On 5/17/2016 4:27 PM, HerHusband wrote:
I can find at least three vendors for each of those items
within 3 miles of the house
My closest store (for anything) is at least 10 miles away. The "mall" is
about 15 miles away.
When I type "Malls" into google maps, I get 10+ hits, "in town". The
farthest about 10 miles as the crow flies. And, that doesn't include
all of the "shopping centers" that seem to form a 1 mile square grid
There are also lots of specialty stores that are crammed in at
odd places. Want some lexan cut to order? There's a little shop
that JUST deals with lexan. Want some foam? Another just for
that. Window blinds? Motorcycle parts (but NOT automobile)?
Paint? Tool rental? Comic books? Art supplies? Salvage building
supplies? Kitchen supplies? Restaurant supplies? Specialty
beverages? Fabric? Paintball supplies? Weaponry? Upscale children's
E.g., I can go *buy* a drywall lift and bring it home, today.
Our malls don't really carry anything but clothing anymore. I used to
visit the mall to look for books, cooking supplies, tools, and unique
foods. Now it's just a hangout for teenagers. Sears is about the only
thing left in the mall I even bother for, when I need hand tools or
We have probably 4 or 5 different "tire stores" -- not counting Sears,
Walmart, Costco, etc.
For hardware stuff, ACE beats the big boxes hands down. I've bought
all sorts of bronze fittings "off the shelf" that you would probably
expect to buy on-line. Even the plumbing stores can't compete (esp
We have a couple of local hardware stores like that. They have every nut
and bolt you could imagine. Much better selection than the home centers.
Yup. Esp for stainless, metric, brass, etc. As I have to pass an ACE to
go damn ear anywhere, it's trivial to run in for "three" screws with mating
shrug I'm sure they aren't keen on a $1 sale. OTOH, they don't *have* to
sell the individual pieces of hardware (at greatly inflated prices!).
Still, there are plenty of things they don't carry, like a Grundfos
stainless submersible well pump, 2 inch stainless pipe fittings, hand
planes, bandsaws, etc.
I'm sure I could find several vendors for all of the above, here.
In addition to outfitters for completely "off the grid" living
(as many folks in the outlying areas don't even have access to
electricity; I know many folks who live off wells, etc.!)
My last purchase from Amazon (an add-on to a book order SWMBO had
placed) was for a "down angle" USB A M-F cable. They shipped an *up*
angle part, instead. Had I been able to hold it in my hands before
purchasing, I would have told the "clerk": "No, this is the wrong
item. Go back and find the one that's the opposite of this!"
Yes, there are times it is nicer to hold an object in your hand and check
it out before buying it. You can't really judge how a hammer or saw
"feels" in your hand, regardless of the specs listed online.
In my case, you can't even be sure they will send you the product
that you've ordered! I.e., if I had returned the product seeking
a replacement, I am reasonably confident I would have received yet
another of the same WRONG part! Some droid wandering through the
aisles of a stockroom just pulling parts out of LABELED bins -- even
if the label/contents are incorrect!
By contrast, go VISIT the vendor and you can direct his attention to the
problem: "Ah, yes, I see! That's exactly backwards! Let me see if it
was placed in the wrong bin or if the wrong item got stocked..."
I recently bought a monitor online based on specifications and good
reviews. When it arrived and I hooked it up I thought it was horrible,
like staring into a headlight even when fully dimmed. So I had to return
that and order a different monitor (none of the local department or
computer stores carry anything but the cheapest TN based monitors).
I had the same problem with the monitor stand. It looked great online and
was well built, but when I attached it to my monitor the feet stuck out
six inches in front of the monitor. I returned that and ordered a monitor
arm instead. That too was a bit of a disappointment, as it didn't fold up
the way the pictures made it look. I ended up modifying that one to make
it work the way I wanted.
Still, those situations are more the exception than the rule. I very
rarely need to return anything I purchase online.
As we *can* get many things locally, when I go online, it's for a very
specific item that I can't find, here. And, it's not that I can
tolerate something "ALMOST the same".
So, I have to rely on very precise ACCURATE descriptions for items.
And, IME, folks don't sweat the details enough to give me those
assurances. E.g., "What's the difference between a down-angle and
an up-angle cable? Aren't you just being PICKY??" "Well, no.
What's the difference between a door that opens in and one that opens
out? Wouldn't THAT be picky??"
I didn't even bother trying to get the problem "fixed" through Amazon.
I bought my monitor arm through a third-party seller on NewEgg. The
return shipping cost was almost as much as I paid for the arm in the
first place. No way I was going to pay to ship it back.
Exactly. When SWMBO has bought shoes/clothes on-line, the prerequisite
has always been that she be able to return them (free) if she isn't
satisfied. you *know* this cost is being borne somewhere in the system...
She bought some jeans on-line. They arrived looking like they'd been
worn OUT! (not just "prewashed" but "preweared" : ). She returned
them and we started looking for local vendors that carried the same
line. Found them for less money, "off the shelf". So, she could try
them on (for fit) and examine the quality without making a commitment
(other than the time to walk into the store instead of driving past it
in our normal shopping circuit)
I looked at Digikey yesterday
Wow, I haven't used Digikey in over 30 years. I didn't know they were
They are *huge*. I'd wager bigger than most of the "classic" distributors!
I recall when their "catalog" was a flimsy little thing -- no thicker than
a "TV Weekly". They stopped printing it when it got to about 3 inches thick.
And, of course, most everything in it was "in stock"...
The people are friendly (I always phone in my orders) and seldom make
mistakes (in taking the order OR filling it). And, if I plan ahead,
I can usually afford to wait the 2-4 days for it to arrive. E.g., I have
three PC's and two monitors that have been sitting here for a while;
they can sit for another few days waiting for the parts to arrive!
Once done, I'll move onto the next items in The Pile...