All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


GFF - Home Depot

What I like about my local hardware store is the man who runs ran it knew where everything was.  That's on of the benefits of a small town hardware store.  You've got a couple of folks that work there and they know where everything is.  Most of the time they know if option A or option B is going to work best for the job you have in mind too.   The local hardware guy is someone who truly adds value to your life.

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.


  1. WaterBoy3:41 PM

    My HD joke: Home Depot is my church -- I'm there every Sunday, say Hallelujah! when I find what I'm looking for, and often leave a pile of money in their collection register.

    The thing I like about HD is that they generally carry a far greater variety of DIY materials than smaller mom-and-pop stores. For instance, I was installing another shampoo bowl at my wife's salon, and needed a new gasket for the drain. Now, these are not conventional sink drains; they're quite a bit larger, and need appropriately sized gaskets that a typical hardware store wouldn't stock. I was just about to order one from a salon supply store online before deciding to check out Home Depot to see if they might have one.

    I wandered all over the plumbing aisle looking for the darn thing for 10 minutes, and finally gave up. On my way towards the front, I decided to ask "a guy" (not "the guy", the one in the scooter who normally mans the plumbing dept, who wasn't around) if they had such a thing. He went right to the exact location and picked it off the wall. Don't know how I missed it before, but that's what these guys get paid for.

    I'm all for mom-and-pop style stores, but I'm also in favor of a free market. If Home Depot can provide a better selection/price/whatever, I'm good with that.

  2. Susan4:42 PM

    The HD stores where I live have lousy customer service. I prefer our Lowes stores for major purchases. We are lucky in that we have an Ace Hardware store less than 5 minutes from our house, and another about 14 minutes away. They are still great places to shop.

    Doesn't surprise me that the guy who helped you was a vet Res. Most vets of my experience have such a good attitude towards life and they rarely let life knock them totally down.

    I bet you will now be looking for that guy's help from now on at HD. Plus you get great exercise from his help too.

  3. WaterBoy5:13 PM

    Susan: "Most vets of my experience have such a good attitude towards life and they rarely let life knock them totally down."

    It's a good thing they are able to do that; it's not always easy.

    Unfortunately -- and please forgive the downer on GFF -- but overall, the suicide rate of veterans is more than twice (30/100K vs 14/100K) that of the civilian population.

    I suspect the rates are even worse when accounting for combat troops versus all veterans overall. Good on "that guy" for his positive attitude.

    1. This is a really complicated issue, and the stats are messy, and a great many people play games with the numbers - as in the link you provided (putting overall military vs overall civilian is false as the military is mostly young men). The suicide rate for vets is actually lower than the civilian rate within the same demographic, once you exclude the seriously injured, with the really notable exception of women. Everything else being equal (race, age, income, etc) enlisted soldiers kill themselves about as often as their civilian counterparts, and much more often than officers, but women are the real outlier - for some reason women that have served are way more likely to commit suicide than women that haven't.

      And yeah, kind of a downer topic for GFF.

  4. Susan1:02 AM

    WaterBoy, I have to wonder if part of the reason for the high rate is because if they admit they have a problem, they are then stuck with a label pretty much for the rest of their life that says they are unstable, unfit and not worthy of being allowed back into civilian life unchaperoned.

    I blame a lot of this problem on people like John Kerry, who was at the forefront of totally trashing his fellow soldiers during Vietnam. That attitude is still apparent on television and in movies.

    And I have also read that the VA has now started confiscation of guns from vets who admit they are getting any kind of help from somebody else, like an elderly vet getting help from his son when it comes to paying his bills.

    That doesn't mean that he is legally incompetent, it just means his son is helping him. The VA is doing this without any kind of court hearing or anything like.
    Is it any wonder with that attitude of the VA, that vets are not coming forward? I just have the deepest sympathy for them.

  5. I prefer Lowes due to the whole ghey thing at Home Depot. But, regarding the big box stores; I tend to prefer them over the local, smaller stores, as do (apparently) most people. The big box stores, as noted by Res, stock more things. What I really like about the big box stores is that I can go there and buy, literally, everything I need in one trip to remodel a bathroom - nothing has to be ordered if I stick with one of their preferred color schemes. This ability to go to a store, pick up something, look at it, and then walk out with it is a HUGE factor that the smaller stores, Amazon-dot-com, and e-bay just can't match.

    I also think it's an interesting business model: Big Box does not stock their own shelves, they rent out shelf space to the various vendors. I think that's a great idea, it pushes the risk of something not moving down to the supplier of said item, where the risk should be.

    1. Susan9:54 AM

      Having spent 20 years in several customer service related businesses, a Company's customer service agenda is much more important to me than the "gaystapo" agenda. As long as they don't push it in my face, I am fine.

      Kmart is a great example. Know why they failed big time? They were pushing the low prices so hard, they forgot to tell their employees to also push great customer service. So they did not. CS in a Kmart was just appalling. So I haven't gone in one in at least 25 or more years.

      That is why I prefer Lowe's, at least where I live. Oregon youth for the most part do not seem to get the entire concept of customer service at least at HD. There are times though when I have taken a great deal of secret glee to show them. Politely but firmly. I know how to take scalps, and I am not afraid to do it.

    2. The best thing about the big box stores is their return policy. Since they don't own the merchandise, they have zero incentive to stick the customer with a product that the customer does not want. And it incentives the vendor to make things pretty bullet-proof, since all the risk of returns is on them, and they can't refuse the return. This is a big factor in their success.

  6. The veteran suicide thing is really complicated. I'm not sure what can be done about it, but what the service branches are doing is really stupid. I think there are two overlapping factors: The number of young men that come back from the sandbox with really serious injuries is probably the biggest factor. These guys would not have survived the initial wounds 20 years ago, but the insta-clot bandages, the excellent training the Combat Lifesavers receive, the new thinking about tourniquets, the very, very advanced care and equipment at forward bases, the ability to evac wounded at astounding speeds, the advanced comms gear that allows any squad leader to call for a helo, the body armor and associated gear, all combine to make anything that does not immediately kill you pretty dang survivable. So, you take a typical 20 year-old, in great physical shape, and cripple him for life, and then act all surprised when he gets chronically, clinically depressed.

    The second contributing factor is that in the Armed Services, people belong to something bigger than themselves, and are fighting for a just cause, and are really contributing to society and civilization. Then they get out, and are stuck moving boxes in a warehouse, or doing another (in their view) menial job. This is depressing, particularly when they see their erstwhile peers who didn't serve, and thus have a three or four year jump on them, doing better than they are. And if they listen to the media and start doubting their mission while in service, or see what they fought for, and their friends died for, being literally just given away - then things just spiral down from there.

    And the services have terrible training and counseling for all this, I mean it's just awful. The whole point of the training is "Things will get better". No. They won't. Things will never get better. You won't ever walk again, your arm won't grow back, you won't regain your sight, your friends that died won't ever be back, and you will never again be back in the fight. Lights out sounds really, really appealing.

    The service components need to give these veterans something meaningful to do, but this is not currently possible, those kinds of rear echelon jobs are being cut by the thousand. And I believe it's intentional. The sequester cuts hit this the hardest, and I can't believe it was by accident.