Thursday was a driving day. I took Hagar to drop off her stuff for a weekend event. Since it was in the right direction, I stopped at my metal supply shop to pick up some metal.

To understand an interaction with these folks, you have to first understand noob.

13+ years ago, I found them because they were close to where I had a client. It was no issue to stop in and buy from them.

I opened the door and was in their office. Not in an anti-room, but in their office. Bill turns to me and asks, “Can I help you?

“I’d like some 1 inch steel.”

“What type of steel?”

I’m a smart guy. At least that’s what my mom told me. I had no idea, “What type of steel?” Steel is steel. Aluminum is aluminum.

Bill wasn’t interested in teaching a noob. He took enough time to make sure I got what I needed, and I was ready when I came back.

I now know to ask for 6061 when I want aluminum. If I want cheap steel, nasty and ugly, but mostly flat. I ask for that garbage steel, 1018. If I want cheaper still and less flat, A36 steel.

If I want a better steel, I’m likely to ask for 4140 or some other word or number I’ve seen mentioned.

I ask for what I want by name. If I don’t care, I’ll ask them as the steel people. They have always treated me fairly.

Thursday was slightly unusual for me. I had placed the order on Monday. Told them I was picking it up on Thursday. And I specified some sizes specifically.

If you are a production shop, and your end size is 1x3x10, you will get 1.061 by 3.061 by 10.125. You do not get 1.5×3.5×15.

The time it takes to remove that extra material is money. The cost of that extra steel is money.

The cost of material is based on weight, for all intents. That 1x3x10 is 8.520 lbs and that is what you get charged for.

If the material is a little oversized, nobody cares, and you pay would it should weight at the nominal size.

If they are cutting that from a longer stick, you will often get charged a cut charge. This ranges from $5/cut to $10/cut.

On the other hand, drops are a thing. If a client has ordered four 7ft long sticks of 0.25×4 6061, that is what they are paying for. That is a single cut because it will be gang cut. But a stick of 0.25×4 is 10 foot long (Or 20, I do not remember). That means they have 4 pieces that are 4 feet long.

They aren’t going to trash it. They aren’t going to scrap it. They are going to put it on a shelf and how somebody wants to buy a piece of 1/4×4 that is less than 36 inches long.

Which means me. I’m willing to buy those drops. So I get a good deal on most drops.

So I walk into the metal supply shop. “Hello Bill!”

“Hello, AWA, it’s been a while.”

“It sure has Bill. I don’t work around here anymore.”

“You’ve changed your look.”

I stroke my beard, which is starting to look good.

“I didn’t say for the better.”

With that, I knew I was part of the accepted. This is a person I interact with maybe 3 times a year. It has been over 4 years since I purchased from Bill.

He greets me by name. And gives me a gentle insult.

That insult stopped my search for a closer supply house. I’ll stick with Bill and his people.

(Bill is not his name. If he were to read this, he would know I’m talking about him.)

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By awa

2 thoughts on “So you like me?”
  1. In the working world, insults are a love language. If you never get even a minor one, something is wrong.

Only one rule: Don't be a dick.

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