This is an ode to our two local hardware stores, Meanley’s and Hammer & Nails, along with my fervent hope that they stay in business forever. Big-box hardware stores like Home Depot certainly excel at range of merchandise, but there is no substitute for humans who (a) you don’t have to flat-out tackle in the aisle to get them to help you and (b) actually know something.
“Oh, you can do it, Inga!” he’d counter to my dubious expression, and give me step-by-step instructions along with critical safety tips. Goggles, a mask, and protective clothing were de rigueur for the drain project, but profoundly clear on my innate lack of mechanical talent, he often advised a fire extinguisher as well.
Meanley’s, of course, is the ultimate old fashioned general store, the place that has everything you can’t find anywhere else. And if they don’t have it, they’ll order it. And if it’s the wrong thing, they’ll take it back, without making you drive out to Clairemont and stand in an endless soul-crushing returns line. I consider shopping at my local hardware store, if nothing else, an investment in my spiritual health.