Buy wood screw assortment packs? (online USA)

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J. Clarke wrote:

Having already paid for it, so long as Windows works 'well enough' (tm), there is little incentive to just pitch it and try something else.
I've been a Linux user for several (10+) years. But I've never pulled Windows off a machine before it fell apart on its own.
Nor have I ever re-installed it. Ain't happenin' Jack.
Bill
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I'm not not at the above address.
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BillinDetroit wrote:

Most people don't care whether they already paid for it. What matters is that it's on the machine and works well enough so why mess with anything else.

I've managed Unix shops and Windows shops and don't see a lot to choose between them.
I don't let what came on the machine influence how I use it--I generally ditch the bundled OS regardless, if there is a bundled OS.
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Yup, lulled by the misconception that his (or her) government wouldn't allow him to destroy his own society. To me, it's like voting with my money. Instead of voting for the same old Republican or Democrat, I use money to vote for either democracy or communism. If we vote for communism too much, then our government will be able to put the blame squarely on us, saying "you were free to do whatever you wanted, you could have chosen democracy but you chose otherwise".
Wake up people.
At the same time, don't believe the "globalism" garbage. Leaders of the free world have and could have us trade amongst ourselves, forever. Communist countries cannot compete, we've proved that already. Globalism is probably just a way for the bigger companies to beat up on the smaller companies.
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"dpb" wrote in message

You're right. Allow me to rephrase that ... "It's pretty simple in the age of the dumb ass and corporate greed ... "
Better?
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I would respectfully disagree. In many, I would say most, cases corporate greed is the driver to decisions that will reduce the quality of the product when in fact there is perfectly good demand and profit in the higher quality product. It is not the goal of the corporation to reduce the quality, simply the outcome. The goal is to make ten more points of profit margin because, you the consumer, don't know any better anyway. In many cases, the consumer does not get a choice or the higher end choice becomes harder and harder to find.
And the big retailers are partners in this effort. They tell the manufacturer's brand managers, hey you get it from China at a dirt cheap price or you will lose your shelf space, and we'll develop our own store brand and get it from China ourselves.
Frank
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Frank Boettcher wrote:

It's true corporations are motivated to improve profit margins -- that's their job.
Unfortunately, the success of the mass retailers isn't owing to their profit margin, it's that the customer has gone there and selected price as their dominant factor in choice.
Small numbers of consumers (relatively, and I consider myself one of them and can count on the fingers of one hand the numbers of time I have been in the Super-Center in the last year) will select on the basis of other reasons but, for the most part, there simply aren't enough of them (high-end consumers) to support them (merchandisers).
Consider how often do you go to the Borg for a common item because it is 10 cents cheaper than the "real" lumber yard? Yet expect the yard to have all the "good stuff" that the Borg doesn't carry? Just can't work that way. (And that's not meant to be specifically "you personally", but as an "editorial you" because you can certainly recognize the trait as being widespread).
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Their job is to do the will of the owners. If the owners by weight are investors who are mostly interested in reasonable growth, dividend income, and long term continuity, then what they do by risking that for quick profits is a legal crime. It is done because their personal compensation is based stock appreciation in the short term.
As one who lived through the transition of a company from a profitable, highly respected entity with products that were considered benchmark in their industry to one that put all that at risk in a mad dash to China, I can speak from experience.
Did they do the will of the owners? The stock, at the end of this period, lost 50% of its value as a result of this strategy and the company had to be sold at a significant discount.
Did the decision makers suffer from those decisions. Nope, they made their money before the stock dropped by collecting grants, bonuses, and exercising options that appreciated prior to the investing community figuring out where it was going. All but one are gone, but all left wealthy.
Frank

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Frank Boettcher wrote:

