For Want Of A Nut – A Zwilling Nut

For want of a nut a pair of poultry shears sat in my kitchen drawer. It had to live somewhere, and that had been its home, even though it was useless, now. But maybe they could be fixed. I didn’t fix it, but now I have a brand-new, shiny and sharp, set of shears from the company that made the first pair, Zwilling/Henckel. Nice upgrade. All it cost was asking a question.

I am not a foodie. I like cooking. If I have a day off and room in the freezer, I’ll probably roast something, cook something, bake something, make something. Cooking is cheap entertainment. The food still costs money, but food is a (mostly) unavoidable expense and a necessity. Besides, cooking at home can be much cheaper than eating in a restaurant. (Though some delis make appealing and competitive alternatives.)

I am not a foodie but I like watching cooking shows. I rarely make their recipes, but Alton Brown’s original shows were more about the practical basics. Watching old episodes of Julia Child give advice from my mother’s era and different set of sensibilities, useful and sometimes comical and sometimes examples of a culture we’ve left behind. Alton’s shows pointed out the value of having kitchen shears, really just hefty scissors; especially shears that could come apart so every part could be cleaned.

Years ago I treated myself to a proper pair of poultry shears because chicken was a cheap food option. Make a chicken, live alone, and have dinners and lunches for a week or two. Salads happen after the first dinner. Make stock from the chicken and have at least four more weeks of soups and homemade baked beans. Carving up a chicken without the right equipment could lead to poor cuts and pokes in me, rather than the chicken. And the chicken won’t look too good, either. The poultry shears were pricey, but appreciated.

But cleaning them. It was good to know that there were probably no chicken bits or fluids hiding in the pivot of the shears. Unscrew them. Pull them apart. Clean them up. Dry them off. Put them back together, ready for the next chicken (or turkey or duck) dinner. Don’t lose the nut and the bolt that holds it all together.

I pulled apart the shears, placed all the pieces in one sink to clean, then another to drain, then let them all dry. You already know what happened, and have probably known since the second paragraph. Sproing! Or did it? The big pieces were there, but where’d the nut and the bolt go? Of course this leads to the hands and knees scramble on the kitchen floor and under the cabinets and appliances. Rummaging through drawers that maybe they rolled into. Of course, nothing or there wouldn’t be this post. Or, down the sink drain because one of my sink drains is rusted open. (Not a surprise for a sixty-year-old sink.) Or, did I do too good of a job taking out the garbage can which had been sitting beside the counter? Shrug. Oops. 

Use what you got, and I used knives and cheaper regular shears, and almost cut myself too often. Money is tight. Health care is expensive. I need a new pair of shears.

No, I don’t. The shears are fine. I merely missed a nut and a bolt. Hello, hardware store.

People who work in hardware stores keep an amazing inventory in their heads. Unless I know exactly where something is, or just want to wander, I ask for help. The answer is usually something as accurate as; Aisle 5, about twenty feet back from the far end, just above the main shelf. Maybe I should’ve taken a video of the rare occurrence, the look of a perplexed employee. The bolt wasn’t a problem, but the nut was keyed, flattened on two sides to make the shears more secure when being used. About twenty minutes of nothing as three of us wandered one aisle filled with fasteners. Eventually, shrug.

Oh well. I tried.

It is such a silly little piece, but why not ask the company who made it? Maybe they have one of each in stock. I’d buy a pair or two, just to make sure. The company’s name was stamped on the metal. Go to the computer and search on the company, then their replacements, then actually contact them. Accept cookies, notice their social media accounts, prepare for bots then bureaucracy.

Cool. They actually have a way to contact them. I sent the description and the item number, and had low expectations.

They replied! Great. Oh. But that part doesn’t exist. Send back a photo of the shears and the stamped part number. Does that help?

A day or two later I get a call that looked like Spam. I actually answer Spam calls, occasionally. If you are in sales, it is a handy way to practice reverse cold calling. Thank you for the credit card offer. Can I interest you in one of my books? If you are interested in human nature, it is an opportunity to ask how they are doing. Are they getting paid enough, being treated well? If they’re paid by the call, I’ll hang up. If they’re paid by the hour and need a break, I give them that opportunity. 

This time it wasn’t Spam. It was a gentleman, someone who sounded like they weren’t reading from a script or under the vigilant eye and ears of an authoritarian supervisor. He sounded like a professional trying to resolve a situation. Evidently, I’d transposed numbers within the part number. The photo helped. He thanked me for my business – and my mind went to expecting the ‘but we don’t carry that part’ or it would cost something ridiculous. Instead he said they’d send me a new pair of shears. Did I hear that right? (And did I keep my response professional and reserved?) Yes, a new pair of shears. He apologized because it would take a few days for shipping. Apologized?

This I had to see to believe, and what else was there to do but wait.

Ta da! And you know that was going to happen. They showed up, as expected, packaged much more sanely than an Amazon shipment. Thank you Zwilling or Henckel or Henckels.

I feel like I went back to Julia Child’s era. 

The slightly embarrassing part is that my freezer is so full from my recent cooking day that I don’t have enough room to store an uncooked chicken or the pints of stock I’d made from the rest. I have these sweet, sharp, stainless steel shears to use, but my frugal self says it’s not in my meal plans for a few weeks. But I want to play, responsibly, of course.

I might even splurge and roast a chicken and – gasp – not save every scrap. Nah. Waste not, want not.

The joke about people who lived through the Great Depression was that they could have a labeled collection of “bits of string too small to use”. Now, it is acceptable to toss something because it has a blemish, or is the wrong color, or is missing a bolt. Maybe it is trivial, or not. Maybe that blemish ruined a sculpture. Maybe the wrong color is a really wrong color, like wearing red or blue in the wrong neighborhood. Maybe that bolt was holding something together that won’t be fixed – but maybe something broken gets replaced by something grander, not just a replacement, but a reminder that good things can happen. Sometimes all you have to do is ask.

And I’m still hoping to find that nut and bolt.

About Tom Trimbath

real estate broker / consultant / entrepreneur / writer / photographer / speaker / aerospace engineer / semi-semi-retired More info at: and at my amazon author page:
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to For Want Of A Nut – A Zwilling Nut

  1. Steve smolinsky says:

    So nice to read this wonderful amusing story about an exceptional company that understands the meaning of providing exceptional customer experirience and exemplifies it via their actions. They provide a good product but should you call about a problem you get to talk to a real person {remember them? A real person who can actually understand the issue and provide an amazing response. Not a little part but a brand new product. Happened to you lately? Need I say ecstatic customer about the experience of a broken product. And thus, a wonderful story about the experience sent out across the world giving the the notice they deserve. And I figure some new people finding them to enjoy the experience. I expect their sales will grow.

  2. JGPryde says:

    Absolutely. Good behavior needs to be rewarded. Maybe they have a listing in Google or on their website where more people can benefit from your positive experience.
    I had a similar experience with an electronic ignition system for my 197-something Honda Civic. I bought and installed an aftermarket system that made that little motor start better than the original points/condenser/coil system ever did…until it didn’t. One day it just died a sudden death. Fortunately, I had all of the original parts and was able to limp along home.
    I wrote to the manufacturer, referencing the warranty on the package and offering to pay shipping for a new unit.
    A brand new package showed up in the mail a week later. Ten minutes to replace the system and it never gave me a bit of trouble afterwards.
    Sorry, I can’t say the company name or promote their products but at the time I raved to anyone who with listen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s