Thursday, July 7, 2022

Adventures In Retail


Five minute trip for two items.

"Five passengers set sail that day for a three hour tour,

A three hour tour..."

Sandpaper? No problem. In my hands in 30 seconds. So where are the hand sanding blocks?

Nose ring with hair a lovely shade of cerulean blue:

"Can I help you?"

Me: Do you have sanding blocks?


Almost like I was speaking Latin or something, or asked her for a walrus-tooth ivory file handle with brass trim.

Me: Y'know, blocks to hold the sandpaper...? They've been a thing for like...ever.

NRWHALSOCB: Points to overpriced shitty self-destructing blocks of not-sandpaper.

Me: No, not those. The solid blocks that hold these sheets of sandpaper in my hand.

NRWHALSOCB: "Oh! Those are on Aisle 10-Aisles-Across-The-Store!"

Me: (Internally: Because WHY would you want to keep the sanding blocks right next to the actual sandpaper? But Fucktard Depot, so whatever...)

Externally: "Thanks very much!"

Ten more minutes of fruitlessly searching That Aisle, The Aisles On Both Sides Of It, And Two Other Places where Random Stock F*cktards MAY have pegged it: Nada. Zip. Bupkus.

So, over to Customer Service.

Five more minutes, while three other employees see me standing there, and offer no help whatsoever.

Finally get the attention of CS Clerk. "How can I help you?"

Me: Two questions: 1) Do you know what a sanding block is?

"No. But I can look it up."

Half credit. Maybe. No point asking where it is as the second question, when you don't know what it is. WhereTF do they hire these people? County Jail Work-Release?? Short Bus Dropout Want Ads???

CSC finds not-the-item, just like NRWHALSOCB Paint Chick, who clearly got that job because she could push the buttons on the paint mixer.

Me: "No, I need the blocks that hold the sandpaper."

CSC: Scrolls down, finds the exact item.

Me: "That's it!"

CSC: "We don't stock that in the store."

Because why-the-f*ck would I or anyone else want to be able to use the $50 worth of assorted sandpapers I purchased the very same day I bought them?!? That's crazy talk right there, amirite? Fucking brilliant, Random Purchasing @$$holes of Retail Hellishness and zero f*cking clue about actual hardware or shop projects.

Half hour wasted, and still only halfway to having what I want in hand.

Drive across town to Lowe's.

Who, without any help from the studio audience, have the exact rubber block that's been around almost since Joseph of Nazareth was making cabinetry. Which I find in 25 seconds. It's also the only one they have. Because why would you ever want to stock more than one item with a price of $5?

I grab it, rush to the register, and I'm out the door 25 minutes faster than at F*cktard Depot, with exactly what I wanted in the first place.

Tomorrow, I'm heading over to the local hardware store that's been in business continually since power tools were called hammers, screwdrivers, and hand saws. And I'ma buy two more of the things, because the next time I want a new one, I'll by-God have it sitting handy next to the sandpaper. They'll probably have three different brands of them, including two or three with the price stickers on them from when they bought a case of them in 1964.

Side note: The Army, despite lowering recruitment standards to anyone with a pulse, even without a high school diploma or GED, is going to have a tough time getting recruits, because as far as I can see, F*cktard Depot has already hoovered up all the sub-80 IQ dimwit high school dropouts for miles around.

Retail isn't that hard. Retail with Retards is.

I haven't had this much fun shopping at Fucktard Depot since I tried to find a sharpening puck for hand tools, another formerly common item that's been around for damned near forever.

UPDATE: Mom & Pop Hardware had three full pegs of the blocks. Two of them went home with me today, so we won't be re-living that problem anytime soon. 

Oh, and for the inevitable Moron Contingent, I'm sanding irregularly-shaped items, not flat surfaces, and wood blocks don't work well for that. Stupid people need this explained to them apparently, so award yourself a dunce cap if you didn't grok that the rubber blocks have more "give" than does the block of wood you're using for a head. But thanks for playing. Apparently the post wasn't explicit enough in expressing how I feel about getting "help" from ignorant idiots who don't know what they're talking about.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, Fucktard Depot would almost be funny it it weren't so pathetic. I've been riding their merry-go-round on an item for almost three months; the website says "we can ship 5 to your local store" but when I order one I get the cancellation email the next day for "insufficient stock." So I put my email into the "notify when back in stock" space, ten days later get the "we've got it back in stock" email, so I order it. 24 hours later, the cancellation email seems to be the only thing they have in plentiful quantities.

Round and round we go.

