when you buy plumbing parts at HD, make sure to LOOK at them. I just finished a plumbing job today that would have been done yesterday if someone at HD hadn't screwed with the parts. I had a 1 1/2" PVC union that was MISSING THE O RING.
The guy in the plumbing dept this morning told me to buy a new one, take out the O ring and then return the union. All well and good, but then it will just end up back on the shelf and the same thing will happen to someone else. Sucks pretty much.
I do a double takes when getting plumbing parts from HD. The "quality" of
some of the basic iron fittings is apalling. If the Chinese and Indians
actually reject these things, I'm sure HD buys them all up.
First of all, I've always tried to avoid big box for plumbing supplies simp
ly because they will always be out of something you need, and if time is mo
ney, you end up blowing the savings on second or third trip somewhere else.
I am now in Germany where we had basically five big box hardware chains. No
w we have two. All of the little stores where you can get specialized stuff
are long gone. Need a fine thread 10mm nut? You can forget it. Go to OBI (
the German HD) for a few plumbing washers? You'll need to buy an assortment
bag for ten bucks which maybe has two rings in it which are of any use to
anyone. I once told a cashier "if this little bag is really worth ten bucks
, then a car tire would cost more than a car."
But, Horror vacui (nature abhors a vacuum). Because of the market condition
s, thousands of little Ebay stores have popped up providing us with what we
need, and at reasonable prices. I now rarely go out to get things made of
metal or plastic. The postman brings it to me. You guys have McMaster, whic
h is great (no equivalent in Germany), but the model is still rather specia
lized. Partly, I suppose, because of high shipping costs, slowness, and unr
eliability of shipping in the US, and don't exclude car culture. I have ple
nty of friends who don't even drive.
When planning your next project, whatever it is, consider ordering all of t
he parts online. You need to plan a bit more carefully, but you might save
some money, and especially lot's of time!
Over here in Canuk Land I find I can USUALLY buy locally for less
Case in point - I wanted a pair of "Cocoon" wear-over sun glasses.
Best online price, not including shipping, was $5 more than I could
buy them from local optician - with NO shipping. (Paid $35.00)
There are some things I just plain cannot buy locally - which I DO buy
online. Generally electronic parts or specialty bits. Auto parts I
can most often buy from the DEALER for less than online (things like
the step-plates for my 1996 Ford Ranger - dealer cost HALF what they
would cost online or from LMC.
Yes. What you can get online depends a lot on where you live. I think that
in North America there are factors which make it slower to catch on, but I'
m surprised to hear that you can get auto parts cheaper at the dealer. Not
at all the case here, at least for my Alfa Romeo. In Germany there are mayb
e two major factors. First, we have fast and cheap shipping - I suppose tha
t's partly down to shorter transit distances. And, a total lack of retail o
ptions. The retailers here seem bent on reducing choice to the bare minimum
, and just don't seem to be trying to compete. "You want this toilet in gra
y? Well, let's see...I can get it for you in a month". I go online and can
have it in two days and pay less. Car parts? There are nine million listing
s on German Ebay. 34,000 just for my specific model and year.