I blogged a week or two ago about shopping for a rack I can use to hang the plasma TV on the wall.
So, I bought one on eBay for ten bucks. The rack arrived and looks completely sufficient to do the job, but it turns out that it did not include bolts that actually fit the back of my TV (even though the seller said it would work). I called Panasonic, and they were very helpful and very specific in telling me I need 4 M8 bolts with a 1.25 thread pitch, 45mm to 55mm in length.
So first I emailed the seller. He replied back telling me he had some of those and would mail them out to me. Great, but I'm an impatient person, so I checked Home Depot. Turns out they have a drawer full of 1.25 thread pitch M8 bolts, in 40, 50, and 60mm sizes. But they were out of 50's. Grrr...
Then I called my local Trader Horn, "Your Favorite Store". For those who don't know Trader Horn, picture a KMart back in the late 70's or early 80's. Now take away clothing and toys, and add hardware and building products. This store, until last month, had only one credit card reader, at the service desk, for all 7 registers. Tehy still use price tags. No bar codes here. It's so quaint. But where else can I buy one screw? I love it. So anyway, I called and got a guy in the hardware dept. When I told him what I wanted, he replied with, "hmm...45 to 55mm, huh? 'Bout how long is that?"
I replied with, "umm...a couple inches?"
"Lemme go check."
He came back and said, "yeah, we got M8 bolts. They come in either rough thread or fine thread, and they're 'bout 2 inches long."
That didn't help me.
Meanwhile, the envelope with the bolts arrived from the eBay seller. At least, the envelope did. For some reason this guy thought it reasonable to put 4 machine bolts into a #10 envelope and toss the envelope in the mail. Instead I got an empty envelope with a hole in the bottom. I emailed him back, but haven't gotten a respose. Gee. Wonder why.
So my wife realized there's a good old fashioned hardware store a bit north of us. I called the store to see if they had what I wanted. The guy went and checked, came back to the phone and said, "yeah, we got three...How many you need?"
Luckily it ended well, in that he found a 4th on the floor under the shelves. I would expect nothing less from an old fashioned hardware store.