trying to fit them himself he had ended up with a considerably larger bill.
Obviously, not every story will end in quite this level of calamity. Nevertheless, when it comes to home security, as with the parachute in the advert, you do get what you pay for. Going down the route of buying cut-price locks and fitting them yourself is preferable to doing nothing at all, but cheap locks are a much easier target for burglars than their more robust cousins. Add in some incompetent fitting and this only makes the problem worse.
Everyone would like to save money - it's a perfectly natural wish, especially given the times in which we're living, but sometimes the cheapest option is a false economy. The thought of the man risking his life by buying a threadbare parachute in order to save a few pounds may cause us to have a chuckle at his priorities, but we're simultaneously prepared to leave our home insecure by trying to do the same with locks. Our houses and their contents are probably the most valuable things we own. Are you really wanting to defend them with insufficient security measures simply to save a pound or two?
This isn't to say that a locksmith's expert services will break the bank. Yes, you will pay a touch more than you would by fitting the locks yourself, but for that additional cost, you'll be benefitting from the help of a vastly experienced, registered locksmith who knows the trade from top to bottom, after working within it for over 20 years (in my case). It's likely to be less expensive than you might imagine, and in the long term, could save you a great deal of money.
Returning for a moment to the world of TV commercials, you may remember that Stella Artois was once advertised as "Reassuringly Expensive." We'd say SF Locksmiths, could better be described as "Reassuringly Economic". We're not cheap and shoddy, but we certainly don't overcharge either. Offering a professional job, skilfully completed for a fair, reasonable price, we certainly won't leave you plummeting towards the ground at terminal velocity, unsure whether that parachute will deploy or not. We're speaking metaphorically there, by the way, but we also won't do it literally either. That would be a bit cruel.