28 Aug 2017

McDonald’s reportedly sells 75 hamburgers every second. That’s nearly 6 ½ million hamburgers every single day.   If each hamburger has 4 pickles on it: they would use approximately 26 million pickle slices every day.  A quart jar of sliced pickles has about 240 pickle slices in it.  So, if they used quart jars for pickles, they would use about 108,333-quart jars of pickles every single day. If a quart jar of pickle slices was $ 2.00 they would spend about $216,666.00 on pickles every single day.

Stay with me: this is fun math.  Some marketing genius informed them they could save roughly $ 15 to $ 20 million dollars a year by cutting back from four pickles on each hamburger to only three.  This saves them 25% on a whole lot of pickles.

We live in a world where every thing we purchase is built with the least amount of cost to achieve the most amount of profit.  Do I have to say who loses in this equation?  Did the hamburgers get cheaper? No. Did we the consumer see any benefit to this corporate decision? No; but we all paid the price for some marketing genius, and corporate officials to get large bonuses.  Let’s leave this thought for a moment and change gears.

Regarding cabinetry, how much weight does a hanging rail have to support?

Let me first tell you what a hanging rail is.  Every upper cabinet is hanging on the wall through screws driven in through the “hanging rail” of the cabinet into the wall where a stud is behind the drywall.  These screws are holding the entire weight of the cabinet and the contents of that cabinet.  Now think about the weight you stack into your cabinets.  Imagine the weight of dinner plates all stacked up, and how many plates one cabinet can hold.  Now imagine holding all that and the cabinet to the wall and not falling down.  According to the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturing Association along with American National Standards Institute a typical upper kitchen cabinet should be able to hold 600 pounds.  Now that’s a lot of dishes!

So, if the hanging rail is screwed to the wall, what holds the hanging rail to the cabinet? The hanging rail has to be mounted in the cabinet in such a way as to be able to distribute all that weight to the cabinet itself.  Therefore, the way the hanging rail is engineered into the construction of the cabinet is vital.

I worked in a big box store designing and selling American made cabinetry from some of the largest national manufactures in our country.  One day I questioned one of our manufacturer’s representatives regarding the construction of the hanging rail in their upper cabinets.  I saw they glued them on each end and put one single screw on each end.  Now since I also built cabinets I realized this was questionable at the very least.  His response to me was sharp and concise: “You build a couple cabinets; we build 1000 full kitchens every single day! – so don’t presume to tell us how to build them.”

I stood corrected.  You see they engineer them to hold the minimum required weight with the least amount of material possible.  Why put in 2 screws on each side of the hanging rail, when most of time 1 will do.  Do you see the pickle effect here?  Again, who loses?  I have personally witnessed two different occasions where photos were provided that showed their upper cabinets literally fell off the wall due to the weight put inside the cabinet.  This is unusual to be clear, but someone paid the price for their cabinets falling off the wall. Honestly, that made me reluctant to sell their cabinets.

Having said that… This is a good reason to look to custom cabinet shops; the average American custom shop does not limit the number of screws to save the corporation buckets of money.  Those of us who engineer such things want to make sure they are much stronger than they ever need to be.  This is a case where the adage stands true: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

So, when you are looking to have your new cabinets built, remember the pickle effect.  Consider: what is it worth to have custom cabinets built to last – verses prefabricated cabinets built to make a profit.  If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, then certainly a well built custom cabinet is worth it’s weight needed to stay on your wall.  Check out your local custom cabinet shops to see how they construct their cabinets!  Again, it’s what’s inside your cabinet that really matters.  Have a blessed day.

David Bouchette

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