Living in the Los Angeles area has its ups and downs. As a maker tinkerer, one of the “up” is close proximity to a major McMaster-Carr distribution facility. When introducing McMaster-Carr to friends who are not already aware of them, I say “they sell everything you’d need to set up a factory.” It is a valuable resource that becomes even more valuable when deadlines loom because of their quick service and willing to ship orders of any quantity. I receive my orders the next day, and in case of a real crunch, I can fight LA traffic to get same-day satisfaction at their will-call pickup window.
Selection, speed, and customer service are their strengths, but that comes with tradeoff in cost and efficiency. Nothing illustrated this more clearly than a recent experience with one of my McMaster-Carr orders. My shipment included a number of small aluminum spacers of a particular inner/outer diameter. And the length is obviously the most critical dimension for a spacer… but one of them was too short. It appears these were cut on automated CNC lathes and an incomplete end piece of stock fell into the pile of finished products.
I reported this to McMaster-Carr and they immediately sent out a replacement spacer delivered the next day.
As a customer I can’t complain: I reported my problem and they fixed it immediately at their expense. It does make me happy that I only had to wait an extra day and I plan to continue buying from McMaster-Carr for my hardware needs. I don’t have an alternative to propose, so this was probably the best possible outcome.
All that said, it still feels incredibly wasteful.