Then Home Depot moves into town. They can afford to buy one of the best locations, stock tons of stuff and attract folks into the store. The local hardware guy can't do all of that. Where one big box store sees an opportunity so do others. Pretty soon the local mom and pop hardware can't compete. Heck even the Ace Hardware gave up trying. Notice I didn't say anything about the price of the products. I've not seen that Home Depot sells things cheaper.
Last week I needed a wire wheel to remove rust from a steel bench in my shop. I went up to the Home Depot to look for the tool and for some rubber matting. As I was wondering around helplessly looking for what I wanted, remembering how great it was to walk in the door and tell Hank what I wanted and have it magically appear, I saw "that guy".
You know "that guy". He's the one in the wheel chair with the special foam seat that keeps him from falling out on the ground. He's the guy, the one guy, probably the only guy in the whole place that you don't want to ask where the heck is this stuff you've been searching for the last 20 mins for.
I saw him. He saw me. He knew I was fruitlessly searching for something that there was no chance I was going to find. He saw me break eye contact and look down and away. I'm sure he's had that exact experience thousands of times. People see him and don't want to see him, so they look away and do what I was going to do, avoid him. He was a good 60 feet away and I could easily get away.
Then I said "Hey". He asked if I needed help finding something. Which I very definitely did. I told him I needed a couple of items. He didn't have a clue where the first one was and said so. He wheeled his chair at full speed over to the cow in drapes and interrupted her personal phone call and texting session with a request for my matting which he then took me to. Side note here: I had been unsuccessful in getting the same women to help me earlier.
Then he hit the turbo on his chair and I had to pick up the pace while we shot over to another aisle. There he explained that I never would have found what I wanted, because it wasn't with the other accessories. Total time to get what I needed after "that guy" showed up less than three minutes.
I thanked him for his help and he asked if I needed anything else, which I didn't. Then he speed off to do whatever it was he was going to do before he saved me more frustration wandering around the store.
I want to describe "that guy" to you. He had no legs. His right arm was gone. His left arm was a mere twig on his body. His "hand" wasn't really a hand. It looked like the doctors had managed to save one of the bones in his hand and maybe part of a finger and turn it into a boney little hook. "That guy" had been burned over 99% of his body. His face was disfigured. He had some hair left on his head. I couldn't see how much. In addition to his orange Home Depot vest he was wearing a base ball cap that said the name of his branch and "Veteran".
The local hardware guy is someone who truly adds value to your life.
Home Depot gave "that guy" a job. He's doing a good job of it too as far as I could tell. This is a GFF post, because they didn't have to hire him. I'm sure that he's making $8 or $9 bucks an hour like the rest of the folks who work there. Frankly "that guy" deserves to suck off Uncle Sam's teat for the rest of his life. He has earned having his bills paid by the American tax payer. "That Guy", he's not willing to set at home.
He went out and asked for a job. Home Depot gave it to him. Good on Home Depot.