Whimper or a bang…..?

“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)

13 thoughts on “Whimper or a bang…..?

  1. Bet you did not try Strathcon Industries Inc
    1-2663 Kilpatrick Ave, Courtenay, BC V9N 7C8. (Not a promo just copied the address for you)
    I have some UHMWPE that you can’t break, can’t melt, will outlive you and your new boat. How much do you want?


    • No. I did not. Didn’t even know of ’em. But now I do. The next time I go to town, I’ll drop in (except I intend to NEVER EVER leave this island again!). But Sal can go, I guess. Mind you, she’s driven mad by it all now, too.


  2. As most of the time, you are right, This may well be TEOTWAWKI. I simply fail to understand what is happening. I could understand a lack of microchips, because if demand goes up, it takes at least 5 to 10 years to build a new factory. But nuts and bolts??? I do not see where the extra demand worldwide could come from, much les ramping up production if there would be a significant increase in demand. Here in Europe, may 9th may well be the turning point. At this day, Russia celebrates victory over the Nazi’s in WWII, and there is a lot of speculation that Poetin will officially declare war on Ukraine (which would allow him to mobilise his reserve forces and call the civilians in Russia under arms. Meanwhile, Europe will probably ban import of Russian oil, which will kill business in Europe and will create another huge increase in costs and create massive shortages.
    So a shortage in nuts and bolts might seem trivial in a few months, maybe we will be scavenging for bread and meat….
    My contacts in Ukraine are also saying may 9th may be the tipping point…


    • I ‘feel’ the threat of WW3, too, but not as much as I would if I lived in Poland, Moldova, Ukraine or even the rest of Europe. Our hearts are with you, WdG. Please find a safe place to run to (if there is one). If it happens, the ‘war’ will be short, western Russia will become a parking lot and so might a helluva lot of other places. My guess is that NATO has already trained a number of missiles and such on Russian targets. And, by way of back channels, already told the Russians. The message is: “Do not even think about it!” So, in fact, the BIG BANG option is still on the table.


    • Canada once made a jet fighter called the Avro Arrow. But the US did not like the competition and so Canada scrapped it. We were weak then. We have been impotent ever since. We make snowmobiles now. But, you are right…China makes screws and bolts. China is NOT making them currently. Yet another ‘whimper’ in a trek to TEOTWAWKI…………..


      • yep.
        Close the factories in your country and make the widgets cheaper in a 3rd world country.
        Its great until everything shuts down.
        My company orders chemicals from a US suppliers.
        They have our order but can’t find any Truck Drivers willing to haul dangerous ( flammable) goods.
        The rules and regs for hauling Dangerous Goods have created a shortage of material because ..everyone is so busy they are saying “Stuff your rules. Stuff your job.”

        This country is rotting from the inside out.


        • I dunno….I would not like to return to the good ol’ ‘carefree’ years when we stuffed asbestos into ceilings and dumped toxic chemicals in rivers and such. Cleaning up was a good idea. And SOME safety rules are good. But, but, but….the way we do things to get to that new standard is counterproductive. First we cause a sensation, then we pass legislation, then we fine the deviant companies and then we just outsource the damn thing to Pakistan, Bangladesh and China. There has to be a better way. If I want a cooperage, say, to stay in country, then maybe the government has to ‘assist’ that cooperage to modernize to the new standard? The problem, of course, is that Frank Stronach-types will get into government and then grant themselves a subsidy. Just like the oil companies do. The cooperage doesn’t get modernized, some CEO gets a raise!
          Solutions to problems also cause unintended NEW problems. So, I dunno….maybe we just all go live in caves and fuggedabout modcons.


  3. yesterday, Russia tested a new missile, capable of delivering 10 nuclear warheads to ANY European time. They test-fired it from Kaliningrad (between Poland and Lituania)….dangerously close if you ask me. If this goes “nuclear”, there is NO place to run to. Also heard yesterday that the FED has plans to increase rent by as much as 2.25 points before end of the year. Then recession for sure will kick in even more….bad times are coming. Just to be sure, I planted some extra vegetables…if it’s only crisis and NOT nuclear, at least I will have some food on the table


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