Home Depot and Menards home improvement stores stand accused of deceiving customers with inaccurate designations on their 4×4 lumber. Apparently, they are actually a half inch short on their measurements.
However, isn’t it common knowledge for lumber measurements to fall short of the labeled product? The two stores are now facing class-action lawsuits, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they were caught off-guard by this.
Unfortunately for The Home Depot and Menards retailers, it seems that the argument is over the amount of wood received with the product, as opposed to a piece of lumber that meets the specified standard of carpentry. To put it simply, you literally do not need a 4×4 piece of lumber to build a wall or hang sheetrock, and if you think about it, the amount of wood is irrelevant.
Apparently, this is a standard practice, according to retailers, as there are “nominal designations accepted in government-approved industry standards, which also specify actual minimum dimensions — 1½ inches by 3½ inches for a 2×4, for example, and 3½ inches by 3½ inches for a 4×4,” according to a report by Journal Sentinel.
It’s also something that any trade person should know, but these are customers, and according to attorney Yevgeniy (Eugene) Turin of McGuire Law, the dispute hinges on whether the average consumer would know the measurement designations on lumber are an industry standard and should an accurate measurement be included with the product?
That said, this would be analogous to a car’s “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” Of course, it would be smaller in the case of lumber. This makes you wonder how the side-view mirror got its description. Is it common knowledge that a convex mirror distorts the size of the object?
Is this lawsuit representative of the average Joe’s common knowledge?
There was an unscientific survey given to 18 Menard shoppers, and one-third of those questioned about lumber measurements didn’t actually know what a 4 x 4 actually measured.
Of course, if you measure a 2 x 4, you’ll also come up short, and this is something found in other lumber items, too. That’s because when a tree has fallen and is cut to size during a harvest, it is soaking wet. Later, it is kiln dried causing shrinkage (cue the Seinfeld reference).
So, should customers know the actual measurements of wood or should Home Depot and Menards start printing accurate measurements on their labels? Is the amount the wood for customers relevant? After all, is the lack of wood that comes with their lumber doing them any harm considering that houses have been built with those measurements for decades?
[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]