Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel

Home Hardware ~ shrinkflation

with 2 comments


In the 80s, when Judy and I lived in the Annex (Toronto), we used the Home Hardware store on Bloor. It was small and amazing what they had in there. The tools we bought then are still in use today, as quality tools.

But with time, as Home Hardware chased the Walmart model of “rollback the price”, we have seen and experience rollback the quality. Though this is a trend that we all have seen appliances, et cetera, it is a trend I try not to get sucked into.  So, we learnt to not buy tape, hand-tools and now screws at Home Hardware, and hence, we infrequently go there.

I keep a stock of Robertson #8 and #10 Wood Screws at hand in bins (from 3/4″ to 3″), and buy in bulk (100+). Here are two screws bought at Home Hardware recently (on the left) and a decade ago (on the right).

thread closeup _DSC1928

The two threads on the recent screws – what is important to hold your work together – are poorly formed, misshapen and the second thread is nearly non-existent. Seriously, is this any better than a spiral nail?

Oh yes, it is smaller and with less metal. If you put it on a fine scale, you will find the new “wood” screw is 12% lighter (less – shrinkflation)!

So, a cautionary tale – beware of companies passing on poor materials, as they chase Walmart – versus differentiating themselves as a supplier of good materials.

Written by raspberryfisher

2018/06/02 at 21:11

Posted in Life in the back

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2 Responses

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  1. Dave, fully agree with you: that sickness is driven by quarterly bottom line mentality. Nobody cares any longer about making customers happy, thus ensuring they come back. Milk the suckers and the hell with everything.

    Nortel had it, banks & automotive industry thrives on it – it’s everywhere. In a few cases where I bumped into it, I make sure the supplier/maker/seller hear about my displeasure, loud and clear.


    2018/06/04 at 00:46

    • The bottom line drives the behaviour, but I contend it is the companies belief how we respond as consumers. Companies such as Walmart offer nothing more that “rollback the prices”, and Home Hardware has no imagination other than copy Walmart. So their view of us, only price matters. The buyers at Home Hardware should be ashamed of themselves. Would I be proud coming home to the family dinner and told my children, “hey kids, Dad had a good day, I negotiated a great savings an improve our margins to the mother-ship, and only had to buy-sell bad product ti the public”.

      I am afraid this trend for junk at lowest price has now hit the LED Lightbulb market.

      Thankfull, quality is available, I think of my purchases from Stihl, Wiha, Mirka, Fein, Lie-Nielsen, et cetera. And for resellers, Lee Valley has not sunk to the bottom (though some of their items are gimmicks in my eye, so I do keep a watchful). And you live near Industrial Fasteners, so you have some more easily available options than I.

      And this attitude transcend in B2B activity. I have enough examples from my job.

      We do not need more things.

      We do not need to add more to landfills.

      I think in terms of quality and good value, and definitely avoid the junk. Unfortunately, I found out these screws were after I made the mistake.

      Thank you for adding into this discussion.


      2018/06/05 at 01:49

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