Actually, it was 2 shops.
On Monday, I called a couple ships close to my work asking if they carried chain ring spacers. I have some cranks and rings and wanted to build up a triple.
The first shop was confused when I asked if they carry the spacers by themselves or as a package with bolts.
They said I should bring everything in and they would take s look.
The second shop was nuts- it took almost 5min of talking to get the mechanic to understand what I wanted. I kept saying 'the spacers that you use when attaching a small ring to a double to make a triple. The holed are drilled out. 'He finally said 'oh you mean chainring spacers?' As if I hadn't said that a dozen times.
The mechanic then asked if I knew I was building up something old. I told him I knew it's with components from 85 thru 90. He then said 'that stuff is at least 8 years old, we haven't carried triples like that in years.'
He suggested the local collective, and I agreed and said its closed on Monday which is why I wanted to see if the shop had anything.
I hadn't expected them to have spacers, I was just hoping they did. I don't expect them to carry anything old for me to buy at any one time.
But I would expect a mechanic to at least know what I was describing in less than 5min since there are millions of bikes still in use with older triples.
Some scrounging thru small bins at the collective yesterday netted me everything I needed for a whopping $2.50 so I bought cables as well to make it worth the transaction cost.