National Weights and Measures Week

Every year, March 1 – March 7 is designated as National Weights and Measures Week. We would like to take this opportunity to state the importance of our Weights and Measures Officials in Tulare County.

In Tulare County, we test more than 7,000 devices on an annual basis. These devices range from the retail motor fuel pumps you see at your local gas station to the scales you see at the checkout at your corner grocery store. Some of the devices you may not realize we test are retail water meters found at many of your retail stores, and livestock scales scattered about the countryside.

All these devices have one thing in common – the seal. When these devices are tested and found to be within tolerance, they all receive a seal. The seal represents the hard work of the weights and measures official testing these devices and protecting both the consumer and the seller. That is why the Weights and Measures officials are often called “The Third Man.”

The Third Man

When you make a purchase at the food store, fill your tank with gasoline at the service station, or buy any merchandise by weight or measure, you think the transaction is only between you and the vendor. It may be a surprise to know that every such transaction includes “The Third Man,” even though they are not present in person.

The Third Man is the Weights and Measures Official who checks all weighing and volume measuring devices used in sales made to the public. In Tulare County, our Third Man is a team of six. Our team is always present in spirit, protecting both buyer and seller. They are a dedicated group working quietly and tirelessly to save customers money – and to safeguard vendors’ businesses. Errors in either direction, over or under, will cause someone to suffer.

The public and merchants look upon them as a friend. Because of this friendship, everyone wholeheartedly joins in celebrating National Weights and Measures Week March 1 thru 7. This is one week that the “third man” drops their anonymity and steps into the spotlight of appreciation for the job they do on behalf of the public and merchants. After all, what they stand for is just “good business.”

For more on “The Third Man” please visit our website at or Facebook page at

Marilyn Kinoshita is Tulare County agricultural commissioner and sealer of weights and measures.

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