It's not about the house.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Now I've Done It. Can You Help?*

Having discovered yellow tags on the empty shelves where our cabinets were supposed to be, I made a beeline for the Cabinet Guy at the desk in the middle of Home Depot.

Johnny trotted along behind me like a little kid: “What? What, Hon? Where are we going? Weren’t those the shelves? Hon! Honey? Wait up!”

He didn’t know about the yellow tags, and I didn’t want to explain it to him till I knew for sure.

We found the Guy – two of them, actually – at the desk where they belonged, both of them intently absorbed with guy #3. A customer. I shifted from foot to foot, clearing my throat and waving my cabinet brochure around a bit, figuring that whatever this Customer wanted, he probably didn’t need both Orange Guys to do it.

Apparently, he did.

After about five minutes, Johnny and I sat down. Those chairs that are always around the desks in the middle of Home Depot? I always thought they were for perusing catalogs and such, but no: turns out they’re for waiting your turn.

Finally, Customer Fellow left and both Aproned Guys gave us their full attention. Not really convinced that I needed a tag-team to answer a simple question, I couldn’t decide which one to look at. I bounced my eyes between the two of them for a moment, finally settling on the Little Guy with the comb-over and the reading glasses in his very business-like shirt pocket.

“Hi!” I said. Good start, right? Not mentioning his hair or anything? “We re-did half of our kitchen a couple years ago, and we’re just now getting around to doing the other half. We came in to pick up the cabinets, and…” I made a vague motion towards the empty shelves on the back wall.

“Oh!” says the redheaded, burly Big Guy. “The Mills Pride sale? Yeah. You missed it.”

Ah, so it was just a sale. Which explains why the shelves were so darn empty.

“So,” I said, to the Little Guy again. “When do you think you’ll be re-stocked?”

“We won’t,” says Big Guy. “It was a clearance sale. You should have been here three weeks ago. They were marked down, like, 75%. Folks were coming from all over.”

Well, if we’d known three weeks ago, we would have been here, wouldn’t we?

“Coming from all over, you say?”

I’m still addressing Little Guy at this point, even though it’s Big Guy who keeps answering. Mostly because Little Guy is closer to me but also, to be honest, because he’s not so freakin’ big. Big Guy was abnormally oversized and – standing up as he was, next to me still sitting down – it gave me neck-pain to venture eye contact.

“So, they are still carried in the other stores?” I asked the Little Guy. “Just discontinued and on super-sale in this one?”

“No, no,” says Big Guy, cheerfully. “Home Depot’s not carrying them anymore at all. Folks were traveling – some all the way from Maine! – to get the pieces that they needed to complete their set. A cabinet at this store, a door at that one, a sink base from somewhere else. All we’ve really got left now is the tacky white kind.”

Okay, he didn’t say “tacky.” But –

Is there gas running to any of these ovens here that I could stick my head in? No?


Finally, the Little Guy piped up. “If you know what you need, I could go back there and have a look. The boxes got all messed up, but I’m more used to it than you are. I’ll be more likely to spot the ones you need.”

Yes! Please! That would be a big help! Here’s our list! See? I knew there was a reason I’d pinned my hopes on the Little Guy.

And with that, Big Guy excused himself. Apparently, the only task that requires two Aproned Guys is standing around the center desk and chatting. Everything else can be handled by just one.

So he did and there wasn’t. Little Guy, that is, looked for our boxes on the shelves and came up snake eyes. He came back to the desk, checked the computer for the inventory of surrounding stores, and ditto.

Johnny and I shlumped. This is what you get for diddling around. If only we’d waited one year and forty-nine weeks, instead of two full years! Not only could we have had a kitchen in which all the cabinets matched, but we could have gotten the ones we needed for a quarter of the price. Now what were we going to do? Finish it with different cabinets? Rip out the ones we just put in? Live with it half-finished for another two years until we had the cash to start again? I'm so glad I thought to buy those extra dozen drawer-pulls, just in case. Wouldn’t want to have unmatching drawer-pulls!

“I could order them for you.”

What? What did you just say? Little Guy, repeat yourself!

“I could order them for you. But you’d have to pay full price.”

Well, hockey-sticks! I don’t give a hoot about full price. I walked in here prepared to pay full price when I thought I would be buying off the shelf. You think I'm not going to want them now just because I can't get them on sale? Yes, it would have been nice to get them for a hundred bucks instead of four, but four hundred bucks is better than ripping it all out and starting over. Jeebers, Little Guy! You couldn’t have given us this choice a little sooner?

“So, do you want to? Place a special order?”

Um... Yes.


*Suggested advertising slogan for next-wave chain of old-school type (read: actually helpful) lumber yards.


su said...

Will they actually be delivered to your home??? As that would be a super bonus. And remember to check all of them immediately for defects. That attic must be getting full. I know I know I am sooooo mean.

EGE said...

You really just have to stay tuned...

Amalie said...

That would be the. best. name. ever. for a good old fashioned lumber yard/ hardware store. I love our local-- when I don't know, they sure do!

Kristy said...

I wish any big sales, clearance or the like, they would post online or in their flyers so that we know about them. I don't want to have to make a HomeDepot or Lowe's run every week just to see what they are clearing out on.

I wonder what they are going to replace that product with... is everything going to be special order? Doesn't sound very DIY.

I love your writing style and humor, keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...


When you find out that they DON'T MAKE THEM ANYMORE check these out. They seem a pretty good match. Good Luck

Anonymous said...

Well that bites...I assembled some Mills Pride and stuffed them in a wall (poof! "built-ins"!) I was thinking about doing another wall later on...guess not!

EGE said...

Amalie -- Unfortunately, one of our locals went internet-only (I don't understand it either) and the other got bought out by people who Don't Know. So we're stuck with the Big Boxes. Bleah.

Kristy -- Welcome, Kristy! Glad you like it. Please, stop by anytime for a beer-and-bitch session. Oh, and good luck exorcising those aliens from your upstairs bedroom...

Poppo -- I said stay tuned!

Tara -- They are super-easy, no? And not too ugly, either. That must be why they got discontinued.

Vanessa said...

As I read this I no longer feel bad about renting. In fact I may never buy a house and be ok with that.

EGE said...

If I have saved just one soul from her fiery fate, then my job here is done.

theotherbear said...

So you ordered them. Is it really mean to admit I was kind of intrigued by the idea that you were going to have to do the whole lot again?

EGE said...

No. It definitely would have made for a much better story, and I'm all for that. As long as it's not MY kitchen we're talking about. Which it is. So...


Jean Martha said...

please tell me that you used a 10% off coupon.

EGE said...

Um... no. But this was BEFORE you told me I could get them on ebay! Really! Stay tuned!