I can't count the number of times I've looked up something on the web site, discovered the local store has 11 in "aisle 24, bay 6", go to the store, they no gots. Ask one of the orange-aproned and nose-ringed Random Aisle Wanderers, they look it up on their version of Tam's Magic Elf Box, pronounce "we have 11 in aisle 24, bay 6" while completely oblivious to the fact they are standing in front of bay 6 in aisle 24,, and then, with some pleading and cajoling on my part, embark on Fucktard Depot's version of Search for the Holy Grail.

20 minutes later they return empty handed and pronounce failure.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Were it a recently aquired condition - pandemic-enforced supply chain issue, doncha know - I might be somewhat tolerant, but this is, and has been, their default condition for years.

Lowes ain't much better, the inconveniently-located local Ace hardware slightly more useful (their stores are too small to have the necessary inventory), etc. I consider Bezos the Devil Incarnate, and Amazon needs to ban USPS from their shipping and delivery procedures, but Baldy can put stuff on my porch 48 hours after the mouse click, and most of the time it's what I actually ordered.

Wunnerful, ain't it, riding a country into decline?

Algonquin Carmichael Jr.

Terrapod said...

Would that be a conical, round or rectangular stone you might be wanting for your scythe?

When all else fails, a chunk of concrete from the road will do.

As to sanding blocks and sand paper, avoid all the hassle next time and visit your local automotive paint supply specialist. I find they know product and have pretty much every option available in stock. Also, never buy the cheap sandpaper, pay extra for 3M or premium U.S. made brands.

Bear Claw Chris Lapp said...

The Zon it's the only way. Yeah I know, it's like going to Walmart. A necessary evil.

Anonymous said...

Last month Home Despot was a having a Father's Day sale on lithium batteries for a particular brand of electric power tools. I have a battery powered weed whacker that I use at camp. I bought one spare battery when I bought the tool. Two batteries don't quite get me to the end of the weed whacking I need to do to keep the ticks at bay around camp.

When I saw the sale, it was a two for one deal, I went to the store and ordered it. The clerk that helped was computer illiterate. She was not of the current generation of non HS or GED variety. 15 minutes to enter the order.

Here it is, 3 weeks later and I still don't have the batteries. I've called twice, both times getting the recorded message "your order is being prepared and will ship when it is ready". Of course they've already changed my card. GGGrrrrrr.

So, one of my errands for this week is to go back to Home Despot to TRY to get some more definitive answers on when I might see the batteries.


libertyman said...

The best real hardware stores have squeaky wooden floors and also sell ammunition. The staff knows their products as well. Sadly, they are a rare find these days.

GuardDuck said...

Years ago, it seemed the Depot had actual tradesmen working there and Lowes had the aura of a place my ex-wife would go to find flower pots.

What a difference 20 years can make right?

A corporation's culture, from the top, will make or break it.

Anonymous said...

100% right on. Has to be a company culture thing. Our Lowes around KY have always been staffed with knowledgeable people who have practical experience with seemingly everything construction and handyman related. Though, I have noticed the old timers are retiring and being replaced by a younger, less knowledgeable bunch of kids, but still a higher hardware IQ than the HD crew.

Anonymous said...

I work for one of two companies mentioned in this post and my company, and from what I've gathered the other one as well, are pretty much geared towards contractors these days. Those not-sandpaper-blocks are used for drywall (and work pretty well on that and other things that are not wood), and for wood I suspect that a lot of contractors use power sanders to the exclusion of hand-sanding. That might be why you were having difficulty finding one. I'm kind of surprised that no one knew what you were talking about, though.

The other reason might be that most people just make sanding blocks out of scrap wood. In 25 or so years of messing with wood I have seldom bothered with a sanding block (I just fold the sandpaper over a couple of times, which is stiff enough for the mostly-rounded surfaces I am finishing, and I prefer scrapers these days anyway) and I've never used a commercially made one.

-Grey Fox

TechieDude said...

Pro Tip: Use the website to lookup what you need, preferably before you leave the house. The days where your normal worker there knows anything have long since passed. I can't tell you how many times I simply break out the mobile while I'm in the store to get the location of what I need. That said, it's a crapshoot since they may not have as many as they say, or there'll be a hole where they once were, or some nob floortard who can't sort put it somewhere else on the aisle.

Way back when you could ask anyone there where something was and they'd tell you. FFS, I asked this chick in HD apron where the cornerbead could be found and she told me. Those days have long passed.

If I need something immediately, I go to ACE first, since it's closest, it's a small operation, and they tend to have it. Barring that, I'll hit Lowes on the way to the old style hardware store one city north. I never go to HD unless I've looked on the web and there's a chance they'd have it.

