My “Shop Local” Dilemma.

We have 3 places to buy hardware near our house: an independent “mom and pop” sort of hardware store, a small Ace Hardware (chain), and a Home Depot. I always try to go to the independent place, because it’s the right thing to do, but I regret going there every single time.

Today, for example, I needed to replace the pipe under the sink in our laundry room. I went to mom and pop hardware, and told the kid working the register what I needed. He came back with some of the parts, but with washers and a nut missing, and one of the pipes was the wrong size. After talking with the guy who knows what he’s doing, we eventually found a package from 1950 that had most of the right parts, and then they were able to find everything else I needed laying around…mind you: this was nothing out of the ordinary…just a simple 1 1/2 inch pipe and a J-trap.

When I got home and looked at the parts, I found that one of the washers was falling apart from age. I tried installing it anyway, but it leaked. I headed back to mom and pop hardware to get a replacement. They were cexercise/>losed (at 5:00). So, I decided to do the next best thing and head over to the neighborhood Ace hardware. Also cexercise/>losed. Several hours after my adventure started, I ended up at Home Depot and found what I needed (well…cexercise/>lose to what I needed…I ended up having to get a pack of 6 washers).

This is what happens almost every time I need something from the hardware store. I set out wanting to give me business to the local places, but then end up wasting all sorts of time and money and wishing I had just gone to Home Depot to begin with.

How is a person supposed to shop at the locally-owned store when it’s almost always disappointing and a waste of time and money?


  1. Jim says:

    I don’t know how “local” you’re aiming for, but if you’re willing to travel a few miles try Emigh Hardware on El Camino just east of Watt. It’s about six miles from East Sac, but well worth the drive–helpful, knowledgeable staff and a bunch of esoteric hardware. For example, a couple years ago when we moved into our 60-year-old house, one of the shower valves wasn’t working. I managed to get the valve out and took it to Emigh’s. One of the folks in the plumbing department fixed the valve on the spot for about $3.25 in parts.

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