Where I live small independent hardware stores are disappearing. When I was in high school I worked in a store called Tovi’s “True Value Hardware” The store was just a few blocks from my parents house and I would work after school and on weekends. You could walk in and ask the toughest questions and we would help you. We would go out of our way to make sure you knew how to handle your problem. If we didn’t know we would find out for you or we knew where to send you. I use to remember shopping with my parents at other stores and I remember the good service they got and they knew their product.
Things are becoming to automated. I ran accross a website recently that told you how to get to a live person at some of the more well known companies that have “800 numbers” automated and put you through phone loop hell. Many times, you can’t even understand the people because of their accents. Your talking to “Bob Smith” and he has a Philippine accent.
I find it fun sometimes to go to Home Depot and walk down my favorite isle. (I use to be a plumber in another life) I love to hear how the clerk who doesn’t know a p trap from a mouse trap try and tell someone how to fix their problem. Usually, they tell a guy “to take this putty and pack it around the leak and that should do it.” I wait a while after the clerk leaves to take care of another poor soul and tell the guy what to do. The problem with that is everyone is listening and then they come like kids to ice cream. Why don’t these retailers wise up and get the big picture. A few years back a bunch of executives from Sears were meeting in my hotel and I guess they were trying to figure out how to improve their hardware sales. I happened to walk by when they were at the bar and heard them discussing their tales of woes. I volunteered the same information that I just mentioned above about un-knowledgeable staff and they end up coming out with their separate “Mini Hardware Stores” I think they still missed the boat and those stores are struggling just as much as before. The Baby Boomers again I think… We wanted things fast, convenient, and we wanted mass quantities. If it isn’t broke don’t fix it! Damn we have broken a lot a good stuff.