I am coming to the end of an era. The Buildocine. All the signs are there but the biggest sign just yesterday hit me in the face like a fish! Dave’s hardware store’s inventory is beginning to touch bottom. The well is pumping brown. I am running out of things. I can hardly believe it.
When we began this project, I gathered up supplies in advance of even knowing what we were going to build. When we started the actual building, I bought all the required supplies I thought I could possibly need for each stage and I never skimped. Why buy one pound of screws for ten bucks when I could buy 10 pounds for $35.00? It was basically just good math. But at first Sal didn’t get it.
“Sweetie, why are we buying 50 pounds of 3 inch galvanized casing nails. You said we just needed a few?”
“Yeah, well, we do. Just a couple of pounds actually. But the math is good and one always needs 3 inch galvanized casing nails, eh?”
“We’ve never needed even one before. You sure?”
We’d get the nails and, for good measure a box of four-inch and 2-inch plus a bucket o’ screws. Sal just shook her head.
She had good reason. I didn’t really know what I was talking about. I didn’t really know anything except that going shopping was such an incredible drag. I decided that if I had to buy one, I’d buy a dozen and, with that simple extravagance, I’d have a replacement for the one I dropped and lost, the one I ruined by cutting it too short and the two I lent my neighbour. Simple logic: I’d still have 7 left that would likely suffice to save me from having to ever shop for them again. I’d save the money back by never having to buy them again. Just think of the fuel savings alone.
And Dave’s local hardware store was born.
This mad way of stocking inventory has stood me in good stead. Whenever we needed something, we had it. Always. 100%. And, over the years, my reputation grew. As we were building Sal beamed at me frequently in ever-growing appreciation for my foresightedness. I was golden.
But all good things come to an end. Even Mike Tyson eventually lost. And it was a shock when it happened! I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t see it coming. I was caught flat-footed and empty-handed. And that feels bad when you are standing amongst three buckets of extra nails (yes, we still have 40 pounds of 3-inch galvanized casing nails!). I thought I was covered. It is hard to describe the feeling of not being covered. Naked, perhaps?
I had a hint a few days before: “Dave? G here. I need a dozen or so one-inch, fine-threaded bolts with a flat head. For drawer pulls, ya know? You got ém?”
“Probably. I’ll check. Get back to you in a few minutes.”
And I searched high and low. Searching is always done in a mild panic. There is no system, really. Well, in a way there is – there are two systems actually: the vague, imprecise, running tally I have in my head that starts with ‘Hmmmm, I am thinking that they would be somewhere near the end of the lower level bench………….maybe near the carriage head bolts……………possibly….if I have any……..’
And then there is the more reliable system: “Hey, Sal! Ya know where the little bolts are? The ones that you might use for drawer handles??!!”
“Have you tried the tote labelled drawer handles?“
And that system sufficed for the last eight years. It is a great system if Sal is home or if she is nearby and has turned on the walkie-talkie (such an occurrence is extremely unlikely. She doesn’t like to turn on communication devices, ya know? Our gal Sal likes to leave them turned off and left at the bottom of her purse. It is quieter that way, she says). Still, all in all, it was a good system. We usually had the goods.
Until yesterday. Not only had I discovered that we were out of small bolts for drawer pulls but yesterday I had to use some silicone bronze two-inch ring nails instead of the cheaper galvanized kind. We were out of the 2-inch galvanized nails as well!
I ‘got by’ by using silicone bronze – a material both rare and expensive. I only used about twenty nails but they were at least twenty times more expensive than their galvanized counterparts. My inventory had let me down again! I felt inadequate. A feeling I am familiar enough with to know when it is upon me. Yep, it was inadequacy alright – inventory dysfunction. Came up short, if you know what I mean?
This puts me in some kind of weird dilemma: do I replenish the inventory? Would doing so just be for reasons of ego or am I going to maybe build another house? The Pfizer Conundrum. And, if I am not going to build large again, what about the smaller projects? Don’t they need inventory, too? And what about my standing with the neighbours? Is my basic personality attractive enough to keep my friends without my stock of supplies? Do I dare risk finding out?
And, worse, where to start? There are quite a few depleted items. Many half-filled jars, tins and boxes, tubes o’goo and various things and length of things I have forgotten about. What do I have? What should I get?
I dunno……..maybe I’ll just get out of the business altogether, ya know? Retire from discount wholesale hardware supplies and get into something where the basic supply is guaranteed to be there and grow itself. Maybe carving wooden ducks or something? I got trees up the ying yang.