Whether management for short term stock price targets is a crime is surely debatable at best. Whether it is or isn't a wise management practice is a different question, of course. The problem tends to revolve around Boards of Directors who take too passive of a role in oversight imo, and I won't disagree about compensation plans that tend to reward poor behavior.
But, overall, the problems are deeper-rooted and ultimately for retail most noticeably, driven by the competitive markets.
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IF we have a point of contention it has to do with the "chicken and the egg"
You seem to think this is consumer driven. My point is that consumers, particularly those that might follow a forum like this, many high end hobbiests or professional woodworkers, are not storming the board rooms screaming that they want to save five or ten percent on products that will make the corporation much more than that and that they are willing to take poor quality for that savings.
It is the corporations that drive the reduction in quality, put it out there for you to buy, and make finding a high quality alternative difficult by, in collaboration with the large retailers, snapping up all the shelf space. At least that is my opinion.
The "Corporate Greed" comes to bear when they are already profitable, have a loyal customer base that depends on the quality of the product that they supply, but feel they can squeese out a little more by taking it to a quality risky offshore source. They are not doing this to "survive".
Frank
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Frank Boettcher wrote: ...

I don't "think" it is consumer driven, I observe that it is...
The election is made by the choice at where the dollars are being spent. The surest way to get the box stores to go away is for the crowds that frequent them to go someplace else. Until they do, they won't.

Oh, but au contraire... :( Were it but true. In general, the "loyal customer base" is loyal until the next bid cycle goes out and a competitor comes in with a price a nickel lower. The few (if any) who really would be loyal simply are not enough except in very rare instances to even maintain a business what more grow it.
It is definitely true in all consumer/retail goods (which is what I'd estimate at least 70-80+% of the participants here are familiar with) as opposed to "true" industrial supply.
But, even in that environment, an example -- Have a very good friend who is an engineer whose expertise is in management of casting foundries. Have known him for almost 40 years now. In that time he has gone from the small, family-owned independent single-supplier/customer mills (brake castings, etc., for Ford, GM, Chrysler, etc.), to the Japanese-owned multi-facilities under consolidated ownership as the industry has changed. One of his former facilities makes high-precision castings for the electrical transmission field amongst other things. For almost 75 years, this particular company/mill had about 75% of the US market. Over the last 10 years this has dropped to less than 50% owing to--you guessed it! Chinese imports taking business from their "loyal" customers. Quality is as good as theirs, price is competitive, but the differential is something they can't match and produce in the US. So much for "loyalty". :(
Their niche now is in fast turnaround but large bulk routine product is now coming from suppliers to them from overseas. Needless to say, this isn't a choice they have made on their own. Their revenues are roughly equivalent but margins are _way_ down. Revenues are helped significantly in the present market climate by the huge expansion in generation capabilities in China and India and the ensuing infrastructure expansion. When that slows as it eventually will, it's anybody's guess as to what their future holds. At present it certainly doesn't look rosy for the long term unless/until they find new markets/products.
It IS a global economy for good or ill and wishing it weren't isn't going to make it so. In the long run it will probably work out for the better. In the short run, there's going to be yet more upheaval and restructuring.
But, unless there is a _MAJOR_ shift in the US publics' buying habits, the days of the box stores and all seem ahead of them...
IMO, ymmv, $0.02, etc., etc., etc., ...
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so those end users, and that's what we are talking about, are storming the boardrooms. Funny, I never noticed them. I do see them on the aisles, buying what is put out in front of them cuz that's all there is.

Key word, choice. In many cases there is none.

You seem to have shifted from the end user consumer to the wholesale or manufacturing buyer. There doing what their corporate "leaders" are telling them to do. That is not what we are discussing. You're making my point. The consumer is not driving it, just swept along in many cases.

I feel for your friend, and I don't know what kind of castings he makes. I have extensive experience in gray iron, machined. There is no doubt in my mind that the Chinese quality is significantly lower. I've had an opportunity to review extensive capability studies on Chinese foundries. When the same class 25 iron part that I was buying from domestic foundries with a Brinnell hardness range of 190-205 (just right for both machining and grinding) comes from China with a range of 140-240 (low end a disaster for strength and grinding, high end to brittle and a nightmare for machining) with chill spots, sand occlusions, parting line shifts, questionable chemistry, terrible mechanical properties, etc, etc....and unable to get to stastical capability on dimensions, I know it is so.
But they get used, and the machines are not as good.
But you continue to make my point. Not one of the end user customers said "give me that chinese iron and a 10% price break.. I can't wait for that. But I heard many times, "what are you doing to the product, you're screwing it up. It is the Corporate "leaders" that are saying, "hey our customers won't know any difference, let's use the junk.

