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Monday, April 24, 2017

screw home despot


SCREW HOME DESPOT

All big box stores pretty much blow chunks anymore, and anymore they are some of the few retail establishments left.  Well, there are some Mom& Pop’s but if you thought Big Box prices are bad, wait until you see the smaller outlets.   Online is the only place to get items affordably, and that only goes so far.  Nobody is going to sell generic laundry soap or plywood online at reasonable prices ( you might be able to get $6 Tide at Amazon with free shipping, and it might beat the $8 price at Wally, but I’ll stick with $2 generic soap at the Family Dollar store, thank you.  Not that Family is all that cheap.  It is the Big Box of discount and their prices are usually NOT reasonable for 90% of what is in stock ).  So for anything you can’t get online you are forced to buy Big Box regardless of price.  So, we complain about Wal-Mart but are still forced to go there for certain items, even though they went from Adequate Items Low Price Leader to Abysmal Quality At Higher Prices Leader.  And I’m not talking about buying False Economics items, either, but just basic stuff you can’t find otherwise ( it is cheaper to pay $65 online for a pair jeans that last ten years than to buy a $16 pair at Wally that last six months.  That is avoiding false economics.  But what about something like a rope or a trash can?  Few options to pursue quality there ).

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The issue has become, I believe, the universal business practices that work as a monopoly but are perfect-even without the ever present FedGov collusion that passes for oversight these days-because they are standards rather than practices.  No one will ever see rival CEO’s gathered in a smoke filled room agreeing on prices or lowering quality, that is no longer necessary.  It is all legal and aboveboard.  Everyone buys the same crap from China and has the same costs and the same percent mark-up and the same costs retail within set parameters.  You have a Lowe’s and a Home Depot in the same town, the only difference is that of location and stocking different items, not quality or price.  Home Despot says, oh, you have six foot florescent fixtures at Lowes?  No need for us to stock that, because unmoved inventory is a waste of money, we’ll just carry three footers only.  Perhaps their idea of competition is to buy an extra boatload of one item the other guy has, sell it at cost but never order it again, and hope to poach some customers.  But they were already customers to some extent because of the specialization ( the successful ones stay alive this way.  “Me-Too selling” leads to eventually bankruptcy, like Radio Shack trying to be a cell phone seller ).  The one off sale was just adding a bit more chum to the fishing ground, someone keeping their job by actually doing it once in awhile.

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And those one of a kind items only they carry?  They can lower the quality.  I complained about Home Despot screws before, when I tried to build a two by four bookshelf.  The heads striped out, even after I drilled a guide hole.  I returned them for nails, because all of the screws are the same type.  How do they expect to have any repeat sales?  I knew their nails were not the best, but at least MOST of the box works.  If I didn’t know better I’d swear the manufacture has 20% of the batch made with cheaper metal to save on the cost to the Big Box.  Anyway, this last weekends project-the rain/snow finally stopping at least for a time-was to install stair handrails.  NOL rents two thirds of the house out as apartments and the insurance guy wanted those put in even though the steps are only a few high ( the house on a hill so the front is level but the back elevated ).  We went to Home Despot and got metal plates that mount to a wall and you screw in an iron pipe to it.  We got those big screws that have a hex head so I could install with a wrench ( hence avoiding the screw problem of soft heads-or so I thought! ). 

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I swear the threads were not at the correct angle.  They wouldn’t bite into the wood.  Then, after trying to push/turn, some broke.  These are big ass screws.  And, again, pre-drilled didn’t even work.  So we went back and got the thickest nails they had and just nailed the damn things to the wall.  Of course, the nails were crap also.  It was a bit more than a 20% failure rate.  Those that didn’t come out of the box already bent were that way soon enough.  We went through over half the box to get sixteen nails rigid enough to complete the job ( I know it sounds like the railings were Jerry Rigged, but the walls are old, really thick boards and stacked two deep.  The nails have a lot of wood to bite into.  Not by any means perfect or preferred, but they should be adequate ).  The nails were much more expensive but a far worse quality from my B-POD project five years ago.  Aside from greed and incompetence, I would submit to you that this is yet another indicator that our Industrial Age is on its very last gasps of breath.  Industrial Age products were NEVER about craftsman quality but about good enough quality at a drastically reduced price.  And it has ALWAYS been about volume selling.

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Now, the volume has declined enough to force vast economic disruptions, which is not so bad if this was cyclical.  But it ain’t.  2008 was it.  This is the end, my friend.  There is no more recoveries, just varying degrees of success in kicking the can down the road just a bit longer.  The oil net energy is too low for a conventional recovery ( EVERY previous recovery was predicated on increased energy supplies ).  Financially or materially.  The quality is to a point where that is now too impacting the volume.  You still go out and buy fasteners, obviously, but you fasten less if possible due to the quality issues.  Even if sales are barely impacted, you know the rot extends to every other product in various ways, and if the customer knows he is getting crap, he’ll be just a little enough reluctant to buy a higher end item that sales on the better products will decrease ( aside from the less disposable income issue ).  Profits are so bad, Home Despot must screw everyone on the quality of screws.  Not only are they so desperate that they can’t care about repeat sales on the same item, they don’t care they are cannibalizing their more profitable sales.  What else could be such a perfect indicator?  The Industrial Age ship has hit the iceberg of Peak Oil and is going down, the last of the metal ore in the form of recycled junked cars shipped across the Pacific to produce unusable fasteners that are hoped to be used keeping crap quality McMansions from falling apart.

