Gene; you're statement floored me. Why would the big guys send folks away because they can't buy a 1/2 or 1/4 sheet of laminate from them?! That's just bad business.
I know there are a number of outlets in the Vancouver, B.C. area that sell in broken quantity (1/2 & 1/4 sheets)...the selection is far more limited, but in this case I doubt that you care what shade of white they offer.
I've picked up odd sized pieces from a cabinet maker, up here where I live... a relatively small community. As I say, I'm just baffled as to why your local guys won't sell smaller pieces.
Try and locate the wholesale outlet, and ask them if they have any damaged sheets that they'd like to sell. Check the Yellow Pages under Plastic Laminate.