Home Depot teaches millennials to use tape measures

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/10/14/home-depot-teaches-millennials.html


It’s less on Gen Z and more on their curriculum. If everyone’s too busy learning to code they definitely won’t have time for things like wood shop where they might actually learn this. Not that there’s anything wrong with learning the logic of programming but there has been a lot of emphasis on the narrow skill of actual coding vs the broad problem solving aspect.


D’you know, I’ve managed to learn how to code and had the time to learn how to use a tape measure. Not to mention a spirit level, a plumb-bob, and a carpenter’s square. It’s not even remotely difficult.


Aren’t tape measures simply intuitive?

Where’s the evidence? Just because Home Depot and the WSJ claim that it’s the case, that doesn’t mean that it is. The crusty old white guys at the WSJ love to make millennials look ignorant, and Home Depot benefits from doing the same by getting publicity, but it’s not grounded in reality: it’s grounded in naïve stereotypes. I have never encountered someone in my generation that doesn’t know how to use a tape measure, and I doubt I ever will. This is insulting.

Gen Z will be fine. And it’s actually the case that Millennials build things! There are so many posts right here on BB that show things millennials have built. I don’t get why there’s all this anti-millennial sentiment. This generational antagonism is idiotic and counter-productive.


There is an art to everything.

I learned some useful info here:


The in-person interview portion of applying to the apprenticeship at our local includes demonstrating proper use of a tape measure. The program coordinator told me that I wouldn’t believe how many applicants fumble this part.


That is truly upsetting.


One hundred percent agreement with you here. It’s silly. Our local has more young applicants than ever now, many of them wanting to work with their hands and build stuff.


I’m still confused. Where do the batteries go in?


While it’s sad, this is less about “them millennials” and more about “them boomers not teaching their millennials how to do basic shit”. Also the removal of wood shops and the like from schools in suburban/urban areas.

Yes, we need to teach our children technical skills, but with only so many hours in the day, the decision needs to be made on what sorts of skills we want our children and teens to know.


The basics of using a tape measure seem painfully obvious, making me wonder how one could screw it up, unless you let it retract so quickly you cut yourself.
That said, some of the nuances are things I’d only picked up over time:

  • The 3 inch length, I didn’t notice until someone pointed it out a decade or so ago (maybe some of my early tape measures lacked this).
  • The end of most tape measures is loose on purpose. It has enough play to account for the width of metal in the hook, as I think my dad pointed out some time in the past.
  • I didn’t realize about the end having that little groove to stick on a screw or nail head until seeing it in this video.

How to make your own iPod from wood and bits of string.

Yeah I actually learned some stuff from this video, don’t mock it.

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Mike Rowe is working with them this season as well. And some apprentices will be working on this season’s house.


I looked forward to tech ed every day in middle school. I was disappointed to learn that years later, the school district removed it from the curriculum. Visual-tactile lessons emphasizing spatial and mechanical aptitude are critical in helping such inclined kids discover early on what makes their flywheels spin.


Even with my almost two decades in construction, I still learned a few things from this Youtube channel’s videos:


Well someone did sue some big box store because on their web site a 2x4 isn’t actually 2" x 4"

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I was taught how to properly use the tape measure in school. Gasp, learning at school.


That’s not what school is for! :wink:

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Nothing wrong with this. To me this is like Alton Brown showing how to make scrambled eggs, which is one of the first things I learned to cook, but nerveless there’s always the potential to learn something new about how to do it.