10 October 2008

Sensitive Digits

The BBTOJ made a delivery today, with the latest order from Midway USA. SandCastle queen needed some single stack mag holders for an upcoming class. I had them put in a BSA laser sight since one of the pistols had a naked rail. Worst case, it's a $25 bet on a training aid.

I had ordered one several months ago, but it arrived broken in the package. Midway of course took it back without question and refunded the price. I got the feeling they sent the whole batch back to the supplier.

Installing it on the pistol, one of the screws felt stripped. It just turned and turned without getting tight. The literature included a tan stop sign saying "DO NOT RETURN TO STORE..." Hmmm... that's new. But I figured I could just get a slightly larger hex head screw at the local Ace hardware and get it going tonight instead of waiting until Monday to call and then another week or so to have new parts shipped.

The helpful guy quickly identified it as a 4mm (it was like 4 minutes to closing on a Friday night and I think he was motivated to get me the He!! out of the store). The 5mm screws looked huge in comparison so I went back to the 4s. Rolling one of theirs and the old one between my fingers, I could feel a size difference. Side note - this is why I went to Ace, bypassing the Home Depot two miles closer - I can actually touch the hardware while HD has everything encased in plastic. I've heard fingers are extremely sensitive in comparison and can detect a ridge as small as a ten-thousandth (.00001) of an inch. "This one's bigger" I said.

The helpful guy looked at me like I was crazy, felt the two and announced they were the same size. Then he screwed a 4mm nut on each and threw them on the counter as to say "SEE!". (Not his finest hour I might observe)

I took the nuts off, picked up both screws and said "Thank you, I'm buying this one anyway".

Sure enough at home the new screw fit perfectly. Pulling out the micrometer, the new screw measured 4 thou (.004") larger.

Update: (10/13) I sent the bottom part of this post to Ace Hardware via their website. I did this for two reasons. First to thank them for having the hardware out where I can touch it. And second to let them know the helpful guy could have done better. The local manager sent an email this morning asking more details of the event.

BTW, looking back, "threw" might have been too strong a word. "Tossed" is probably a closer verb. "Threw" implies force behind the event while "Tossed" implies much less energy. But he didn't just set the bolts down either. It was a flick of the wrist that showed he dismissed my "different size" assessment.

He could have handled it better. I hope he doesn't suffer much from the complaint, but rather takes it as a teaching moment on how it could have been handled better. Particularly the part where "the customer is always right".

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