23 August 2010

Wing nut, 50 cents
Buying in bulk is generally thought to be the eco-friendly and cost-effective way to shop. This is true of things like sugar and flour, but what about hardware? Some types of fasteners only come in little plastic packets of at least four. Manufacturers sell more fasteners that way, and you feel you’re getting better value for money. But if you only need one, you’re paying for three you don’t need. Even if you do need another one down the track, will you remember you have it and be able to find it? If you’re merely replacing the nut on your kitchen scales or reattaching a single cabinet handle, markets with trash and treasure are the way to go. Not only are there lots of old tools, there are lots of old nuts. And no, I don’t mean the stallholders.