I’m a friendly sort of person. Where Mr. December would go into a store, pay for his stuff, and get out, I’ll be chatting and smiling and asking how the cashier is doing. I do it because it makes me happy, not because it gets me any benefit… but sometimes I actually do reap the benefits of friendliness.
I went to my happy place—Lowe’s—because I needed plywood to make the drawer fronts for the library. I had actually called in my order to the Pro Desk (they call me a pro!) so they could have it cut and waiting at the front for me; but when I got there, my order wasn’t ready. As it turned out, the phone number on my account is my landline which I never use and which has a full mailbox; they had tried calling me three times to tell me that they didn’t have the product I’d ordered.
So there I was at the Pro Desk, asking one of the associates who knows me why the website said the plywood was in stock when it really wasn’t. She took a walk through the sheet goods aisle and offered me a few different options to replace the plywood they didn’t have. I approved one and we walked over to the cutting area together to find an associate to cut the board; but just as he started off towards aisle 51, I spied something between the back of the track saw and the rack of wood behind it.
“What’s that?” I pointed. “It looks like the kind of thing I’m looking for.”
“It’s scrap,” they told me.
Scrap!? It was a piece of ¾ inch plywood with sanded sides, at least two feet by seven feet. Who on earth bought the rest of a sheet and left that beautiful piece behind?
“I’ll take it,” I announced.
And that’s how I scored some free ¾” good-one-side sanded plywood. I asked the associate at the cutting area what they usually do with pieces like the one I’d chosen. “It’s sad,” he said, “but it usually goes in the garbage.”
So I’m a little happier because I didn’t have to spend $90 on a full sheet of plywood, and the earth is happier because that’s one less perfectly good product going to waste. Win-win.
When I got to the cash another guy who knows me asked whether I had been given a price for the partial sheet. “No,” I said, “It was from the scrap pile.”
He looked to the first woman I’d dealt with for confirmation.
“It’s Sara,” she told him. “She can have it for free.”
I have to say, I felt kind of special. I love the folks at the Pro Desk.
Next, I needed paint. So I called up our local paint store, where the three employees have helped me with a lot of paint-related needs. One time, the manager gave me a mini-lesson in painting technique for getting a brushstroke-free finish on cabinet doors.
It was the cheerful young man who answered the phone with a jaunty tone of voice. I ordered the paint I needed and told him I’d be there in half an hour. When I went to pick up, we chatted for a while and he made some notes in my file of which room or project the paint was for—handy if I need to go back later, I guess. When I left, he opened the door for me and wished me a great afternoon and good luck with the project.
Back at home, I set to work cutting the drawer fronts and installing the mounting hardware on them. Then I removed the fronts from the drawers and took them downstairs to start painting. They’re downstairs in the Makery, awaiting more coats tomorrow. And here I am at my desk, reflecting on how much I like to shop where everybody knows my name.