There is no such thing as a typical day at the hardware store. Every day brings new challenges, new adventures, new opportunities to think creatively, and a wide variety of customer requests that require us to think on our feet. Around the holidays, there is inevitably someone hanging out in the electrical aisle looking for a double male adapter. Whether they were distracted when the lights went up, the fact remains—they’re looking for a solution to avoid taking down and reinstalling the lights correctly. However, this is a problem we can’t solve. Double male adapters don’t exist for a good reason; they pose risks like electrocution and fire as they don’t complete a circuit.
Working in the hardware store requires speaking a unique language. A tap can refer to a faucet or a special tool for creating threaded holes. If a customer asks for corking, they likely need to find the caulk aisle. Sheetrock and drywall are interchangeable terms, and what one person calls a “wiggle nail,” another may refer to as a corrugated fastener. There’s the challenge of identifying the more vaguely named “thingie” or “doohickey.” Our team of fixers is undoubtedly ready for any challenges customers present.
I’ve had the pleasure of having my wife, Shirley, work with me for many years in the store. When asked about her most unusual request, she told the story of a customer approaching her, saying, “I’m going to ask you for something you’ve never heard of. I need a tube to insert into a cow’s stomach to relieve bloat.” Without hesitation, Shirley told the customer that she knew exactly what the customer needed because she’d had that request before!
One of my regular customers, who enjoys working on antique tractors, required a piece of tubing to create a standpipe inside the fuel tank with an oddly sized opening. The only suitable item we could find was the handle to an acid brush. His reaction to seeing the tube fit perfectly in the hole was priceless!
We never know what the day has in store for us when we unlock the doors in the morning, and for this we are glad. Every customer that walks in brings a new challenge, a new perspective, and another opportunity to demonstrate that here at Randy’s Do it Best Hardware, we don’t mind your questions. We don’t mind them at all!