And I think those same tards have peterprincipled up to ordering, because they never have what I need in the size I need. If I need a 3/8" compression fitting, They'll have dozens, but the particular one I need. Forget 5/16", they flat out don't stock them.

You know what else they've been missing when I need it? Screws. Fuggn Screws!

I busted a gut laughing at your trials and tribulations with chinesium screws mounting your TV. Right up until a day later when the chinese screws on my speaker mounts snapped like bamboo when I tried to use them. So when I get something that needs mounting, I size up the scews in the pack, and go buy stainless steel (if I don't have them already). Go to homless despot and they'll have every size but the one I need. If I need a #10x1 screw, They'll have #10 screws in 1/2", 3/4", 2" etc. Every one, but the one I need.

Then again, how could you tell. Apparently, the floortards don't know their ABC-123s. Sorting is for shit. They seem to clump them on the wall in like sizes with little thought to sorting.

BTW - If I need anything for woodworking, I head to one of two fine woodworking stores - Woodcraft or Rockler. Because I had the same thing you had with the block happen with sandpaper - every damn grit but the one I wanted, in the size and material I wanted.

serger in wy. said...

I'm to the point when I shop big box stores I pull up the specific
store, look up the item as to which aisle it's in. In the case of
Home Cheapo, you usually also get the bin where the item's at.

Failing that I look for one of the gray haired old farts of either
gender.(There are only two. That is the way.) They usually do hard
things like come to work, know where stock is and how to look it up,
read the hands on an analog clock face and lastly make change....

We are so fucked.

Virginia Granny said...

Interesting comments - from only guys, apparently. My nearest town has no Home Depot. We do have an Ace, but very limited inventory (except for the very over-priced gun shop in the back).

We used to have a small town hardware store that had absolutely EVERYTHING you could possibly imagine, but the owners retired. It's now an antique shop, but then it used to be that already. It was the only place within hours of driving that stocked the specialized snow shovels I use to clean stalls in my barn. They said they hadn't sold one of those in 10 years, so they had them stashed away in the attic. Knew exactly what I wanted in seconds. And could find them. Of course, I bought their entire stock. Don't know what Im going to do when the last one bites the dust.

We also have a Lowe's. You can smell the testosterone when you walk in. Have had problems over the years with them not having the item in stock, and in the past, when special-ordered, they often screwed up and put them on the shelf instead of calling me that they were in. Probably not as bad today, but I haven't needed the service in several years. (We're preppers. We could stock our own hardware store.)

Otherwise, their staff is superb. Greybeards and youngsters, they all know everything about the stock, the store, etc. Almost like it was their jobs. And the most knowledgeable, and most responsive to an old pitiful, lost-looking granny like me, are young women. I never have a problem in that store as long as I just skip the search and find a worker-bee to help me. And that is fairly easy. Plenty of staff just trolling around looking for someone who needs rescuing, while they do their regular tasks.

But for more arcane pieces and parts that Retired Engineer DH needs to repair ancient farm equipment, we usually have to go online. That generally works a charm.

DSs live in a larger town that has an HD. Every time I've asked them to check for an item to bring down the next time they were visiting, it wasn't available, even if the staff knew what it was (rare). After multiple fails, we've just decided to scratch dirt over the store and be done with it. Not worth the trip. Just go directly to Lowe's or a specialty store.

Plague Monk said...

One thing I will say about Homeless Depot is that, unlike Walmart, I don't have to show ID merely to buy a small bottle of craft paint, X-acto knife blades, superglue and several other things. They require a manager's approval to be certain that I'm over 21. While emotionally that is doubtful at times, the white hair and grey beard should be a clue.
Meijer has gotten the same way in the last year or so, unfortunately.

Jonathan H said...

In the last decade I've found Lowe's to be much better than HD, which is an unfortunately low standard to meet.

But when I moved last year even further into the hinterland, there is an HD in the big town 75 miles away and the closest Lowe's is 200 miles away, so I'm stuck with HD or Ace, whose inventory is irregular and spotty.

Survivormann99 said...

One day, I asked three Lowe's employees where I could find a certain item. I got three different answers, all of them wrong.

Maybe 7 years ago, I went through a nightmare process with Home Depot with the cabinets I ordered for the kitchen re-model. I could write for the next 30 minutes describing their f-ups.

Ultimately, the manager gave me a $1,000.00 credit to compensate me in some way for the hassle I went through. He explained that years ago Home Depot would hire competent, knowledgeable employees and pay them $25.00/hr. By the time I ordered my cabinets, Home Depot paid $15.00/hr. and hired people who knew nothing. These employees learned the particular knowledge needed after they were hired. It was cheaper to use this hiring model. Of course, we had to bear the burden of their education process in the meantime.

