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December 8, 2005

Let bookofjoe reader Greg Scavezze make you rich


As you well know, from time to time I mention an idea for a product or service that I think might indeed provide a handsome financial reward to its first successful mover.

Greg Scavezza, a Utah reader, yesterday commented on the Trail Blazer® Snow Auger (above and below), which he purchased after reading about it here.

This is what he wrote:

    Well, I decided to buy one of these things to try it out.

    I fought my way to the Home Depot, on the way home from work, during the biggest snowfall this year.

    I made my way to the show shovel aisle and lo and behold, there was one and only one left.

    It comes in a box and not pre–assembled, so it doesn't jump out at you.

    Anyway, I purchased it and rushed home to try it out.

    The verdict?

    Here are the pros and cons:


    1. The snow pushes much easier. I tested it on 4" of new powdery Utah snow.

    2. It is easy to handle and not heavy at all. It seems reasonably well constructed.

    3. It is perfect for doing sidewalks as you can make two passes and clear the snow quite easily.


    1. If you push the snow from a comfortable upright position, it causes the bottom of the shovel to hover about 1/4" above the ground, so it still leaves snow behind. In order to remove the snow down to the pavement, you have to stoop over a little and push it with the handle more parallel to the ground, which causes the bottom of the shovel to scrape the ground.

    2. If the area you wish to clear is wider than a sidewalk, i.e., a driveway, you can only push from one side of the driveway to the other. In other words, you cannot push snow across the driveway, turn around and then push back to where you started. You have to walk back across and always push in the same direction as the snow is discharged out of the right side of the shovel.

    3. The materials could be better. I was under the impression that the shovel and auger were made of metal, but they are a heavy plastic.

    Suggested improvements

    1. It should be made of aluminum or steel. It will last longer and the extra weight would keep it from floating on the snow.

    2. It needs to be slightly larger and the back of the shovel should be taller so the snow does not spill over the back of the shovel.

    3. The clearance of the auger should be adjustable, kind of like wheels on a lawn mower, so you can get the bottom of the shovel closer to the pavement without having to make the handle more parallel to the ground.

    4. The handle should be ergonomically bent. That would also help get the shovel closer to the pavement.

    Overall, I am happy with my investment. It does clear the snow quicker than a normal shovel and is much easier to push. I suspect that this is most likely my last year of shoveling. I plan on investing in a snow blower next winter, although I will keep my Snow Auger for clearing sidewalks, etc. when I don't want to bother busting out the snow blower.


    I give it a 7.5 out of 10. A great idea. With a few improvements to the design, it could be a 9 out of 10.


What an invaluable piece of feedback for the Trail Blazer™'s manufacturer, if only they were aware of it, which they most likely will never be.

Anyhow, I emailed Greg and told him exactly that.

He emailed me back as follows:

    Thanks for the compliment.

    I don't see why they don't go all the way with this thing and make a manual–powered snow blower.

    Kind of like the old manual push mowers, but for the winter!

    The wheels could turn the 3 augers.

    It may not blow the snow 20 feet, but I am sure it could throw it far enough.

    I am sure someone will invent one of these and make a million and I will kick myself... oh well.

    Thanks again!



Several things.

First, I wasn't sure whether the ™ should follow immediately the product name it applies to (Trail Blazer™'s) or come after the 's after the name (Trail Blazer's™).

Does anyone know which is correct?

Second, Greg's idea — a "manual–powered snow blower" — is so good it's frightening.

Whoever gets to market first with one will make a killing.

I will make a suggestion, for what it's worth: when you're ready to take it out for spin, send it to Greg to put through its paces — he'll make you rich if you let him.

Third, it may be time, what with more and more people reading bookofjoe and then going out and buying stuff I've written about, as did Greg, to conclude posts with a boilerplate disclaimer to the effect that "bookofjoe cannot be responsible for your unhappiness with products or services purchased or used as a result of having become acquainted with them on this site."

Remember — I don't endorse anything that I write about.

I simply bring it to your attention.

"Perhaps of interest" is the subtext of each post that appears here.

That's all.

December 8, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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Actually, the only entity required to use the TM or (R) is the company that makes the product or provides the service. Some (mainly trade) publications will use it as a courtesy the first time the thing is mentioned and drop it thereafter; most mainstream publications won't use it at all. I find them klunky and distracting and of no value outside of marketing materials, so, given the choice, I don't use them.

If you're going to use it, though, it comes directly after the name and before any punctuation: I could really use a Frappuccino(R). (Not really, but that's an easy one. Rephrase the sentence to avoid the possessive.

Bonus factoid: Anyone can use the TM to claim a trademark; the (R) is used when the trademark has been officially registered.

And PEOPLE who REGISTER trademarks in ALL CAPS and then FOIST them UPON our POOR, innocent EYES should be TAKEN out BACK and SHOT for the UGLINESS of it ALL.

Posted by: Lori Kozey | Dec 8, 2005 11:00:17 PM

The trademark or patent symbol goes after the name of the product. It also must appear exactly as it is registered.
'What an invaluable piece of feedback for the Trail Blazer™ manufacturer'
Is there really a need for the "s"?
I don't know for sure, just asking.

Posted by: kim | Dec 8, 2005 4:11:28 PM

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