A couple weeks back I posted a big tutorial on installing new bike pedals (See How He Uses a Spanner.., Gravy Bread, Aug. 5)—those pedals being Bell Universal Fit Comp Bicycle Pedals, purchased at good ole Walmart. I didn’t honestly expect these pedals to last as long as the previous ones they replaced, which made it very nearly to the three-year mark, three very grueling years. I did, however, expect the new ones to make it for at least one year. Ha! How about 18 big days? That’s right. Catastrophic failure of the right pedal—installed on Aug. 3—occurred the night of Aug.20, on my way home, and this in fairly dangerous traffic. Luckily my foot was able to grip the remaining metal shaft enough to get me over some railroad tracks and out of the way of several cars behind me as we went through a busy intersection. After traffic cleared, I rode back to the spot near the tracks where the pedal had fallen off. Examination later, as shown in these pictures, reveals a complete separation of the middle part from the rest of the pedal. How can something meant for such a serious, grueling endeavor as bike pedaling be so shoddily made? I will be taking this back with the receipt, but without the original packaging (I threw it out) I’m not sure what to expect. I’m more baffled than pissed off. A company is mass manufacturing a product so unsuited and inadequate for its purpose – on the shelves of every Walmart, and that’s a lot of stores with a lot of shitty Bell bike pedals, if indeed, they were made with the same bad plastic or design. Guess I’ll be heading for the bike shop for pedals after all. -EG
No, there hasn’t been a formal announcement to this effect, but I fully expect it to happen any day.
I’ve got the inside scoop from an insider.
Don’t blab this too much, but I spoke to an actual “associate.” That’s right, one of the “partners” in the firm.
I think her name was Shirley, and she was ringing up some manure at the counter in the gardening center.
You see, I was in need of a certain common tool used in yard work and farm work. And I figured that since Wal-mart had bankrupted and driven off all of the small local hardware store competition across the land, the mighty one-stop mega-mart would now be my exclusive source for this common hardware item. Looking at all the rustic folks who had just piled out of their pickups and were shopping alongside me, I fully expected that at least a few of them were looking for the same thing that I was.
Surely Shirley could direct me.
‘Tis spring, after all, and the manly urge to clear the land and cleave the soil took root in my being and sprang forth with the warmth of the new Spring sun.
And what more a manly store than Wal-Mart? Where you can buy propane and 5-gallon jugs of water and other survivalist fare.
Baffled I was, then, at scouring the aisles in hardware and coming up empty. So off I went to Shirley in lawn and garden.
Direct me good associate, says I to she, to that which allowed Paul Bunyan to clearcut this mighty continent so that should be lain upon it a Stuckey’s-laden interstate highway system envied the world over.
“We don’t sell axes,” Shirley says, somewhat perplexed-looking upon my request, “because they have sharp edges.”
Crestfallen I was, perplexed myself at the shovels and weeders hanging from the wall opposite. Were these sharp-edged tools soon also to be banned from the gardening center? I wondered how Americans would be able to weed and garden and cut timber. It seemed like a New World Order plot to take away sharp tools [weapons] from the common man. Wal-mart had already gotten rid of guns from most stores. Now axes.
Hoes (no, Don, not the nappy-headed kind) and kitchen knives must be next.
And after that, what then? Sharpies? And why not? Look at what can happen to some fools who are careless with those.——————————>>>>
Yes, I might very well buy an axe and cut off my toes or go on a bloody rampage. Then Wal-Mart might get sued.
And where would I buy my Molly Hatchet CDs, if not for Wal-Mart? I axe you…
The fate of yard gnomes that come in contact with sharp garden tools could be my own, as graphically illustrated at this website: http://www.bifrost.com.au/hosting/gnomes/
Damn trial lawyers and liberals. I blame them for this outrage, of course. And I’m sure Bill Clinton had something to do with it. They’ve turned my Wal-Mart into a pansy store—an ugly version of Target—where I can buy organic tofu but not a hatchet.
So that leaves mega-hardware purveyors Home Depot and Lowe’s.
Home Depot was a nonstarter for me due to their inability to keep certain common items in stock when I need them, most particularly the 59-cent fiberglass 16 x 25 furnace filters. And besides, their website only lists one hatchet and one axe in stock, and they don’t tell you what the handle is made of.
The sparse assortment at Lowe’s was disappointing. Nothing but a bunch of plastic and/or fiberglass handles, hollowed out no less.
If I’m going to pay $40 for an axe, the handle has to be wood. No compromise.
Strangely, Lowe’s sold axes without wooden handles, yet sold wooden replacement handles for them!
So, in a scenario that is becoming increasingly common in this world, it has suddenly become hard to find something that should not be hard to find.
Yet I can buy a friggin cell phone at Kroger.
Look, I’m probably as metro-sexual as the next emasculated post-modern suburban wuss man. But in that rare moment when my testosterone surges and I wanna split some cherry or oak, by gum, I wanna be able get the tools I need to git ‘er done.
And I mean Amish style. No friggin chainsaws just so I can get it done fast enough to hurry back to sit my lazy ass in front of a 50-inch screen.
[OK, maybe chainsaws scare me. But I’m not talking about cutting enough wood on a regular basis to justify that expense.]
Anyway, no sale, unprovident mega-stores.
I took a rusty dulled old hatchet from my garage and—proving nothing to nobody but myself—chopped every single one of the fallen limbs and threw them into my neighbor’s fireplace wood pile.
So, mission accomplished Wal-mart. I didn’t hurt myself with my old hatchet, or on your non-existent ones.
Hope the tofu thing works out for you.