My New Year’s Resolution
Most people decide to take something up for the New Year; going to the gym, attending church more or taking up a new hobby. Over the years I’ve found that it’s easier to give something up than adding another activity to fit in the day. Last year I had decided to give up fast food. In retrospect I should have resolved to not lose my job on January 8th, not to move to California or to not trust anyone with an eyepatch. Needless to say that after losing my job and driving cross-country I didn’t manage to stick to my resolution. After heading out to Home Depot and Lowe’s in the California area I came to the conclusion that Home Depot will no longer be my spot for hardware and accessories.
Home Depot – Parking Lot/Atmosphere
The Home Depot parking lot is like a Demolition Derby with cars driven by half-blind Asian women midget on Aderall. I’m not even sure if there are parking spots drawn up. You need to know trigonometry and some sort of Chinese origami in order to figure out how to even find your car a spot. During my first fifteen minutes of driving around I saw an old woman dead in her car, with a “Humphrey/Muskie ‘68” bumper sticker on her car which led me to believe that she had been dead there in that parking lot longer than I had actually been alive.
Now, if it weren’t bad enough, Home Depot has decided now to bus people in. Although I’m not quite sure who, exactly, gets bussed into a hardware store, from what I could tell it looked like a mixture of elderly incompetents and alcoholics. The elderly obviously need their daily trips provided by mass transportation and what better place to bring a flock of senile people built out of papier mache than a superstore full of power tools, do-it-yourself projects and products with warning labels on them. Alcoholics obviously rack up DWIs and need to get to Home Depot in order to make home-made beer bongs and other tools to fill their bloated gullets with as much alcohol as quick as possible. Add in the Applebee’s and there all day Happy Hour deal and it was an ideal setup for these lushes.
Lowes – Parking Lot/Atmosphere
Home Depot makes this place look like a paradise of tools co-managed by nuns and Tim Tebow, owned by God himself. The parking lot was orderly and from what I saw there was no looting going on anywhere. The big sign lit up the sky like a lighthouse for the tool-hungry masses. They had those guys with the airport lights leading cars into spots and through the light amount of controlled traffic. When I was finally led into my spot by a cherubic old man, I was greeted with a smile and a wave. I waved back and exited the car, feeling as though I was just valeted at the Venetian. Walking in I felt so comfortable, I didn’t even lock my car to protect the half-eaten Cold Cut Trio Subway sub in the passenger seat. The doors swung open for me and I was finally inside. The smell of freshly baked cookies and hope ran through my nostrils and into my blood stream. I had entered the mythical, pearly gates of stress-free hardware shopping.
Home Depot – The Help
Once inside, things did not get any better. Why does every Home Depot look like it houses drug infested raves during afterhours. Around every corner lies a new smell and the organization is atrocious. RainMan wouldn’t be able to figure this place out. It’s like the first time you ever grabbed a Nintendo controller and played Zelda. Except someone slipped you acid and spun you around in a chair for six hours before starting the game up. Why wouldn’t the plants be in the same section as the trash cans? Oh, the light fixtures? They’re obviously over by the concrete. I managed to grab and a worker hopeful that his knowledge of his place of place of employment would be of some service.
God Bless this employee, Derrick, the type of kid who struck me as the type of kid who would poop in the urinals in elementary school. He couldn’t be more than 19 years old, but within a moment of discussion you could tell he had done at least three decades of hard drugs. He had either slept in the parking lot outside or in a stable the night before because his shirt was beaten and dirty, not to mention two sizes too big. Apparently, he was at the rave held at the Home Depot the night before and forgot to wipe the coke, painkillers, caulk or whatever else he was inhaling from the tip of his nose. The entire time I was asking him questions it seemed that at any point he was going to ask me for a few dollars. Meanwhile, all I wanted to ask him was what the capital of California was, just to watch him bleed from his ears as he tried to squirt a thought out of his brain. I made a brief quip about the present state of the economy in California after he mentioned the sales. He made a face like I had pulled a rabbit out of a hat, stuck it in his face and had it fart on him.
He answered the phone during the 30 second conversation we were having and immediately I could tell it was his girlfriend. The conversation started nice enough but took a turn for the worse and he said something about striking her with a curling iron, again which caught me off guard. Him striking a woman didn’t put me off because his uneasiness, apparent love of drugs and bruise ridden arms and body had already led me to believe that he had either just fought off a group of gorillas on an African safari, or he was in an abusive relationship. The real surprising part was that he had just suggested that once before he had struck her with a curling iron…odd weapon of choice, but to each his own. He hung up the phone, sniffled a bit and after about 35 seconds remembered that he was in a previous conversation with me. “We’re having a baby,” he half-heartedly mentioned.
Lowe’s – The Help
Upon entering, I was immediately greeted by a short, pleasant young man, named Tim, who was sharply dressed in the uniforms provided by the store. He asked how my day was going, and without mentioning my Home Depot experience, said I was doing just fine. After telling me what I needed he immediately began walking to the aisle we needed to be in. He pointed others into their respective destinations and seemed like the type of genuine person who would give you the shirt off his back. On the way to our area, I couldn’t help but notice the store setup. It made much more sense here to put the plants in the outdoor section with the patio furniture. Someone had obviously shopped on one occasion and organized the store accordingly. On the walk, I explained to Tim that I was trying to create a banner stand for the company I had just started. He then told me that he had been let go from a sales position a few months ago and was still looking for a more steady form of employment. We exchanged email addresses and after he left me in the right section he made a joke about unemployment rates throughout the country and wished me a good day.
I will not be going to Home Depot in 2011 and I might be investing into Lowes stock.
Post Dedicated to Derrick….