Mr. fix-it around the house I am not. More often than not a home-handyman project I take on ends up in mud, blood, sweat and tears. But I thought I could tackle a leaky faucet without serious injury or property damage.
You probably sense where this is heading. Well you are wrong. Sort of.
I Googled leaky faucet and found out more than I needed. I got the deal apart and remembered to shut off the water first so I didn’t have an “I Love Lucy” episode.
But the things I took out seemed to have no washer like the internet showed. So off to the hardware store.
The Rising ranch is near Dallas which at one time had three hardware stores within a pipe wrench throw. One by one they shut down. One became a used car dealer, now shuttered and the other is a beer distributor.
The survivor is a tiny store.
Down the hill is a big box store with acres of aisles so huge that colonies of birds live in the rafters. But I tried the little guy first. I went there fully expecting to buy the whole replacement deal.
The “can I help you” guy looked at the valves in the little baggie and said “Hmmm.” Not a good sign usually. He then went behind a counter and pulled out a box of stuff. Grabbed (and I am not making this up) a dental tool with sharp points and hooks on the end. In about 30 seconds he pried off the washers I couldn’t see and popped in two new ones with some advice about changing them every few years.
At the checkout counter he looked up the price and gave a low whistle. How much? $2. He must have seen my jaw drop open because he said “Yeah, pricey little buggers. Usually they run about a dime.” I finally got my trap shut and managed to ask how much the whole deal would have run me. “About $16 each” was the reply. So this guy saved me $30.
And taught me a little life lesson. I could have gone to the big box store just down the hill a few miles. But I am willing to bet you lunch that whoever waited on me there wouldn’t have had a dental tool or the willingness to help me out. I would have gone home fat dumb and broke with the two new valves and never known the difference.
Competition drove the others out and survival of the fittest left just the one. In the big scheme of things my thirty bucks means very little to the wide world.
But to me it meant a trip to the beer distributor.