I spent this afternoon in a Monty Python sketch.
Walked into my local welding supply store with my empty 40 CF
O2 cylinder (only ~500 PSIG left).
The guy behind the counter walked over to the bottle and says it is
out of hydro. I pointed out to him that the latest stamp showed it
to be in hydro until October of 2018, seven years and four months
in the future ('08 stamp plus the star).
He laboriously worked out the hydro numbers starting from the
previous stamp (1998). I waited patiently.
In retrospect, the proper thing to do at this point *would have been*
to thank the man, pick up my bottle and trade elsewhere.
I know that now. I had "task tension" and had become acclimated
to antics of increasing bizarreness behind the counter, including the
time I had to fill in a police report after receiving a lease bottle
that had been sold to me because "the owner is no longer in business".
Ten minutes on the web showed that the owner was very much in business.
But I digress.
So he finally admits it is in hydro, accepts my cash and hands me a
bottle off the display rack. In the parking lot, I glanced at it's
hydro stamp. It's 1971 without a star. Good till 1976, or 35 *years* out of hydro. I return to the store and point out to him that
the bottle he gave me was slightly out of test.
Eventually, he accepts the dud back and says I can pick up a refill
in two days on Friday.
If he is still in the country on Friday, I fully expect that:
1) The bottle will be empty or very much underfilled (1) or:
2) The threads will be so damaged that I won't be able to
put my regulator on it (2) or:
3) It will be filled with something other than O2 (3) or:
4) It will be reported stolen (3) the moment my truck leaves the
parking lot, or some other bizarreness.
How do I purchase welding gas and have it delivered over the Internet?
But seriously guys, do you really put up with this crap now?
It used to be so *fast, cheap and easy*. What changed?
(1) Happened twice so far
(2) Happened once so far
(3) Hasn't happened yet AFAIK
--The yellow pages are your friend; surely there's a reputable
dealer within driving distance! Have had trouble with mislabeled and
mis-filled bottles in Santa Rosa; I switched dealers and the problem went
Not at all. There are several.
I've tried them all, locally and in surrounding towns.
One actually behaved like a real business for several years in
a row. I liked buying stuff from them because they behaved
like adults. I made the mistake of writing a huge recommendation
for them in my local yelp.com, pointing out that they were
different than 'the pack'.
On my next visit, Dr. Jekyll turned to Mr. Hyde behind the
counter and they were suddenly completely useless (1).
I cancelled the yelp listing and went hunting some more.
Unfortunately they talk amongst themselves.
Sub 'penny-ante' players like me are considered great sport.
There's nothing to lose, because we can't afford to buy all
the welding gear we want.
(1) Favorite routine: Playing Dumb. Asking me to return
several times to pick up small TIG consumables, one
at a time.
Claiming they never heard of a Pyrex TIG cup!
I have been lucky to develop lasting good relations with my local
suppliers, but even they are letting me down now because nobody wants
to sit on inventory any more.
All the little obscure items that used to just sit on a shelf until
somebody actually asked for them, are gone.
Everything that doesn't sell fast is special order only.
If I am impatient for TIG parts I can just drive to Auburn and buy
directly from CK Worldwide via the TEC Welding store across the street,
but odd filler rods and replacement parts are all turning into special
No wonder Arc Zone's online store is expanding every day.
TigDepot.net carries a lot of special TIG fillers, but the price is not
>> --The yellow pages are your friend; surely there's a reputable
>> dealer within driving distance! Have had trouble with mislabeled and
>> mis-filled bottles in Santa Rosa; I switched dealers and the problem >> went away..
> Yup. I've done that, over and over.
> Here, the LWS's talk with each other and compete to
> see how angry they can make the 'small time' customer.
> It is risk - free and great entertainment.
> The little
> As Walt Kelly's comic strip character Pogo said,
> "I have seen the enemy and he is us."
What Ernie and Winston said snipped, but everyone knows about the cylinder
I FINALLY got my cylinders straight, and it was through a guy behind the
counter that had a brain, and a will to get and keep cylinders. Also, a
customer (me) who stated that I had been shat upon at the competition, and
that all I was after was a reasonable solution to my problems from the local
He ended up taking two cylinders from me that were out of hydro, one a 300
O2, the other a midsize acet. Then there was my owner 75/25 to be filled.
Anyway, I walked out with two filled in hydro cylinders, a refill on mine,
and parted with good chunk of change.
But I did not have to pay any hydro charges.
After I got home, I found the irony. One of the cylinders I got back from
them is from a company in Seattle, or somewhere in the NW. The other
company who was such a pain on owner bottles told me they would not do any
owner bottles any more, as they were "too much trouble". Well, if I'm so
much trouble, let me get out of your doorway, pal. I'll go to somewhere
where the staff is reasonable about such things. They wanted me to give up
a bottle I bought from another part of the country, and no doubt they would
have altered it and added it to their line. At least this one took it and
gave me equal value plus a free hydro.
I hope you find a good local supplier.
I gladly do business with those guys because it is so painless
and easy (and cheaper, for me). I appreciate that I don't have
to get in the truck to buy supplies.
My local Tractor Supply Store sells 02 and Acetylene.
I will try them next. I'm just chagrined that I didn't
go there yesterday. Oh Well!
Dayum. That's been *a while*.
I had a similar experience about a year ago. I inherited two teeny
acetylene bottles that were far out of hydro. Used up the gas
then went to my local supply store. Guy swapped them out for two
bottles in hydro and just charged me for the gas. Fast, cheap and
Sounds like he wants your money. Good.
Thanks. I'm looking.
Hmmmm! $625 you say? 93% O2? Might be worth it.
Say! I know where *my* lottery winnings are going.
I don't buy gas (no torch, stick weld only) but I have noticed a
difference in the way my tiny bit of business is treated by local
welding suppliers. I am learning where stay away from. I am upfront
about the tiny size of my potential purshases.
I let them know who sent me to their door. I try to find a person who
can identify with the facts that I am long of tooth, a retired Navy
Chief, and have worked for several companies. I have found that
"Please" and "Thank You" can work wonders and move mountains.
Yup. I consider courtesy to be a bare minimum.
I go a *little* overboard perhaps, by referring to the guy behind
the counter as 'sir'. That little show of respect never hurt a bit.
That's why I don't understand all the 'attitude'.
I follow the directions on the signs, drive slowly and carefully in
the lot, observe safety precautions, smile a lot and am respectful.
Just another Sweet Mystery of Life, I guess.