“Is this how it ends?” Sal asked.
“You know, TEOTWAWKI” (the end of the world as we know it)?
The reason she asked that is somewhat intuitive…as in: ‘a woman’s intuition’….
We were on our way to Victoria for a few days. But, as readers know, I rarely go anywhere with only one chore or purpose. If I was going all the way down island, I’d pick up some needed stuff. I have a boat to launch! Fortunately all the stuff I needed was as common as a galvanized bolt. And that is where the story begins….
I needed 12 galvanized carriage bolts 5/16 diameter and 6 inches long. And I went to my favourite local chandler. “We’re out of ’em. Sorry.”
“Well, I also need two through-hull fittings….?” “We are out of them, too. Sorry.”
I got back in the car and we headed south. I asked Sal to look ahead along the route to locate other chandleries. She did. “Hmmm….there are several more but they are closed.”
“How can that be? It’s May 1st. The boating season officially begins May first. It’s also a weekend, fer gawd’s sake! Every chandlery on the coast is at its busiest. ‘Tis the season!”
“The next four are closed. Nanaimo seems open and so is Sidney but everyone else is closed.”
“That’s weird but no matter…galvanized carriage bolts are common and even bloody Home Depot should have ’em.” So, we stopped at a Home Depot (the store of a thousand disappointments) and, sure enough, they did not have them.
“That’s odd but, no matter. I’ll go to a fastener warehouse. I also need some 1.5″ stainless screws with #6 Robertson heads. Not to worry.”
I was wrong again. The best ‘fastener place’ in Victoria that I know of did not have them. Neither the s/s screws nor the bolts. To me, that is like going to the grocery store and being told they don’t have bread or milk.
In the meantime, gasoline was at $2.00 a liter.
And, as an added bonus: living OTG means your car gets dirtier and dirtier which becomes an issue when you visit the city. People brushing against my car need to immediately take a shower and send their clothes to the laundry. We (and our car) are like the Charles Schulz character, Pigpen, and dirt just seems to follow us like a cloud. So, I stopped at a carwash. It was $17.00 for a basic wash!
“Dave, what is your point!?”
Pizza in Victoria was $35.00. Gas was $8.00 a gallon. You cannot find bolts and screws. EVEN LEE VALLEY DID NOT HAVE ‘EM!!! Everything was very expensive or ‘out of stock’. Worse, when I tried (out of desperation) Canadian Tire for the bolts, they had seven left (I am NOT as stupid as this blog might suggest. I looked in the bin that had 3/8″ bolts and found that some dork had put some 5/16 bolts in there.) They are likely the last seven bolts on Vancouver Island but I needed 12. Took me twenty minutes to get to the cashier. They only had two cashiers on. Five registers empty. When I left there were 25 people waiting like zombies in the line behind me. Just standing there; their lives ebbing away before my eyes.
I got back to the car. “Yeah. I think you’re right. It is all ending with a whimper. If there is a BANG it won’t be from Putin, it will be from some old guy going off his nut and shootin’ up a Home Depot or Canadian Tire.”
Shortages are one thing. Lack of staff and service is another. Even a whole region like Vancouver Island can have those kinds of problems. I get that. But watching dozens of people lining up like zombies only to be overcharged and come away with crap or worse, NOTHING is mind blowing. This actually MIGHT BE the way it all ends. “For the want of a nail….”
“For the want of a nail the shoe was lost, For the want of a shoe the horse was lost, For the want of a horse the rider was lost, For the want of a rider …(Benjamin Franklin)