THE HARDWARE STORE
The hardware store in the little town where I used to live just closed down. I have noticed several old traditional hardware stores have recently locked their doors. I suspect it is the competition from the large box stores, Home Depot and Lowes.
I like Home Depot and Lowes. They have everything you could possible need for your home at prices a little cheaper than the old Mom and Pop hardware stores. If you want a larger ticket item you go to Lowes or HD. If you want a small hard to find item or need some assistance you go to Mom and Pop.
The problem with this is the biggest profits come from big ticket items and assistance and hard to find items do not pay the rent. The result is good-bye Mom and Pop hardware store. I am as guilty as anyone else. We consumers may have saved $1.98 on a leaf blower, but we will have lost so much more.
The big box stores offer little assistance, and the assistance they offer is dubious. I once asked to have a piece of sheetrock cut in half. I cringed as the clerk scored and snapped the wrong side of the sheetrock. It was not a pretty cut. These stores used to hire out-of- work contractors and good advice was available. Now that contractors are back working at contracting, the stores hire idiots.
Mom and Pop never cut the sheetrock wrong, and they can tell you how to finish a job and what tools or materials you need.
The thing about the little stores is they can't charge enough for their knowledge and convenience.
If you need a special connector it will take you hours to find it in the big box store. When you do find the connectors you have to buy a box of 50 when you only need three. And you had better be absolutely sure of the connector you need or you will be making multiple trips.
The little store offers service.
“What’cha looking for sir?”
“I need a ¾” swivel ratchet screw to attach my frazen bauble to a framish pole.”
“Is that a Black and Decker 3000 framish pole?”
“Then you need a 5/8” hinged ratchet screw. I suggest the hex head over a slotted head, less chance of stripping. How many do you need?”
“Third drawer left of the drill bits in the back…wait, I’ll go get them.”
“Thanks…la da dee da la da dee.”
“Here you are sir, three 5/8” hex head hinged ratchet screws. That will be 18 cents.”
Hmmm, I wonder why these little hardware stores are going the way of the dodo bird.
I don’t miss the dodo, but I will miss the Mom and Pop hardware stores.