Rant - one person screws up a good thing at my structural steel supplier

I stopped by my structural steel source (Federal Pipe & Supply in Detroit), and strolled into the steel warehouse, heading for where the
drops are stored. I like to rummage the drop area - never know what I might find and most of the time I leave with considerably more than I intended to buy - I see some stock and think of a future project that I am intending to do. The material in the drop area is cheaper by virtue of the fact that I do not have to pay a cutting charge. On short or light weight sections, the cutting fee could exceed the material cost.
By the time I was 50 ft into the warehouse, I was intercepted by an employee and directed to the steel sales counter - what ever I wanted they would write up and it would be cut to length out in the warehouse. Turns out a "customer" sued them, apparently the customer "hurt himself" out in the steel warehouse (but did not bother to notify any employees).
I understand why the company has changed their policy but for me it sucks. I ended up buying a 3 ft piece of 3x3x3/16 angle for $17 (I needed 30 inches but had to buy in foot increments). I watched the employee take a piece of stock about 40 to 44 inches long and lop it off to 3 ft. I would have gladly bought the longer piece and had a useful drop left over for some other furture and it still would have been cheaper than the cutting charge.
I still know of a non-ferrous metals recycling yard near me that has a room specifically for aluminum drops, sold by the pound. I just don't have any idea where to find the same now in a steel source - it takes time to go from one supplier to the next to see what their policies/proceedures are.
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Or it could be the lie that management told them to tell so they can charge full price plus a cutting charge for drops. One local metal shop I know of will let you pick through drops, and still charge you the full price like they custom cut it from a full length piece of stock.
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did they charge a cutting fee on the scraps too?
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I don't recall. It was just really expensive. I have found for more than one or two small pieces it can be cheaper to order them on-line, and for bigger orders my best price including freight was by truck line from the whole other side of the country, and I don't mean by a couple dollars. For a couple dollars I would have bought it locally every time. I own a local business myself.
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On Tue, 17 Nov 2009 09:47:33 -0700, "Bob La Londe"
<snip>

=======Problem is that just because a business is locally situated and has been in the community forever is no indication they are still a *LOCAL* business. The "stealth chains" and "roll-ups" continue to expand.
The problem you describe [no sorting through the drops] may well be due to a "stealth" corporate takeover and the imposition of new policies by a "suit" clear across the country (who will be the first and loudest to complain when business starts to fall off).
Unka' George [George McDuffee] ------------------------------------------- He that will not apply new remedies, must expect new evils: for Time is the greatest innovator: and if Time, of course, alter things to the worse, and wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to the better, what shall be the end?
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), English philosopher, essayist, statesman. Essays, "Of Innovations" (1597-1625).
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Bob La Londe wrote:

That's my guess. My local metal store doesn't have any such thing as drops. Everything goes back on the shelf and you get charged full-pop for it.
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On Sun, 15 Nov 2009 18:25:24 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@c3net.net wrote:

That's too bad. Damn lawyers and the greedy bastards that employ them.
Years ago the yards in Mnpls allowed customers to use the O/A rigs that were on carts out in the yard. Burn off what you want, take it to the scale, get a chit, thence to the office.
They'll still do one cut per stock piece gratis, as in cut 20' pieces in two to make transport with a pickup more feasible.
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On Sun, 15 Nov 2009 18:25:24 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@c3net.net wrote:

Most guys I deal with will sell drops at full price, you do save the cutting charge though.
Some of them are $10.00 for a cut.
Thank You, Randy
Remove 333 from email address to reply.
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snipped-for-privacy@c3net.net wrote:

Well, in 5 years, you will have to order your materials from China! There's not going to be much stock of anything left in the US. At least you can still find material where you don't have to freight it in from overseas.
Jon
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wrote:

unlikely - every major city I've been in has multiple suppliers of metal, and we still use metal - it won't be "order from china" in any of our lifetimes.
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My steel supplier used to charge for drops by the lb. I would pick out my treasures, carry them all to the scale and get them weighed and then take the slip in to the steel office. Early last year as steel was beginning the price spike, they documented every piece and length and charged by the item - not nearly as good of a deal for me but still better than the new policy of paying for a cut fee every time.
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On Thu, 19 Nov 2009 03:51:34 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@c3net.net wrote:

So they are charging twice for the same cut. Is that a job for the Better Business Bureau?
Mark Rand RTFM
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On Thu, 19 Nov 2009 17:45:41 +0000, the infamous Mark Rand

The BBB in the USA is nothing but a marketing agency. It has no teeth whatsoever other than posting, on its own website, that some business jerk is actually being a jerk. For that, they want about $500/year.
Pass.
-- When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary. -- Thomas Paine
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