More Caveat Emptor

“Revenge of Independent Hardware Stores.”  Independent hardware retailers are giving the big chains a run for their money.  These stores excel at giving friendly, knowledgeable, customer service.  Prices, aren’t necessarily cheaper.

We all know the requiem for retail stores in the twenty-first century.  Big-box megastores killed off the mom-and-pops.  Amazon and e-commerce crushed brick-and-mortar.  By the time the great recession hit, traditional retail was already toast–and the drop in consumer spending that came with the crisis burned it to a crisp.

Independent home-improvement retailers stand apart.  …Make up 50% of the market.  They are not just surviving.  They are thriving by offering products for local needs.  …Personal customer service.

Savvy customers are seeking local products or services, and are willing to pay for that knowledge and experience.  The hypothetical, was of a customer in a big-box store, seeking plumbing advice from an unexperienced employee borrowed from lawn-and-garden.

As an employee of one such independent hardware retail store–it was a pleasure and challenge to give good, personal customer service.  “Can you make me one of these?” Was frequently heard from customers–as they brought in homemade widgets to solve household problems.

My personal favorite customers, were those that dabbled in artsy-craftsy.  “I’d like to build a Christmas tree from plumbing fittings–something different.”  That turned out to be one of the easier challenges.

Self-employed inventors threw off bizarre vibes of paranoia.  They wanted help, without giving away what they were working on.

There were more humorous incidents than I can recall.  Some were doozies.  On my first day, a call from a customer with a chirping bird, hidden somewhere in her home.  Everyone thought her to be crazy.  It turned out to be a dying smoke detector battery.  The detector, forgotten about, stored away on a laundry room shelf.

And, downright silly things; a young cashier paged overhead for assistance.  “Could someone help the nice man on aisle seven find his nuts?”  “Did we have moronic acid?”  Which was really muriatic acid.  “Did we carry balusters?”  Further questioning revealed this meant ballasts for fluorescent lighting.

It was give-and-take between customers and employees.  We learned from each other.  What could be more meaningful than helping people?–



Find Things You’re Good At–Stick With Them

There are many things, at which I excel–not the least of which, is humility.  Negative attributes should taken into account.  How else can one ever hope for improvement?  No doubt, there are more, I just don’t have the time right now.

  • Overindulgence
  • Overthinking
  • Conclusion jumping
  • Tardiness
  • Pessimism
  • Skepticism
  • Obstinacy
  • Assuming
  • Being judgmental
  • Impulsiveness
  • Laziness
  • Malingering
  • Inattentive

I’ve stuck with these faithfully for many years.  Come to think of it–and I don’t desire to be boastful–that’s another attribute.  Excuse me, while I grab another donut.




Loud noises, proud noises

Good noises, bad noises

Happy and sad noises

Nature noises, mature noises

House noises, mouse noises

People noises, steeple noises

Nosey noises, mosey noises

Gentle noises, sentimental noises

Things that boomed

Whooshed, swished, zoomed

Grinding, grating

Clunking, clanking

Thumping and bumping

Dripping, droning

Groaning, moaning

Squeaking, squawking

Cheeping, chirping

Hiccuping and burping

All day and all night long!

I can’t sleep–shut up already!!!!


If You Were Paying Attention This Week

Baby, baby, baby–where’s the giraffe baby?  Baby, baby, oh baby–next week, maybe? The same giraffe’s been pregnant since 2015–what?

A giant chicken is allegedly scaring folks all over the world-wide web.  Who’s afraid of the big bad rooster?  Not I, said the Little Red Hen.

The “human Ken doll” guy had a few more surgeries.  What’s a few more, when there have already been so many?

Wonder Woman’s new edition was up to her armpits in controversy.  Had she, or hadn’t she?  Couldn’t wrap my head around that one.

Some countries cared how their rivers flowed; granted them the same rights as humans.  If this was to prevent pollution–then, I’m for it.  The cynic in me wondered if they would be subjected to taxation.

Flip or Flop TV stars had more problems.  Meanwhile, it was announced which of our favorite shows would flip into next season–which ones flopped.

My favorite TV mechanic, Edd China, from Velocity’s “Wheeler Dealers” is leaving the show.  Saddest news since Jeremy Clarkson & Company left “Top Gear.”

Shaq’s world wasn’t flat.  That was just a joke.



Weekend, Wrapped Up

The weather’s perfect.  Took Max to his favorite place this morning, just as the sun was rising.

I was saddened that, once again, some low-life vandalized the boardwalk overlook area.  Fish entrails were scattered about; big notches cut into the top rail.

On a more positive note, a dead tree near the canoe launch site, was chock-full of roosting cormorants.  Mist was still rising from the water.  I counted 28 of them.  The things one sees without a camera.

Highlight of the day was a trip to a well-known, membership wholesale store–accompanied by thousands of other shoppers, more enthusiastic than I.

The pregnant giraffe that sparked an internet frenzy, is still pregnant.

It’s not too late to fill out brackets for the NCAA playoffs.  It should be easier, now that the number of contenders has narrowed considerably.

Don’t dare mention anything about this to my spouse–her favorite programs on the sponsoring TV network have been preempted.  An unforgiveable sin of omission.

Three more Monopoly game pieces have fallen out of favor–the boot, thimble, and wheelbarrow.  The iron was previously kicked out.

Could there be any significance to the fact that most of the disfavored pieces signified manual labor?  The booted out boot represented typical working stiffs.

How did this come about?  Results of an internet vote, put up by Hasbro, current owners of the popular board game.  Growing up it was owned by Parker Brothers.

This could be an E-bay opportunity for “running-dog capitalists.”  Selling culturally banned items–specifically, banned Monopoly board pieces.

“Keep it quiet.  I may know somebody, who knows somebody, that may have… And you didn’t hear it from me.”