Friday’s Weekend Column
About a Minnesota Man Exploring Life in the South

Hardware Stores

by James Glaser
February 2, 2007

Tallahassee is a big city, but it has no hardware stores. To be honest there are three hardware stores, but they are all out in the suburbs. From my studio round trip to any one of these stores would be a good 45 minutes.

People who have been in the area a long time can name several locations nearby where there used to be a hardware store. Then along came Wal-mart, Home Depot, and Lowes. These super stores put the hardware stores out of business.

Yes, I am forced to use these stores sometimes, but they are quite a ways away too, and they are no substitute for a real hardware store.

What is nice about having your own local hardware store is that after a while you know where everything is. You get to know the people who work there, and you know which guy is knowledgeable about plumbing and which guy knows the gage wire you need for that new electrical line you are installing.

That home town store knew what kind of switch you needed for your furnace, because they sold it to you, and they have your front porch paint color on file, so they can mix it to match when you are repainting.

I guess what I miss the most, are the people working there asking me. "How's it going Jim" "Were your kids here lately?" You go to Lowes or Home Depot, and it hard to find someone to help you find things, let alone see somebody that you have seen before.

At a home town store, that hardware man might say if you buy four gallons, I'll throw in those rollers. Sometimes the guy would be all excited when you came in, because the truck had dropped off that new saw blade you ordered. You see something on TV or in a magazine and a good hardware store will do their best to order it for you. Try that at Home Depot some time. They look at you like you are nuts. That kind of customer service does not compute in their minds.

Yeah, you can find some great deals at those mega stores, but you pay for it in other ways.

Just a Side Note

Exxon Mobil Corporation made $39,500,000,000.00 last year. If you were writing that out in a check it would be, thirty nine billion five hundred million dollars and 00/100 cents. Not bad for gas stations with no full service.

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