Thursday, December 21, 2006

I’m No Longer a Virgin

I went in to my first Big Box store today. Actually, I just went there to use the rest room, and I didn’t buy anything, so maybe that only counts as foreplay, and on some level I am still a virgin. I drove to a town called Upper Lake to look at marble vanities and passed through Ukiah, CA on the way. I really needed to use the bathroom and I saw a Home Depot just off the highway so I pulled in.

The store was big, but really, not as big as I thought it would be. Ukiah is a mid sized town, so I’m sure there are bigger Home Depots. The selection was very nice. I spent some time in the plumbing area since I have bathroom on the brain right now. I was impressed with the display of Kohler toilets. Very nice designs, but they have the stupid exposed trap. I really, really, really don’t understand why most modern toilets have this. The rental bathroom I used for the first few years I lived in this house had a new Elger toilet with the exposed trap. It was my first experience with that and the damn thing was almost impossible to clean.

Of course, selection is important, but being the worlds biggest cheapskate, what I wanted know about was pricing. The problem was, even though I’ve been buying a lot for the bathroom lately, it’s all been used and salvage. I haven’t started rough-in plumbing yet, so I haven’t been buying copper and ABS. For the kitchen I bought the faucets new and the copper sink, but that was about it. I bought those on-line, so it’s not a fair comparison to our local stores. I didn’t see the exact same make and model, so I couldn’t make a comparison anyway. They didn’t have my fridge, either.

I looked for subway tile, and I was amazed that I couldn’t find any. I thought that stuff was oh-so trendy right now. I walked down the tile isle twice looking for it. I would have asked, but there was no one around. Later, when I saw a clerk, I was too lazy to want to go all the way back over to the tile isle to be shown where it is.

I did buy 3-feet of 1X6 oak for the high-tank a few weeks back. I paid $2.20 a foot locally and HD had it for $1.95 a foot. I think that’s 13% less. Of course, I had to drive 300 miles round trip to get that price, but I can see saving a lot over the cost of a whole project if we had one local and I bought everything there. This assumes that those savings are across the board on most items.

I wanted to see if they had the 3M 5200 Marine Adhesive Caulk I want to use in the bathroom. Once I found the caulk isle, though, it was blocked off! They had these stupid orange gates blocking the entrance at both ends. It said something about cleaning the isle, but I didn’t see a mess. I saw several other isles blocked off with the same gates. I’m not sure what was going on. I never saw anything on the floor, and it seems there was never anyone close enough to ask about it when ever I encountered one. It was about 8 AM on a rainy morning and the store was deserted. I saw only one other customer and about 5 clerks the whole time I was in the store. The real challange was getting out the place. I couldn't find the exit. {blush}

As for the marble vanities, the whole trip was a bust. They guy had 3 to chose from, but for one reason or another none of them would work. On the drive home I was really getting bummed out about the whole thing, but it gave me time to think, and I think I may have come up with a plan. More on that later.

Some may recall how I had a plan to trade a bunch of old toilets and sinks to DEA Bath for store credit. The credit would then go towards an antique marble vanity and other plumbing supplies they offer. We had a tentative deal for about $600 in store credit, but the whole thing fell apart last week. I’ve had good dealings with them in the past, but this time it was one delay after another. I was dealing with a guy named Mat and it was terrible trying to get questions answered and to get him to follow up on things. After about 6 weeks I told them to go to hell. Well, not in so many words, but the deals is off, all the same.

After I fired off an angry email and told them to forget the whole thing, John, the owner or manager, I’m not sure which, called me but I wasn’t home. I never called him back. There are still some things I’m going be buying from them, because I just can’t get it any place else. When I do call in an order I’m going to ask for John and he is going to get an earful.

Just to give you some idea of what I was dealing with. About 3-weeks in I asked Mat if he could give me some idea when the order could be put together. I explained that I needed to arrange a day off work to drive down. Mat’s reply: “It’ll get done, when it’s done”. I should have asked for the manager right there and then.


John said...

I don't know, you may technically still be a virgin. Sure, you got naked and did some heavy petting, but you didn't consummate the deal; you didn't give them money for anything before you left, did you? The first time is the worst, but it gets easier the more you do it (even if you don't really like it).

StuccoHouse said...

You missed part of the big fun in visiting HD. Asking an orange vest an old house question. You need to look all innocent and then ask them where their coping saws, double hung window weights or chains are.....then you watch carefully for the look of panic to cross their faces :-) Oddly, I don't think I've ever seen 3M caulk in HD, even here in MN,

Greg said...


No, no money changed hands, but I did feel like a different person afterwards. The age of innocence is slowly slipping away.


You see, it’s that awkwardness of being a virgin that made me miss an opportunity like that. It’s like I’m back in high school all over again.