Once again, the customers your refer to are not end user consumers, but manufacturers (corporations) that are demanding that switch.

I agree. But I still feel it is corporate greed that is the driver, not the consumer out there saying that is what I want.
Frank

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Frank Boettcher wrote:
> Key word, choice. In many cases there is none.
Rubbish, there is always a choice.
Don't like the quality, don't buy.
Don't like the price, don't buy.
Keep your dick skinners wrapped tightly around you wallet and wait.
He who has the gold is in control.
I've yet to see something for sale I couldn't walk away from.
Too many years dealing with some tough contractors I guess.
Lew
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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net says...

Not really, the entire ideal free market model is predicated on willing buyers and sellers with perfect knowledge of price and quality.

Consumers don't *know* the quality until after they buy. They might not buy from that store in the future after they've been burned a few times, but how many screws does the average person buy in a lifetime? A company that is using thousands of them every day can afford to hire a professional screw-buyer and subject the screws to quality tests, etc. Joe Weekendwoodworker doesn't have the time or resources, and the BORGs know this and take advantage.

I'm not going to drive 30 miles and check prices in 5 different stores before buying a couple dozen screws.

So it's Saturday morning, I've got a project to complete, I don't to blow the day chasing after some needed supplies, so I'm going to the nearest hardware store, hope they have the right size and they aren't complete crap, and buy them. Maybe I could have got better quality online, but they won't get here until Thursday. Maybe they would be 4 cents cheaper, but I have to pay $8 shipping for $5 worth of screws. Multiply by a few hundred million and that's why there is a payoff for corporations to reduce quality. Nobody gets ripped off for their entire life savings (unless you buy stock in the company), everybody gets to pay 10% less for 25% lower quality, and it's almost never worth fighting back. (Are you going to return the stripped screws and try to get a refund? No, at most you'll just try to remember which store and which brand, and get different ones next time, if you can find better, and you aren't in a rush, and they don't all come from the same factory in some 3rd world country no matter where you get them and be happy that you bought a box of 50 when you only needed 25 because you only have 5 left.

If you're dealing with contractors, you're probably doing this for a living, not just some average consumer who is spending .000001% of his annual income on screws.

--
John

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John Santos wrote:
> Not really, the entire ideal free market model is predicated on > willing buyers and sellers with perfect knowledge of price and > quality.
Who the hell said I'm willing?
> Consumers don't *know* the quality until after they buy.
God point, but there is no free lunch.
A price too far from the norm (either high or low) is an indication of a probable problem.
>> Don't like the price, don't buy. > > I'm not going to drive 30 miles and check prices in 5 different > stores before buying a couple dozen screws.
I don't either, that's why UPS exists.
> So it's Saturday morning, I've got a project to complete, I don't > to blow the day chasing after some needed supplies, so I'm going to > the nearest hardware store, hope they have the right size and they > aren't complete crap, and buy them.
Your lack of planning is your problem.<G>
> > If you're dealing with contractors, you're probably doing this for > a living, not just some average consumer who is spending .000001% > of his annual income on screws.
My days of dealing with contractors are long gone; however, years spent as a working design engineer as well as lots of window shopping as a young kid because I couldn't afford to buy the stuff in the window, teaches you to be a prudent steward of ones available resources.
Lew
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Frank Boettcher wrote:

There is _always_ some. It may not be the most convenient, but that's part of the equation of choice.

But I was making a point that competition is keen and if they don't compete, sheer customer loyalty is a false hope.
...

There's no point if feeling sorry for him and that wasn't the point. He has since moved on back to a smaller foundry. The particular product in that case were connections for large very high voltage distribution lines.
The Chinese _can_ make very high quality product if you specify it and control it. In order to do so you'll probably have to invest your own time and expertise on site to gain it, but many are finding that profitable.

