Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Metal yards part 2 - Drops and Cut Offs

The first metal yard I patronized was Alco Iron and Metal in San Leandro. I was referred there by my welding instructor, an attractive lady blacksmith, who said she got great prices with a little flirting. The best deals, she told me, were 'cut-offs' or the left over pieces when they cut something for another customer.

When I went down there I knew flirting would not work. I'm not gay and neither are the guys in the yard. But I did remember to ask for cut-offs and was eventually given directions to an area of shorter pieces, all jumbled together, and was gratified to get a discount. Service at Alco turned out to be reserved for big orders and little orders like me got short shrift from the yard guys and the counter guy. And, should you wonder, every person in a metal yard is a guy.

Several months later I discovered Naylor Steel in Hayward. Viva la difference! A much smaller operation than Alco but everything was organized. The yard guys were helpful, efficient, and even loaded up my truck. However when I asked for 'cut-offs' I got a blank look. When I explained, they said, "Oh, you mean 'drops.' " They too were neatly organized in bins according to shape and size. At the front counter is a display showing every steel shape they have in stock, measuring tapes you can borrow, and wipes to clean your hands if you forget to bring gloves.

Naylor is 20 minutes further than Alco, but they got my business.

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