For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the message was lost. For want of a message the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a nail.
We've all heard that before, and we all have some opinion as to what its lesson might be. Small things ignored can lead to disastrous results, or something like that.
I recently had an experience that qualifies as a shining example. The culprit in my case was not a nail, but a washer.
Earlier this spring, I bought a new lawn mower. I had mowed the yard only twice when the damn thing fell apart.
The mandrel assembly - item 14 above - shattered, causing the blade to hit the ground and bend beyond repair. I couldn't imagine why this happened on a brand new mower, but assumed the part was defective to begin with due to a bad casting.
Once we got home from vacation, I purchased a replacement part. It worked, but it was noisy. There was obviously something still wrong.
See the washer - item 31 above? That little washer is absolutely necessary in order to tighten the pulley properly. Without it, the pulley will wobble, the mower will make loud clanging noises and the mandrel will eventually crack.
My new mower came without that washer!
The lack of that little fifty cent part ended up costing me four hours of work and about eighty dollars.