In your particular instance, maybe they have chosen to go after a lower market and left the high end behind. Or, maybe like you say, management has made a bad choice. If so, and their customers don't like it, they soon won't be customers and the company will either change its product, its target customer, or go away. That's competition. Ugly, but real.
...

But they _are_ the end user customers and they're simply being rational consumers. They found another supplier of equivalent (or at least adequate) quality/performance and chose them over their previous supplier on the basis of cost.
...

Then why is Walmart the bane of the local high end shop in Anytown, USA?
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You make a statement like that like you have been there and done that. Have you? If so please elaborate on your personal experience or are you just going by what you google. I always like to know with whom I'm debating a point. Often establishes credibility.
And by the way, I understand there are good prices on tires coming from China you might want to put your family on if you have that type of confidence. I can hardly hear from the uproar of end user consumers that are clamoring for those tires to put on their cars. They may save ten bucks or so and they can hardly wait.
Either way, I rest my case. My point is that the END USER CONSUMER is not driving the headlong rush to lower quality products that would be used by people who would be on this forum or their peers. that was the original premise that you disagreed with.
Those that have not fallen asleep from this thread may decide for themselves.
Have a nice fourth.
Frank

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Frank Boettcher wrote:
...

I am not metallurgical, I'm nuclear and have been there for power generation reasons. The knowledge of their foundry capabilities is from the aforementioned friend who has been (and continues to be) a manager and chief engineer at various foundries on his experience and the (also aforementioned) company's experience in shift much of the production to China. He spent months there every year for about six or seven working out the transition, etc. The extensive travel was a major factor in leaving them for his present position. It wasn't easy, but it did succeed (eventually).

Actually, they are (clamoring for $10 savings, that is). A warehouse opened up here just the other day and some of their initial stock was, am I told, some of these imports.
As noted previously, there seems to be no end to the demand for "cheap" amongst the bulk of the buying public.
What you and I choose as individuals has little overall effect -- now if you could convince two of your buddies, and each of them two of theirs, and so on...

I still disagree in that I think the bulk of the readership of r.w is just casual joe's, not much different in habits than the overall population...
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"Frank Boettcher" wrote

Home Depot goes one step further. They will take perfectly good products that can be purchased in the United States and get cheap knock offs made for a substantially lower price. This in turn is sold in their stores at the original price.
We get screwed five ways.
1) We get cheap crap sold to us. (The quality gets lower and lower all the time.)
2) We often have to pay the same price as the higher quality product for the cheap knock off.
3) More jobs are lost overseas to the junk makers.
4) We are having many choices systematically removed from the marketplace. This in turn reduces employment in this country as well as flooding us with crap.
5) Our houses. projects and lives are negatively impacted because of all the crap products we must use. This is because quality products are driven from the retail markets.
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In Swingman's case, he probably paid more for the Rockler screws that he would have from McFeeley's. Ironically I have found that most often the more expensive the screw the poorer the quality. This is mostly because you pay a lot for the convenience of getting the screw in a smaller quantity and today.
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Wow - not my experience at all. Were all the ones you used from a single batch? I've used at least several hundred Rockler wood screws, bought at various times, different branches and online, so I didn't just get a "fluke" good batch. I've NEVER had one fail, either while driving or after assembly. Like I said, in my experience with Borg screws, at LEAST 25% of them failed as I was driving, and other batches have been equally unimpressive. I can't say how Rockler's screws compare to McFeeley's, as I haven't used McF's, but Rockler's have been 100% reliable for me, at a good price, and I'm happy with that. I have seen their heads develop surface rust on shop projects that were stored in damp basement corners, but they don't claim to be rustproof or for outdoor use. I haven't had any show rust in storage. If I wanted durable screws that would be used in damp conditions or outdoor projects, I wouldn't use Rockler's lube finished screws. I'm not affiliated with Rockler or anyone else, just sharing my positive experiences with reasonably-priced stuff. Andy
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