Tonerboy said...

Use to be the big box stores didn't actually own many of the lines of products, but just provide space to distributors, like the hardware hinges/brackets or brass plumbing parts. The 1 by X wood area in HD is actually stocked by a distributor. If the actual inventory quantities placed by the distributor aren't passed on to the HD corp computer, quantities don't match. Not trying to make excuses, just info.

Billy Bob in Texas said...

Don't shop at HomoDepot anymore.

I look at Lowe's online and I can see if it is in stock and what aisle and bin for the location.

If it is less than qty. 5, I will buy it online and pick it up after they have found it. 2 times out of 10, their inventory is off and I get an email about being out of stock. Save a trip that way.

Fred said...

Yep home depot is kinda screwy. Quite a few years ago I looked in their plumbing department for 1/4" copper tubing. None there. Found a clerk who showed me where it was, in appliance repair parts.

Night driver said...

Bro! DO NOT go and start looking for a palm stone (Yeah, round hand sharpening stone). THEM thangs are only sold in VERY out-of-the-way, PURE tool-sellers where they check the color of your AMEX card (it ain't black yer not likely to buy much here today but you can come in and LOOK, OK?!?

UR Payne FELT!!!!!

night driver..

Dinochrome One said...

I live in the small county-seat of the (sparsely populated) largest county in the state. We have Walmart, Orscelyns Farm Supply, and a Do-it Center; all large franchises with all the problems in the above comments. BUT we have Debo's Hardware. It's a hometown shop started by one of the earliest settler families in the Ozarks; it's where I bought my anvil forty years ago. Not much floor-space, but they stock tools available nowhere else. Ammunition, solid-brass hardware, iron plumbing supplies, authentic granite-ware, stoneware crocks, blacksmith supplies including the right types of coal in fifty-pound bags. All of the older folks in town go there first. Look around to see if you have a traditional hardware store and if you do, support it, CHERISH it.

Ultimate Ordnance said...

I just got back from the local True Value hardware store, where I bought a microwave and a gallon of 50:1 2-cycle fuel. That place has everything I ever looked for there, and he sells ammo too. It is 30 miles to Lowes or Home Depot. Lowes is hopeless. I went there for a concrete birdbath. They had a whole pallet of bottoms, but no tops. Asked for help and got directed to the bird feeders (no help). Home Depot is better, but is still overstocked with Chinese crap.

Pat H. said...

On a related topic, here's the power sharpener I've acquired.


Bands for it are available to put a mirror polish on metal.

Second aside: Look for knives using N690c steel and are full tang.

Anonymous said...

No, Bear Claw, it is not 'a necessary evil'. I've made it to age 57 without ever ordering anything from Amazon, and I haven't set foot in Mall-Wart since they decided my family's heritage (as well as the Duke boys' car) was all deplorable & verboten.
--Tennessee Budd

John Wilder said...

Our local is pretty good - and the manager actually runs two or three licensed contracting groups to install his stuff. Only regret: bought a cheap-o dishwasher from him. Not his fault.

Justin_O_Guy said...

The plastic fittings are not stocked in any rational way. The 1/2" 90 might be between a 2" tee and a 1" cap. Insanity. When I need nuts and bolts I go to the store that sells to HD and Lowes. Yeah, sign SAYS $10.00 minimum,, but if you spend a minnit gabbing with the people, use cash, show the appreciation for not having to suffer the retard and lack of stock by leaving enough of a tip for someone to get a coke or something,, you might be surprised at how easy shopping for that kinda stuff can be.
I know, not every town has a threaded fastener warehouse, but if there's one in your town, check them out.

Anonymous said...

worked for six years at my 'retirement job' at Blowe's... after that time, I was let go with a "thank you" for my hard work, perfect attendance, etc. The reason stated was "job performance", but the other older, knowledgeable guys like me found out - why pay us $16+/hr when you can hire a "yoot wit diversity cred" for $9/hr. Anyway, that's why retail customer service is a thing of the past. Sadly, many customers are as ignorant as the youth. One of the most memorable was a "contractor " who asked to speak with the manager because our 2x4s were not 2x4... efforts to explain that was because they were surfaced on 4 sides, and 2x4 was the size prior to them being milled. He couldn't understand that was industry standard. He said that was bullshit, I told him everyone else on the planet knew, we all just decided to not tell him... imbecile.
Original Grandpa

Rollory said...

>WhereTF do they hire these people?

The general population. Me, for example. I was working retail a while back. A woman comes in, asks where she can find electric knives. I blinked at her, said "Electric knives? Uh ... knives aren't electric." She gave me this really exasperated look and went off to look for herself.

