Home > Uncategorized > Neighborhood hardware stores do it best

Neighborhood hardware stores do it best

[Excerpt from article by John Diaz in the San Francisco Chronicle.]

As a do-it-yourselfer who likes to take on new challenges, in house and yard, I’ve found that customer service is inversely proportional to the size or specialization of the store. Start a sentence with “I’m looking for this thing” and you’ll be greeted with a sneer at a typical lumberyard or plumbing supplier. At Home Depot, chances are you’ll encounter a blank stare.

At a neighborhood hardware store, more likely than not, you’ll have a partner in problem solving by the time you finish fumbling through your words and hand gestures.

So I get a little anxious when I read about industry trends, such as the report that sales at the nation’s hardware stores and home centers fell 6 percent last year, the first such year-to-year drop in recent memory. It’s not hard to find an abundance of recent stories with a familiar theme – a town’s venerable hardware store is about to close, victim of the economy and big-box competition – from Modesto to New Haven, Conn…

A hardware store is the old-school equivalent of an Internet message board. More than a few times, I’ve listened in on a conversation about a do-it-yourselfer’s problem I’ve either had or anticipate having. I’ve had licensed electricians and professional painters offer me tips of the trade. Those experiences happen rarely in a big-box setting, where help is as elusive as an antique brass screw you need to match a door’s strike plate.

[Full story.]

  1. Walt
    September 6, 2010 at 5:42 am

    I’ll admit to having a bias in favor of REAL hardware stores, the way they smell, and the folks who hang out there. When I was a kid my dad owned one, and during the summers I’d fix storm windows (this was in Minnesota), cut and thread pipe and package and label screws, nuts and washers, and weigh and sell 16d green vinyl sinkers. The fact that he was driven under by big box stores was the reason I got a scholarship that paid for college. I also did construction for 10 years, so I find it irritating when I go into a big box and have to teach the kids who work there the difference between PVC and ABS or 12-2 vs 14-3 Romex. So when I want to get some tips on wiring a sub panel, I have to go to Pierson’s. I doubt anyone at Home Depot would know why it’s not a good idea to put a penny behind a fuse.

  2. September 6, 2010 at 7:07 am

    Isn’t a desire to have the people helping you out with a purchase know what they’re talking about relevant to any store? Hardware, books, music, groceries, clothes – I always appreciate a little knowledgeable help when seeking advice on something I need to buy.

  3. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    September 6, 2010 at 7:09 am

    Good article and true – an accurate model of smaller is better!

    Plus, by having more smallers to counter the less biggers, more people will have an opportunity to be business owners while maintaining a job as less profits go to the pyramid scheming corporate conglomerates.

    Typically in the past (less so today – sad), small businesses offered reasonable competition (less the very few hick town grafters) which helped keep costs low while providing a good lifestyle (fair profits and reimbursed expenses); now, more hubris and greed by non-corporations too has limited competition and thus manifested a false sense of net economic worth per individuals for whose hubris and greed made them feel worth more than they really were or are. Even the Fed’s did this with the Davis-Bacon Law regarding Union Level treatments on ALL Federal Projects(Fascisms, bailout subsidizations, labor segregation, etc…)

    When those consumers in a local area start shopping outside of their area because of local costs, then hubris and greed have set in. All those numbers and figures that officials use to conjure-up to explain the economy is just “filler” to keep the apathetic occupied. The reality is costs and costs dictate a society’s behavior. Greed is a major cost that needs to be remedied.

    Jeffrey Lytle
    McKinleyville – 5th District

  4. Plain Jane
    September 6, 2010 at 7:10 am

    “Be careful what you wish for” is sage advice. Since big boxes take a large percentage of their customers from existing businesses (proven by studies) and our local businesses are already suffering from the recession, what percentage of their sales can these businesses lose and keep their doors open? Since big boxes cost 1.4 jobs for every 1 they create, how does that help a community already battered by high unemployment? Since fewer jobs equals less spending which means even fewer jobs in retail and increasingly unaffordable housing – an economic downward spiral is strengthened. People on the big box bandwagon are essentially wishing for a seriously damaged local economy – but maybe they think big boxes will make their welfare checks stretch further.

