You Are Standardly Screwed

, , , , , , | Right | November 29, 2019

(I work in the call center for an industrial supply company that sells fasteners and things. For context, we sell over 40,000 types of screws alone.)

Caller: “I’m looking for a screw that I can’t find on your website. My engineer asked me for a 0.375″-16 screw, but your options don’t show 0.375”.”

Me: “Our website will actually list thread sizes as a fraction, so if you enter 3/8″ rather than 0.375″ into the search options, it’ll come right up. Do you know what type of screw it is? I can just find it for you.”

Caller: “And is 0.375″ the same as 3/8″?”

Me: “Yes. 0.375 is the decimal equivalent of 3/8″.”

Caller: “It’s just a standard screw, 1″ long.”

Me: “Do you know what head there is on there?”

Caller: “Just a standard screw.”

Me: “There is no ‘standard’ screw, I’m afraid. I need a little more of a description from you.”

Caller: *irate* “It’s just a standard screw! How many different kinds are there?”

(Now she’s done it.)

Me: “Socket head, pan head, oval head, flat head, hex head, carriage bolts, thumb screws, set screws, plow bolts, elevator bolts…”

Caller: “What?”

Me: “…stainless steel, steel, brass, titanium, plastic, aluminum, galvanized, black coated, yellow zinc…

Caller: “I’ll need to call you back.” *click*

(I didn’t even get to the drive styles! Hex drive, Phillips, slotted, Torx, square, spanner, five-point…)

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