I found out some years later that electric powered mini-buzzsaw cutting implements called "electric knives" are indeed a thing. I have never used one, or even seen one, or felt I needed anything of the sort for my kitchen operations. At the time of that encounter I had been living on my own and cooking about 80% of my meals for several years.

For sandpaper blocks, if people are not in the habit of handyman work around the house, it is completely plausible to me that they have either never seen them or seen them rarely enough for the object not to register. A kid who's grown up playing Mario Kart and Counterstrike or Words With Friends on the phone, rather than banging about with hammer and nails in Dad's basement workshop, is simply not going to know what you're talking about and it is not reasonable to expect otherwise: their background has not in any way prepared them for that sort of thing.

The training that newly hired personnel get does not cover, at all, the stuff being stocked. It covers much more general customer-interaction stuff and "get them to sign up for our special credit card" and HR / nondiscrimination / company lawsuit protection stuff. Once you're done with that and put on the floor with the nametag and everything, the only way you can learn about what is on the shelves and where is to go look for yourself. And most employees just don't see it as a long term occupation so they don't care enough to do that - and the pay and general corporate attitude toward "our valued associates" totally justifies that attitude.

And as for

>CSC: "We don't stock that in the store."

This is a big part of why Amazon is winning. My reflex is always to go to the nearby box store first. And - whatever it is, doesn't matter - they never, ever have it. And they don't seem to grasp that if I have to go online and wait for delivery, I'm going to go for the proven market leader, and that I'm willing to pay a (minor) premium for immediate-pickup, and that if they can't bother to have the stuff physically present there is no point in brick and mortar at all.

Aesop said...

And that's the whole point, Rollory: Retards working for retards. And not a whit's difference in IQ between them; just different salaries.

Rando said...


I used to work at a home depot back in my early 20s. They had lots of computer based "training" on all the different items in the store but it really didn't do very well to prepare employees for knowing about the different items in the store. Realistically the best they could hope for was associates to be able to point customers to where the product in question was. This was before we had smartphones and apps for searching and tracking down the desired item. Also the computers were slow and the only search app was some semi-secret HP-UX terminal based system that only had text, no pictures. I distinctly remember this was when the old timers who knew stuff were all being pushed out and younger people, myself included, were coming in to replace them.

Working as a cashier you're pretty much stuck at the register. I would constantly have customers come up to me asking questions about things I knew nothing about. What made things worse was when I would call for assistance from someone in the relevant department it was a 50/50 crap shoot whether I'd be able to get hold of someone. Which of course if I couldn't get anybody it's always my fault. Then there would be the angry customers who would berate me when they would purchase a pallet of something and I could find nobody to drive a forklift to bring it out to the loading bay for them. I mean, sorry but I'm not forklift certified and I am not allowed to leave my register to get the item anyways. The thing that sucked about being a cashier is that you end up being the person the customer spends the most time with given how sparse floor associates are. So you get to bear the brunt of their anger.

I tried transferring to a different department, and the geniuses decided to put me for a while in the paint department to learn. Except they didn't allocate any time for training on the equipment or teach me anything about the different types of paint we sold. So naturally I'm not much of a help to customers. Before I could learn much of anything they put me back on a register. I eventually got fed up and joined the Air Force for 4 years.

Some argue that the reason the big box stores don't do much training for their employees is they won't be working there for very long. Therefore not worth the effort. Which is BS, lots of short-timers just do their 4 years in the military and get out, and they have no problem giving them plenty of training in how to do their job.

B.C. said...

I feel your pain, brutha. That's why I ALWAYS look up to see whether the box store has something in stock (not 100% bulletproof) and where it's SUPPOSED to be in the store, before I shuffle my ass down to visit the Vested Tards. I wept the day the local hardware store, that my brother ran, went out of business.

GuardDuck said...

"the big box stores don't do much training for their employees is they won't be working there for very long. Therefore not worth the effort."

Self-fulfilling. Don't pay them enough so they don't stick around. They don't stick around so there's no reason to train them. They aren't trained and knowledgeable so they don't deserve pay as a trained and knowledgeable employee.

Anonymous said...

Sounds about right. Lowes seems to have better staff, one you track one down.

I had same experience with a bug zapper. They stock the zapper, but not extras of the mosquito attractant, for, you know, the reason people buy these in the south. Helpful staffer looked them up and said they weren’t going to stock them anymore, just get them online. Uhh, seriously, but you still sell the main unit? So, lowes lost a sale on the bait because Amazon was less and free shipping dontcha know.