  5. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    September 6, 2010 at 7:20 am

    Forgot to say to Walt,

    I feel for you sir. Part of the problem with construction is that even though population is increasing, less young aged adults get into the “physical work trades” because so many have been converted to “look and smell good” minion workers that require less knowledge and only need the skills to invent paper-work because life is expensive and stressful and easy, providing non-productive jobs that offer gossippy gab-talk opportunities to socialize. Cell/Mobile phones on the job-site reduce productivity too when it ain’t used appropro by the employees (time on the phone is less time earning keep).

    JL

  6. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    September 6, 2010 at 7:38 am

    PJ,

    problem is, much of the housing cost issue is a population density/number of asset owners equation. There can be all the housing units in the world and all the land FOR housing units in the world; but, when both are owned and controlled in majority “outright”, the price level only comes down so far for those who are able to “sit and hold, sit and hold”, thus keeping over-valued and super-inflated the real-estate valuations (don’t forget lien sales or any transactions in price-fixed housing markets).

    So, with the government scam of endorsing the over-populating of the planet for creating wealth for the pyramid schemers prior to de-population, all consumers are doing is setting up a society for a minority of evil humans to control more and more before the next “human population growth cycle”.

    Now, to do this (cause there is still lots of land and natural resources to extract), The U.S. Supreme Court rendered a decision saying government can emminent domain private property for private developoments like shopping centers, home sub-divisions, etc..). In other words, to accomodate the systematic fraud of increasing world population, some very “high-up” federal officials must have influenced the supreme court justices. Foerster-Gill!!!

    The System IS RIGGED to take away from the good and responsible in order to give it to others less than credible.

    JL

  7. Mitch
    September 6, 2010 at 8:33 am

    This article highlights a dilemma we face throughout our society today.

    We all think we believe in fairness and a “level playing field,” but it means different things to different people.

    A typical so-called conservative point of view is that every participant in the free market gets to bring whatever tools and weapons they have to the competition, and “may the best store win.”

    A typical so-called progressive point of view is that some participants have so many more tools and weapons to bring to the contest that they shouldn’t be allowed to play against smaller, local players.

    The conservative response to the progressives is that they are abandoning freedoms to the state, when people should be able to choose for themselves which stores they’ll shop at.

    The progressive response to the conservatives is that allowing one or two big players to dominate eventually ends up destroying the free market that we are all supposedly celebrating.

    But this article highlights a different perspective.

    The take-home lesson from this article, for me, is that the superstores are not less expensive, they’ve merely engaged in a practice called unbundling. Neighborhood hardware stores charge for providing products and an owner and staff with the knowledge to help you select and use the product. Superstores have unbundled, and sell you the product stripped of assistance.

    This is the heart of the dilemma: when a superstore that has “unbundled” enters the market against stores that have not, it can skim off the cream. That is, it can take all the customers for whom price is the only concern, leaving the small stores only the small portion of customers who want and need service. The result is the death of the small stores, unless they “unbundle” themselves. But if everyone unbundles, there’s no one left to provide service, and everyone suffers.

    I think it’s genuinely a very difficult problem. I’m a regular amazon.com shopper, but I’m also a regular complainer about how, increasingly, things just don’t work.

    I’d be really happy to see our society legislate handicaps for superstores (and online stores) that are unable or unwilling to provide the same level of care and service provided by local stores. But I have no faith that our political system could generate such legislation without turning it into pork, and freedom-robbing pork at that.

    Honestly, what I think we’re seeing is that our economic models no longer work now that our society has been so thoroughly altered by the information revolution. Our economic models are built on an assumption that communities are, to a degree, islanded from one another. They aren’t islands any more. And in economics as in biology, islands support diversity.

  8. cheesedick
    September 6, 2010 at 8:46 am

    This story basically nailed entire reason I moved here (and the reason I stay here).
    If I wanted strip malls, Trader Joe’s and Walmart, I would move back to freeway land.

  9. High Finance
    September 6, 2010 at 8:59 am

    So how many neighborhood hardware stores has the behemoth Pierson’s put out of business?

