UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

June 3, 2009

For the want of a screw…

Filed under: equipment — UndyedYarnpire @ 4:15 pm

I have been having an intermittent problem with my wheel. A screw kept working loose. It was so bad that I used the screwdriver more often than the oil bottle and actually had the screwdriver clamped in the oil bottle holder. 

It has been going on for more than a year. A while back, I took the screw all the way out and discovered that there was a chunk of thread missing.  (old screw on left, new screw on right)

Well today, I finally went to the neighborhood hardware store. I had my screw in a plastic bag (because it is greasy and I did not want to get my pocket all gross.) There was a man working there who asked me if he could help. I had not been there for 20 seconds yet. He looked at my screw and knew on sight what kind of screw it was. 

He asked me how many I wanted, I bought 2 so I would have a spare, he said they were stainless steel so they should last but put two in the bag. He wrote a code on the tiny paper sack. I asked him if there was anything I could put on it if it decided it wanted to work loose again. He suggested clear fingernail polish. I took this to the front counter, where a woman said, “I can help you right here.”

I was in and out of the Ace Hardware on Grand Avenue in Oakland, CA in under 5 minutes. They had parking, they had exactly what I needed with exactly the people who knew how to help me find it. There was no hassle about me being there for just a screw instead of a houseful of plumbing or something. They did not check my powertool user card before letting me in the door. 5 minutes and under a buck to completely solve a problem that has irritated me for more than a year. It was by far and away the absolute best shopping experience I have had in years. 

People are always pushing for support of LYSs, but I have never been in a LYS with that kind of service. Everyone should be supporting their local hardware store if they are all like this one. I never go to the hardware store because I live in a rented apartment. I am not supposed to fix things. I thought they would not want me there. But now I really want to go back and buy things just because I might need them someday. If my local yarn stores were like my local hardware store, I would probably have an entire room full of yarn stash. (And you people who like Article Pract can hold your breath until you turn purple and orange spotted because I will delete any comments insisting they are as nice as the Ace guys. That was not my experience at AP, not by any stretch of the imagination. And the Ace guys treated me excellently when I was just buying a screw!)  

There is that poem/story thing about how for the want of a horseshoe nail the kingdom was lost. For 32 cents plus tax, I feel like I gained a kingdom. Really great investment.



  1. Ace Hardware (at least in CA) is one of the few chain operations that seems really to understand that they need to let local shops have the reins, at least a little: as long as the store manager is astute, they know way more about what customers want than a regional manager or someone staring at an aggregate bottom line. The Ace near me is quite good, too, and so far it holds its own against an OSH and a Home Depot not three miles off.

    Glad you had a good experience. It seems almost as though you were due one. :)

    Comment by skg046 — June 4, 2009 @ 9:26 am

    • You pay a lot more attention to the underpinnings of how stores run than I do. I had no idea there was such rigid regional control, but I probably should have guessed since everything seems so homogeneous.

      Normally this would be the point where I say, “eh. everyone complains when things are bad, but hardly anyone says when things are working as expected.” But really. I agree. I was definitely due for something to go right.

      For a long time I did not want a mobile phone because all the comments online said there were tons of dropped calls, there were always billing issues, everywhere was a dead zone, etc. It seemed like mobile phone technology sucked and people were fools. But that was a case of a small percentage having individual problems skewing my perspective about the overall issue.

      Yarn School was NOT one of those exaggerated mild problems. It was truly horrendous and no one should ever go. If I ever feel the need to waste that kind of money I will buy aluminum siding for my apartment from Ace instead.

      Comment by UndyedYarnpire — June 4, 2009 @ 10:06 am

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