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I needed a hammer, so I bought one. Yes, another one.

While out driving two weeks ago a friend called and asked me to help hang a couple of pictures. Since I was already nearby I headed over, but pulled into one of those cheap tool stores – you know the ones – to buy a cheap hammer. See, the travel toolbox I keep in the back of the car wasn’t there. I’d taken it out a few weeks earlier to work on something in the garage and never put it back.

The hammer was only a couple bucks, the side trip was short, the pictures got hung, and everybody’s happy. But once home, I added that hammer to my shop’s hammer arsenal. Fast forward to earlier this week when I was breaking down a pallet and grabbed the closest hammer, which was the one I’d bought and still hadn’t put away.

On the sixth or seventh nail, one claw broke clean off the hammer. The resulting inertia made me hit my shin, nearly bringing tears to my eyes. On inspection, you could clearly see where the metal was flawed, although I never noticed it earlier.

So, there were two errors here. The first was actually buying a tool from that cheap tool store and expecting it to last, when I knew better. The second was not having returned my travel toolbox to the car, which is why I bought the crummy hammer in the first place.

In short, the fault was doubly mine but I choose instead to blame the cheap tool store. That way I can rant about the terrible state of tool manufacturing, cheap import tools, poor government oversight of imported goods, and the entire country of China. When looked at that way, I’m blameless, and everybody’s happy.

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