austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

With pennies for the vendor

I'm not going to put my trip report off forever, but sitting down to write today I realized I was still tired, so I'll close out things from my visit with brother and sister-in-law and which I'd written up ahead of time.

For entertainment, we went to a nearby Ace Hardware, a company which both admitted inspired in them the question, ``How does this place still exist?'' It's kind of the hardware version of Radio Shack. But my brother wanted to get something he saw on This Old House which fixes squeaky floors by letting you drive into the boards screws with cuts designed so they can be broken off easily at multiple heights, and they're apparently available only at Ace Hardware.

We also studied shower curtain rods because my sister-in-law finds her unsatisfactory and we debated whether this gadget to give you more room inside the shower curtain, by being a heavy weight on one side and a plastic hoop on the other that pushes the curtain out, was ridiculous or just dumb. Opinion was split but my sister-in-law and I agreed it wasn't worth 25 dollars. We approved the store's announcement that unwrapped toilet seats may not be returned, and my sister-in-law approved of how the policy also covered toilet plungers, though my brother asked what it was a stranger might do with a plunger that you wouldn't also do. I was simply amused by how there's also a no-return policy on ladders.

A fair explanation for how Ace Hardware continues to exist even with the occasional sale of break-away screws to my brother was found in the checkout aisle where we found a rich store of wonderful hardware-oriented novelties. My favorite was a tiny mirror, a touch large for use in dental applications, with a telescoping rod. I could think of nothing I could use this for, but I bought one and have lovingly extended it to full length to reflect a quarter-size field of view at things. My sister-in-law is sure that I can find a way to annoy my father with it. Other fine pieces included a telescoping magnet head which I might have considered had it telescoped just a bit longer so that I could reach the ground without bending over (my sister-in-law was fine with it, though), and a cigarette or furnace lighter built in the shape of a children's toy electric drill. She was tempted to buy it just to see if it could be taken on an airplane.

But we were delighted with our purchases, even if the cashier was thrown badly by my answering ``How are you today?'' with ``Oh, fine, thanks, and you?'', and left the store in a good mood and appreciating how they do stay in business. They've shifted to the ironic-sales market. We felt like applauding.

Trivia: In 1814 London had one gas company, with a single gasometer, with capacity 14,000 cubic feet. Source: Disenchanted Night: The Industrialization of Light in the 19th Century, Wolfgang Schivelbusch.

Currently Reading: Life The Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality, Neal Gabler. It seems like the punctuation in that title is off, but that's how the copyright page has it.

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