Lately, I've been going to a small hardware store on the way home from work when need arises. It's convenient and the service is great. Still, they're a bit higher priced. The other morning I was going to meet my dad for breakfast. Across from the restaurant is a Lowe's. I figured I'd stop in and get a few things to save some money. What a big mistake.
I had a pretty small list:
- Screws to mount a small TV
- Pesticide for our rose bushes
- Globe light bulbs for the bathrooms
- Rubber gloves
It was a pretty small list, so I figured the extra 25 minutes I allowed myself would be plenty of time. Turns out I was horribly wrong.
We bought a small TV for the camper after the old one gave out. The new one fits the old mount, but it's lighter and skinnier than the old one. So the screw holes are a bit smaller. I took the old screws in, just needing some a bit shorter.
I looked all through the aisle but of course wasn't finding anything. Giving up, I wandered around a few aisles looking for someone. Finally in the section where they sell wood flooring I found someone. I asked for help, and instead of paging someone from that department, she came over to help.
Fifteen frustrating minutes later, she happened across a section of screws and I located the ones I needed. She clearly was as lost as I was. At one point she did try paging Gary from Hardware. Gary never actually did arrive.
With only ten minutes to go, I walked over to find the pesticide that I needed. I knew the bugs that are eating the leaves. It took me about 3-4 minutes to look for them. This was probably the least hassle item I had.
I needed a new box of disposable gloves. We keep a box in the camper for when it's time to empty the waste tanks. I figured they'd be around the cleaning area. Nope. I figured the next best place would be in the paint section. Turns out I was right, though it took a couple minutes to get someone's attention to tell me where exactly they were.
And, as far as being cheaper, these definitely are not. Next time, I'll order them from Amazon in advance. Still, I needed them so away we go.
All three of our bathrooms have decorative globe bulbs. I had a good stash of them, but it started to get depleted. I wandered over to the light bulb section and looked. And looked.
Finally, I found the shelf where they would be. If they would have even had a single bulb. They were completely out. Literally three empty shelves, out of stock on every variety from every manufacturer.
Long Story Short
I was late meeting my dad. The store didn't have everything I needed. And, I didn't feel like I saved any money. I left feeling annoyed and unsatisfied. Unfortunately, this is more common than not at these big box stores.
Our little hardware is about one-tenth the size of Lowes. Yet, I've never been let down. If I would have walked in, someone would have helped me in five minutes. I could have handed someone the screw, explained what I needed, and would have had the right ones in my hand in probably three minutes. I know they sell gloves. They definitely sell light bulbs, and I'd imagine rose pesticide would be there as well.
The small hardware store seems to be fading. I'd imagine that one day mine will close, as well. This will be a sad day. But until then, they're going to get my business. If you have the opportunity to support a small hardware store in your area, please do. It's worth it. I promise you.
Readers, do you frequent a small hardware store? Or is it a big box store for you?
On a side note I recently saved some money on car insurance and have started creating a list to share that I will continue to expand to help some of our visitors save also.