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Despite all the stores, sometimes shopping is hard

Silicon Valley is filled with stores; I’d say retail is still overbuilt, despite some store closings.  But recently, I had a lot of trouble finding some definitely non-exotic items.

First, I went looking for a 4″ Crescent wrench.  I looked at four stores, including Lowe’s and Orchard; the results weren’t pretty.

I bought a 4″ Craftsman wrench at Orchard about a decade ago, but now Orchard has nothing.  At least Orchard has some good hand tools, such as Bondhus hex wrenches.

I wasn’t impressed with Lowe’s hand tools; about half seemed to be private labeled made in China specials.  They didn’t have any 4″ Crescent wrenches.

Fry’s actually has some nice hand tools, although their selection was better a few years ago.  For example, I bought some really sweet Wiha screwdrivers there, but they don’t sell those now.  And they don’t sell 4″ wrenches.

I finally went to the local Ace hardware store, and found a sweet little 4″ Crescent wrench (made by Crescent).  It wasn’t cheap, but the quality is excellent, and I expect it to last a decade or two.

The second item I wanted was a pen (Sakura Jelly Roll) someone gave us; I really like the way it writes.  So I looked at the Office Depot, Staples, and Target, didn’t find it, gave up, and then found the Sakura web site.  Apparently, their pens are only sold by specialist stores (e.g. art and technical drawing stores).  Sometime I’ll make a trip to one of those stores; they have some really cool sounding products, including pigment ink pens and embossing pens.


1 Brent { 03.31.10 at 6:40 am }

The big chain crafts stores (Michaels) carry Sakura products. I can highly recommend their “Pigma Micron” pens in the 05 size. Pick up a handful of black ones and a couple red ones. The latter are really nice for redlining drawings.

2 Tony { 03.31.10 at 10:53 am }

Thanks Brent; I’ll check out Michaels pretty soon. A friend suggested Aaron Brothers, so I’ll take a look there, too.

I was very disappointed in the pen selection at both Staples and Office Max; it seemed like about half of Staple’s selection (like Lowe’s) was private label. At least both sell Uniball and Pilot.

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