Monday, January 25, 2010


Man, I was spitting fire last night! Why? Because I have become convinced that the engineers who design products for home use (particularly products which a guy might attempt to fix himself such as a leaky faucet) must have a particularly EVIL sense of humor.

I mean, why else would these designers make the decisions they do about how to assemble these products? Specifically, decisions such as which style of screw to use. Yes, I am convinced this is a specific and utterly nefarious plan to inflict the greatest degree of expletive inducing frustration on unsuspecting homeowners. Clearly this is the most logical explanation.

It's also my conclusion that the particular design engineers employed by a faucet peddler beginning with the name Price must be the life of the party during cocktail hour at the annual 'Association of Engineers Determined to Drive Unsuspecting Homeowners into Padded Cells' conference. In fact, I would be extremely surprised if these evil geniuses ever actually bought themselves a drink at such a conference.

How else to explain the farcical episode that I had to play out last night while attempting to replace a faulty gasket on a brand new kitchen faucet? A 5 minute project, tops. Just pop the cap, unscrew the top of the faucet, pop in new gasket, put it back together. Easy peasy.

But nooooo....the Price folks decided it was appropriate to require a 3/16" hexagonal wrench to unscrew the pivot handle. 3/16"! Unfortunately, this was NOT the size of the 500 or so IKEA hex wrenches living in various nooks and crannies around my house. NOT the size of every other hex wrench I found in the first 45 minutes of searching, including every size on the bike repair tool I climbed over heaps of clutter in my garage to acquire.

However, it WAS the size of the single rusty wrench I found in the very last conceivable place I could think to look approximately 1 hour later. This was an hour in the evening which I could have spent relaxing with my wife, leisurely planning the week ahead, or Tweeting & Blogging for Pete's sake. The humanity! But you want to know what the topper was? The topper was what I found when I removed that hexagonal screw. I found yet another piece which had to be removed. One that was held together by...

A Phillips Head screw!

Heck, I nearly blew my own gasket. This was obviously either a 1) stupid or 2) evil design decision. I'm guessing evil. Otherwise, I could just have replaced all the parts with my one screwdriver and been off to enjoy my pleasant evening without hassle.

So let me say this in conclusion. If there are any politicians reading out there and are looking for a fresh angle to appeal to the average voter, a surefire way to seal the support of the middle class homeowner, consider running on a Standardize Screw Head platform. One in which those design engineers who don't conform will be dealt with in the harshest of ways.

Such as having to work on home repair projects late into night.


Anonymous said...

It is very interesting for me to read the blog. Thanks for it. I like such themes and anything connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more soon.

Anonymous said...

Wow, the kitchen faucet is next on my honey do list, I guess I know which brand won't be on my list. Ugh!

SciFi Dad said...

It's because you used twitter. That's why everything went wrong. Twitter poisons everything, even kitchen sink screws.

Slamdunk said...

Ouch I feel your pain. We have lots of those wrenches laying around here as well.

When we decided to redo our bathrooms and install new faucets, the Mrs. would not let me touch the stuff--only observe the plumber.

Dad Logic said...

Ever notice that they always use these strange screws for bathroom fixtures? I'd imagine it is designed to prevent vandalism, but I always wondered if the bathroom installation guys have the same trouble I go through when building a table from Ikea.

Captain Dumbass said...

I happily leave plumbing issues to my FIL. I have no problem admitting I have absolutely no business whatsoever playing with stuff like that.

Ed said...

I happen to know a partial answer to your dilemma. It's all in the aftermarket repair business.

The manufacturer of my plumbing fixtures made the threads on the valves mere millimeters smaller than a standard replacement fixture. You can't go to Lowe's and find a replacement. Hell, you can't even go to a specialty plumbing store. You have to go back to the manufacturer. They made them that way to essentially assure themselves of any down the road repair business that might (as shall I say--will) arise.

Problem is, though the manufacturer of my plumbing fixtures shut down residential plumbing about 20 years ago. They are still around for commercial needs but do not make any parts for what I've got. It SUCKS!!!