Monday, August 08, 2005


What the superstores would destroy

What's wrong with Walmart, Home Despot and the other huge box superstores?


Well, lots of things. But, among other things, they destroy many small businesses like this one. Do-It-Yourself is still in business, and we went there today. We walked there, in fact, from our house. Regan (pronounced, ree-gan, like that daughter in King Lear) is a smiling, extremely fit, ex-football-player-looking guy, one of two brothers who owns the shop.

We were advised to drive out to a superstore for a better price on a new sink, but I'm glad we resisted.

When B dropped her keys down a storm drain (that looked very much like this), she immediately said: "Good thing we're right in front of a plumbing store."

DSCN4049We asked Regan for help, assuming he'd have some sort of a snake-like tool with a grasping claw at the end. Instead, he emerged from the back holding a strap with a magnet attached to the end. When it failed to pick up the keys (which are not made of magnetic metals), he said, "Oh, the heck with it," and just hoisted up the grating with one powerful hand.

Inside the store, Regan told us that he'd hate to see us spend money unnecessarily, suggesting several low cost fixes that we could try before buying new fixtures. In the end, after much informative chatting about plumbing, and some schmoozing about sailing with Regan and a contractor-customer who walked in, Regan insisted that we take a new sink and faucet but hold off on paying him until we could see what we would actually use. And with the friendly neighbor discount, I don't think we'll have to pay anything significantly over what we'd have payed at a superstore.

I feel like his store's sign should add the slogan "Some things are more important than money."

If you ever drop your keys in a river of molten lava, let 'em go, because man, they're gone.

-- Jack Handey
Regan was wrong, man. The move for plumbing fixtures is to find the exact sink you want online (say, from the Kohler website) and then go to your friendly neigborhood plumbing supply store (you know, the one that supplies plumbers), and order it from them. It was less than half what the home despot was charging, and they didnt' even have the sink we wanted.

However, all the small mom and pop hardware stores are gone, and that's a shame.
Ahhh plumbing.

Go with the best in quality, service, and style. My Pa was a master plumber, and it has influenced every water delivery and disposal device decision of my life.

Cheap plumbing is like cheap clothes. It always develops a hole at the wrong time, at cost you more to fix than what you paid for it in the first place.
If that store is as good as you say, maybe customers will keep coming back, even if there is a walmart 5 miles away. Sounds like they are competitive with Walmart aisle by aisle, in this case the plumbing aisle. Being small and friendly as well as providing honest expertise might allow them to stay in business. However, someone who knows what they are doing, like a plumber, might prefer the cheaper prices at a mega store.
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