END

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22 comments:

  1. Yep, doing my building I am seeing the same thing. In a 4 year period, buying the same brand, model, and roughly the same price the quality of everything has declined to some extent or another. And when the quality hasn't declined notably the item usually shot up in price significantly instead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And it can't ALL be greed and incompetence-some of it HAS to be declining ore supplies.

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  2. I've got good screws. I can take any three inch screw out of the box and screw it through solid oak. Without a pilot hole. They do exist. I get mine from an outfit that sells to professionals. Square drive.
    Companies that sell those cheap screws should have their stores burnt to the ground. Their purchasing agents jailed for life. Their CEO's hung by their heals, naked, over a pig pen of hungry hogs, secured only by one of their cheap screws!
    Companies

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    Replies
    1. "Square Drive" is the brand name?

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    2. No, square drive as opposed to Philips head. Not all square drive are quality, but most are better. There are many (importers) brands. If it came from big box store it is generally crap.

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    3. I would love to hear which brand/source works best for you Dennis. I recently had 3 screws fail on me. Supposedly structural screws torx headed. Nearly had 40+lbs of OSB fall on us from 14 feet up...

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  3. Here is an excerpt from "The Speed of Change: Motor Vehicles and People in Africa, 1890-2000" of which I've only read thebit about modding Bedford trucks (page 163 to 186; check out the interestings pics from page 170 on)
    ""Spare parts deemed ‘original’ are expensive and in low supply, and cheaper parts of Nigerian, Indian or Chinese origin, even if produced under licence, are considered low-quality fakes. Craftsmen ar
    e always on the look-out for original parts which, even if they are worn out and in need of laborious repair or adjustment, fetch much higher prices than brand new parts from India and China.""

    So yeah, western "first world" countries are now sliding there too. A good source of consumables lies in disposed furniture and also cars etc, but I rarely venture into this.

    A good comparison overall for our current trends is the Soviet Union, they too had shoddy materials and hence learnt to do with sturdy if not primitive solutions (double the amount of screws or nails required, make ,out of wood is available etc.)

    Ikea told us that furniture is disposable when in reality good furniture costs a fortune.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No one wants good furniture if they are nomadic. Yet even the disposable crap ( sawdust and glue ) is getting worse with higher cost.

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    2. Pretending rich people need to change decor like I buy socks. Every other year.

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    3. So, I'm not the only one that keeps turning a sock as it fills with holes, refusing to part with it until the bitter end?

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  4. Amen on the game and the state it has descended to you have it right. Next time you need to attach something and get it right without multiple trips to the store try GRK brand screws. Unless your screwing into antique hardwood sheathing (as in a barn or really old house) they go in with no predrilling, the heads don't strip out,etc. For Heavy duty stuff ( they replace LAG screws just as tough and strop )try their structural screws. you will be pleasantly surprised. PS no I'm not affiliated with GRK. PPS their trim screws are very versatile with no pre drilling necessary I have found lots of uses.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It is beyond embarrassing the stuff I've been forced to nail rather than screw.

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  5. gorges-smythe.blogspot .com

    he is having the same issues with hardware.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Quality is almost non existent now.

    The gutter downlights I purchased, whilst I'm still happy with them, have to be constantly monitored.

    I purchased rechargeable AA batteries (as per Bison Plan). I've found the quality questionable. Rated at 2400 mAh but my battery charger (nerd quality) which tells you how much charge is in them has some of them at 1900 mAh. That's pretty poor quality control. Even if they were cheap I bought them as prep & now they're suspect

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    Replies
    1. I think you'll be amazed at how suspect most of the preps you have are. Factory ammo at minimal performance, food full of toxins, plastic leeching more than they admit, maps approximate, etc.

      Delete
  7. I get my stuff at Menards, no problems.

    You know Jim, when you get old, your eyesight and hand eye coordination decrease. Maybe it's just YOU.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My hand/eye coordination has always been bad and I'd need super human strength to destroy their fasteners without a bit of help from the manufacture. I am getting old though.

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  8. 2 more amazon commissions going your way (I already have all your books sans physical copy)

    You might be able to buy a .303 round with it - make that round count

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    Replies
    1. One round is seventy-five cents. Times 1200 every month. That would be super. Thanks, and I'm done with the next book. Just keep forgetting to publish it.

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  9. I know you don't wanna hear it , but sometimes ya get what you pay for sometimes.
    I try to buy all my fasteners from contractor supply houses.
    Yup they are at least double the price of Big Box Stores, but well worth it.
    Square drive is no doubt better than Phillips with Torx even better.
    I've found a number 2 drywall Phillips bit to be much better than a standard number two Phillips also, they aren't as pointy and are blunter on the end allowing the contact​ to be on the side flutes rather than at the point. If any of that makes any sense to you lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At this point, triple the price if they worked would be worth it. We just go to HD because the NOL has a business credit card ( plus, I've never been in the contractor place and I hate trying out New ). Fun filled fact. They seem to be so desperate for business they offered the NOL an ADDITIONAL credit card with a $25 incentive card, PLUS gave the daughter in law one and she is terrible about her credit. An indicator? No idea. But interesting.

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    2. Well definitely look into the drywall Phillips bit. Far superior to the normal number two Phillips.

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