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Informed consumers

2006-06-15 16:57:06.145797+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

In the construction work I've been whining about I've run into something I need to explore more: The portions of the supplies I bought came from Fairfax Lumber, Jeanne[Wiki] buys from Home Despot[Wiki].

The products at Fairfax Lumber cost a little bit more. However, for instance, the nails that Jeanne[Wiki] are hot-dipped galvanized and have a tendency to bend, the nails I bought are electroplate galvalized and seem to bend far less when we're driving them in. The 2x4s from Home Despot[Wiki] are fairly wet, the 2x8s I bought from Fairfax Lumber seem to be well dried.

More to the point, I don't think I saw the option of dip galvanized nails in Fairfax, and the lumber they delivered was the luck of the truck, so in several ways I think there's a core level of quality that those guys provide, I'm not sure whether or not the option of buying the good stuff at Home Despot[Wiki] exists, but as an ignorant consumer what I really want in a vendor is a system that keeps me from making bad decisions, not one that makes it easy for me to shoot myself in the foot, and harder in the long run for me to acquire the better products.

There was another run for materials yesterday and, sure enough, we ended up with a flooring material that has warnings about not being for applications where the temperature drops below 55°F, and the Home Despot[Wiki] guy told them that vapor barriers must go outside the studs (This latter point is an ongoing bone of contention, code compliance and general good practice put the vapor barrier inside the studs and insulation when using a permeable insulation like fiberglass and the building isn't actively cooled most of the time, but there's a lot of lore in the building community about this that's flat out wrong, leading to a lot of moldy houses).

What I don't know about this is how much of what I'm seeing is reinforcement of my pre-existing prejudices, but... How do I help people to see that shaving immediate pennies at the expense of longevity of the projects, wages in the local community, and longer time to project completion isn't worth it?

[ related topics: Consumerism and advertising Work, productivity and environment Community Real Estate ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-15 18:53:15.930404+00 by: meuon

Living "cheap" is expensive in the long run. Holds true for almost everything. Our insane "quality of life" is often a facade, as our society sees little value in buying things that are capable of lasting far past their "in vogue" level. We need to redefine stylish in non-wal-mart values: I paid a little extra and got straight hard lumber that should last 50+ years outside.

If used to wonder how some 'lower income' people could by nicer clothes, good trucks.. good shoes, excellent tools. I now know it's he only way to afford to live well.

Sure, sometimes I still buy cheap junk, but at least I know what I am doing.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-15 23:42:47.087162+00 by: Mark A. Hershberger

A home depot story:

I needed a piece of glass about 3ft x 2 ft. I was at Home Depot (its out of the way, usually) so I asked for one. "Sorry, we can only go up to 36 inches."


#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-23 15:23:04.566309+00 by: DaveP

How do you help? With postings just like this one.