I was at the hardware store picking up some supplies, and one of the salesguys asked me to help with a problem another customer was having (why me? Just because I was in the electical aisle?)
The customer was looking for a replacement cord for a wall sconce. He had the original with him - a length of white zipcord with a molded plug on one end, a thumbwheel switch in the middle, and a squeeze-on male plug on the other end. Turns out he had been powering up the lamp thru its convenience outlet for years now. Argh. What some people will do. I just hope the real feed at the back of the sconce was taped off.
reminds me of a story from shopping at "The Big Orange" one day, a guy picks up a deep 4s box, and asks the friendly electrical service guy how he should hook up his hardwired range, why does he need to? because the wirenuts conecting the range to its feed were melted
Well I decide to stick my big nose in and say "if it's melted you should call a licensed EC, there might be a problem such as an aluminum to copper connection or undersized wires etc." Electrical aisle guy responds "well when was your condo built" "late 70's" "oh, they stopped using aluminum wire by then" by this point it's obvious that they're not going to listen to me, hey can't relly blame them, I was a 16 year old with his pants bloused into leather boots wearing his brother's old army jacket so I let it unfold, the HD guy tells cust. "well you can make some temporary connections but you really should call an electrician to make the final connections" I breathe a sigh of relief, this guy hopefully won't burn down his condo
but then.... "or you can pick up a copy of our 'Wiring 1, 2, 3' book, that'll tell you everything you need to know"
arrgh, I can just see it now, HO makes cruddy splice to old 70's wires with melted insulation, utilizing "Big Blues," with melted insulation, insulation breaks off, starts fire...
#73542 - 12/28/0610:04 PMRe: what some people will do
I used to work at "Dope-o" part-time before I went into my own thing. Everyone in the electrical dept. swore that they were electricians. You could not believe some of the things that I would here them tell the customers, I would just walk away.
#73543 - 12/28/0611:21 PMRe: what some people will do
Actually, I've stepped in more than once to circumvent the rediculous advice that one of the "electrical specialists" at the orange or blue box store was spewing fourth to an unsuspecting customer. I've also gotten quite a bit of work as a result of talking over the customers head.
Don't get upset by these situations, make the most of them. Always carry a few business cards in your wallet when shopping at the boxes.
Even if you don't get any business out of the deal, you're doing a fellow human a good turn by steering them in the right direction, and possibly saving their property, or even (at the risk of being a little dramatic) their life.
#73544 - 12/29/0602:07 AMRe: what some people will do
The guys at the Home Depot know me and I get grabbed now and then to answer a question. It works out OK because I also get waited on if I ask them a question (usually do you have ...?). Our Home Depot is trying to get better. They have displays around with different wire sizes and what they are good for, using the 60c column or 240.4(D). That is safer than trying to explain when smaller wire OK. It also sells bigger wire. They have displays with different kind of boxes and switches made up too. It is not the best situation possible but they are trying to do the right thing. It is a whole lot better than Lowes who seem to hire the dumbest people on the planet but they are very polite and attentive.
#73545 - 12/29/0603:40 AMRe: what some people will do
First - if in a Home Destructo - I will not even pass through the electrical aisle... I feel funny there... The only things I have purchased there in the last few years have been cement, plywood for forms, roof patch, all needed on Sunday and my wife likes that she can return dead plants...
However, I get siimular questions at the supply house from people who should know better - but I help anyway... "How do you do a service calc'?" Not kidding....
I am lucky enough to have some great hardware stores localy and preffer to shop at them, as the quality and service are far superior - and my City would have a hard time pushing a Home Destructo through the planning dept. (They have been trying for years...) Home Despot Supply bought White Cap Supply about a year and half ago, which needed to be moved due to eminant domain of a Bio Reasearch area - In the old location and the new location they cant put up the orange sign - and when the permits for the new building were published they got scoffed at until they kept HD off of the plans. What killed them here in SF was the closing of a few of our best and biggest lumberyards and hardware stores when they built the one in the town fifteen minutes to the south of us. Many people still have bitter memories of that as its closing got lots of public attention.
Mark Heller "Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
#73546 - 12/29/0603:52 AMRe: what some people will do
Oh I should also mention that we dont have a Loews or OHS either, but all of the Ace franchises here are independantly run and rarely carry any Ace brand items - they are all kind of specialized and seem to carry the best quality items they can find. One is kind of industrial the other is more home-owner, a few others are even design or appliance orientated and only a few of them even have an Ace sign on them.
Mark Heller "Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
#73547 - 12/29/0605:13 AMRe: what some people will do
About 3 years ago I went to look at a 70 year old bandsaw with a view to renovating it. The original 3 ph 6 pole 5hp motor was in one tumbledown shed, and a gigantic 3" canvas belt ran into the adjacent wreck of a barn to the saw, via holes bashed through the columbage, [ mud and hazel wattle in an oak frame]. "Elle marche bien!" says the proud owner- "Regardez!" He had wired it up, direct start, from a 400v 3 ph supply, with a domestic extension cord, using ground [green/yellow] as the 3rd phase. The "switch" turned out to be a half-wired decrepid star-delta device, lying on the dirt floor near the motor. He started it and we stumbled next door. In the barn the manky old saw blade, [ with 50% of its teeth missing], howled round at 1600 feet a minute, with no means of turning it off, as the fast-and-loose lever was rusted solid. Ignorance is bliss.
Wood work but can't!
#73548 - 12/30/0610:50 AMRe: what some people will do