Internet of Nothings

In the vast internet of things, it’s surprising that you can’t order some specific things.  This became clear to me recently when there were two separate things I was looking for.  I know these things exist.  You can find them on the internet, but they are not available in this area.  One of them is very mundane.  Lath.  You see, the previous owners of the house wired up the attic, which is handy.  To do so they had to break through the plaster and they removed several sections of lath.  Like a squirrel digging for a forgotten nut, they did this several times, leaving holes in the wall with exposed insulation.  One of my projects since moving in has been to plaster over these holes.  The gaps are so large, however, that you need lath to replace the discarded pieces.  

Our local big box hardware stores don’t carry it.  If you find it in a large urban store, they can’t deliver it to a local branch, and shipping isn’t available for this item.  I realize drywall has triumphed—I prefer it myself—but doing the entire attic is a major expense.  I just want to plaster up the holes.  No lath, no how.  At the same time I began to look for Top Ramen soy flavor for quick lunches.  It is the only inexpensive vegan option with the much coveted flavor pack.  I know it exists and that it is available in Ithaca, New York, the last place I bought it.  Although the brand is in our local grocery stores that variety is not.  It’s listed on Amazon, but as unavailable.  (Amazon, by the way, insists that you want to buy a lathe if you type in lath.  If it finally accepts “lath” it’s clear it has no idea what it is.)

So I went to the website of the Top Ramen parent company, Nissin.  They list the product as available.  They don’t ship themselves, not to small customers, but they helpfully tell you stores nearby where you can buy it.  Their vegetarian varieties are “not available in your area.”  Not even Amazon can get them.  This to me seems odd.  Nearly every day I read about the greatness of the internet of things.  Anything can be had in this market.  If you’re looking for something specific, whether it be thin strips of cheap wood or thin noodles without beef broth for your lunch, you can’t get those in an area within about 250 miles of one quarter of the US population.  Of course, I have until lunchtime to sort this one out.

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