Metro-East Living

Those two-by-fours aren’t actually 2 feet by 4 feet

When I saw a story the other day about someone suing Home Depot and Menards for selling four-by-fours that weren’t actually that size, I wasn’t surprised.

There always is someone looking to make an easy buck from someone else. But really? Even I know that not all lumber is the size it claims to be.

But apparently some people don’t. There really is no reason to, I guess, unless you work with lumber. I found out years ago, but I was already an adult, working on some bleachers at my hometown Khoury League park.

I carefully measured and went to the lumberyard and asked for some boards that were 1/2 of an inch thick and 3 1/2 inches wide and some others that were 1 1/2 inches thick and 5 1/2 inches wide.

“Yes, one-by-four, two-by-six,” the manager said, explaining that the sizes sometimes are measured before the lumber is kiln dried, which causes it to shrink slightly.

I was astounded. That meant if I were to hit someone upside the head with a two-by-four, I really would be using a 1 1/2 by 3 1/2, and that wouldn’t sound anywhere as fearsome.

Not to mention that just threatening that would take so long that everyone would forget why everyone was mad by the time you were done talking.

Anyway, I once wrote about a lawsuit where someone wanted money because there wasn’t enough pork in pork and beans. It got thrown out because pork and beans was defined as beans flavored by pork, or that lump of fat you get in the can and throw away. They didn’t have to have real pork in there.

There are all sorts of surprises at hardware stores if you don’t know much, like me. It is like a post-secondary education to go in there and try to find the parts you need to fix things around the house.

I never thought to sue anyone about any of those things I didn’t know, even when I learned the hard way. No wonder I never had any money.

People shouldn’t take things too literally. After all, as far as I know, and as I once pointed out in a column, there is not, and never has been, I think, any dog in hot dogs.

So sue me.

Wally Spiers: wally.spiers@gmail.com

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