How does a functional adult not know what an allen wrench is?

I went to go look at a bike yesterday for a friend. We knew it had a bad battery, so I brought along a jump box to be able to crank it over. I went to remove the seat and asked the owner for an allen wrench

*blank look*

“Allen key?

*blank look*

“hex key?” “hex wrench?”

*a quick glimmer of understanding* and then he produced this


I quickly showed him the fastener
“Something that goes in there”

He didn’t have one, so he called over his neighbor. I went through the exact same discussion and got the exact same blank looks from her. I finally just said “do you have an Ikea wrench? The little tool you use to make Ikea stuff?”

Oh, Yes!”

She disappears for a bit and comes back with... one... allen wrench. Thankfully most Ikea stuff is 4mm, the size i needed, so I was able to get the first layer of paneling off. I then needed a 6mm allen to remove the seat and access the battery. I told the guy


“I need this (handing him the 4mm allen), but bigger”

I then watch him try at least 2 other neighbors, neither of whom had ANY allen wrenches. He eventually comes back with... one... allen wrench. This one was a 5mm (or some non metric equivalent)


“needs to be a bit bigger”

He disappears for a time again and returns with... one... allen wrench. This one was close enough to the right size to make due, at this point I’m 20 minutes in to a 1 minute task.

We ended up not buying the bike, was a bit rough for the asking price, but I’m still floored. This guy seemed like a totally functional adult, yet had not even the most basic knowledge of tools. How does this happen?


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