Software? No, Today I Prefer Hardware (ms)

I believe I have mentioned elsewhere in these pages my proclivity toward hardware stores. Some say that’s at least partly because my wife seldom comes along with me. I respond that she is not particularly enthused over the latest advancements in glue nor does she care a whole lot about patching plaster or toggle bolts. So, I go it alone.

I find a certain, shall we say, comfort in a hardware store. On the counters and shelves and out in the yard there are things I can use to make new things or to keep old things together. What’s more there are men and some women who know how to use the stuff sold at the store. I marvel at that, someone who knows something in a store and who is willing to share it being reasonably cheerful all the while. Don’t find that too often these days.

I think my love of hardware stores began when I was a kid, my father would take me into one in my hometown. The owner/manager/buyer/chief clerk smoked a pipe and when he was asked about a particular product he would stand back, light up, take a few puffs and proceed to answer. So far as I know the guy always told the truth. He knew if he didn’t there was another hardware store not too far away and they sold the same stuff. Anyway, while dad took care of business I wandered the store marveling at shiny metal objects like stove pipe, corner brackets, a brand new level. That fascination with a hardware store never left me.

Over the years I have frequented many, sometimes to browse but more often to buy. My projects here at the Ranch are rated based on how many trips to the hardware store a particular job will need before its finished. A one tripper is hardly worth mentioning but it does afford me extra time to shoot the breeze with the folks down at the store. A two tripper is a bit more serious for it means I have underestimated materials or parts or tools and now need to go get whatever it is I didn’t get in the first place. A three tripper borders on disaster and is cause for worry. In this calamitous situation I always overbuy, trying to cover my mistakes. If I think I need two pieces, I buy three, anything to avoid the dreaded four tripper, an event which leaves one open to wholesale ridicule and off hand remarks like, “Whatcha doin up there, buildin another house?” It took years to live down a five tripper I made one Saturday as I struggled with a plumbing project. I hate to work on plumbing and the feeling is obviously mutual.

One ends up with spare stuff this way and I often entertain the notion of selling some of it back to the store. Truth be told that wouldn’t do me much good. Oh, I would get a few dollars I’m sure but then pay more for the very same thing somewhere down the road. Especially if it’s a three or, shudder and gasp, a four tripper kind of day.

–Mike Stevens

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~ by admin on June 19, 2011.

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