After an unsuccessful 30 minute stop in my local Lowe’s, I’ve decided that it’s time to bring back the mom and pop hardware store! During my recent frustrating visit to Lowe’s I asked myself “Why do I even bother coming here?”
The Local Mom & Pop
The place where they always know your name and know EXACTLY where to find what you need. It is also the place where I’ve spent many an hour–not looking for anything in particular–just looking.
You never know what you’ll find in these little stores. It could be a toilet plunger sitting in a corner since 1932 or a package of sandpaper from WWII. The best stores are the ones where the organization system only makes sense to the owner. THAT’S where you get the best experience–talking for hours to the owner about your current project. The hardware you buy here is in a yellowed package but it is ALWAYS a perfect fit. How many times have you worked on a DIY project and had to make 10 trips to the local mom and pop?
The Big Box
Contrast this with the big box stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s. (I leave out Menards because I RARELY experience the following there) At the big box, there are never ending rows of everything you think you could possibly want. Organization is computerized and locations recorded within 1″ precision. The help here is the a snot-nosed kid with a nose ring, pants on the ground and looking like Shaggy Rogers! When you ask this “associate” where to find your 3/4″ to 1/2″ pex reducer. he responds “Pops, we don’t talk like that here”. I SAID PEX MORON. P-E-X!
After 45 minutes, you FINALLY find the one guy that knows what you need. He’s usually the guy that owned the family hardware store that sat on this location before the big box drove him out of business. This guy ALWAYS knows where to go to find what you need. Unfortunately, Shaggy has broken all of YOUR pex lassoing his friends or swinging it like a light saber. Or, the product is out of stock and discontinued because it sat on the shelf for more than 42 hours without a sale.
The “Hardware” Alternatives
It’s time to bring back the Mom and Pop! The Big Boxes are great if you are looking for a designer light fixture or the newest appliances. However, for that small, obscure or *GASP* useful stuff, you gotta go to that condemned building across the street with the rock salt out front. The only other alternative is to go online to www.findyourhardwareforless.com and wait 3 days for it to get to your home.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll ALWAYS pick mom and pop over big box!