    How many square feet is the Pierson’s location anyway?

  10. Anonymous
    September 6, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Funny how the trends go. Isn’t this the same group that cried “take down the good old boys” in the downtown who overcharged (not really, but their prices were higher) the public, ran “monopolies” on certain segments of the market, and tried to get a mall in where the prices would be lower. I could swear it was the progressive types who didn’t want to pay the downtown prices. “Who needs help fitting your clothing or shoes?” etc. Well, you got what you wanted- malls and strip malls, and now you want the small stores back. I have seen the whole progression of it and it really is interesting.

  11. Mitch
    September 6, 2010 at 9:19 am

    HiFi,

    Pierson’s seems to me to be a great example of the islanding effect. Pierson’s is definitely a large store, but it seems to be known locally for service and staff continuity (which means staff knowledge) more than for low prices.

    If forced to compete against a large chain, it would lose the “cream” that I referred to earlier, and would most likely be forced to lower prices to compete. The classic free-marketer would crow about the success of competition.

    But lower prices would probably mean lowering staff wages. To survive, Pierson’s would probably need to replace long-term decently-paid staff with minimum wage newbies. That would destroy its reputation, but it might survive by becoming a different entity, sort of a mini-Home-Depot.

    So the area would lose the resource that currently exists. The decently-paid staff that makes its knowledge available would lose their jobs, or keep their jobs but lose much pay. The free-marketers would have an example of “success” in “lower prices” but: the area would have lost a knowledge resource; wages that are recycled in our local economy would be reduced; profits that are currently kept in our local economy would be transferred to global shareholders; and concern for local stakeholders, based on the community’s direct relationship with Pierson’s owners, would be replaced by pseudo-concern generated by a “community relations professional” who is interested in rising a corporate ladder, and for whom the “community” in “community relations” was an abstract concept rather than a set of neighbors.

    The inability of “conservatives” to see these pitfalls when analyzing the situation speaks to how shallow our political debate has become. We see the easiest thing to spot — lower prices — and are so mesmerized that we don’t realize all that we lose. Shortcuts don’t work, and the true conservative — no scare-quotes this time — understands that even more than the typical liberal.

  12. joeschmo
    September 6, 2010 at 9:23 am

    I’m suprised that no one has mentioned that John Diaz, the author, is an HSU Graduate (’77) and was the commencement speaker at graduation this year.

  13. Mitch
    September 6, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Forgot to add…

    Although Pierson’s might try to survive via the mini-Home-Depot model, it would not last long. It simply cannot generate the sales volumes that would enable it to purchase inventory at the same low prices as Home Depot. Once it lost its reputation for better service, it would lose the service-sensitive customers it had retained despite slightly higher prices. It would struggle on with some customer loyalty, but would be doomed in the intermediate-term, unless Home Depot’s corporate greed meant that Piersons would be able to compete on price by lowering its profit margin.

  14. Sam
    September 6, 2010 at 9:24 am

    If you ask Rob & Cherie, they simply want to see the business of a progressive democrat fail

  15. Mitch
    September 6, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Anonymous 9:13,

    I can’t disagree with what you say, though I wasn’t in the area when the mall came in. You are pointing out why the labels “progressive” and “conservative” are essentially useless today.

    Labels that would be helpful would be “selfish” and “kind.” Today, it seems, we have two great parties to represent different groups of the selfish, but I see no serious party representing the kind.

    The Green Party’s values are kind but, like it or not, the Nader debacle demonstrated that today’s Green Party is incapable of generating sufficient support in today’s America.

    The Tea Parties sometimes make it seem that, despite vast efforts, neither of our big-two parties have gone enough to the selfish side to comfort the selfish component of the electorate.

  16. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    September 6, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Mitch & HiFi,

    Pierson’s B.C. did not build a megatropolis store all in one swift swoop. Rather, they have added on over the years as their business has grown; and still, they are not a corporate conglomerate!

    As far as behemoth mega-stores, their tools and such that they have more of – depends on what percentage of that money/asset/tool power was attained through frauds and graftings during and after creating another and another economic victim. Plus, the government sbsidies and kick-backs. Let’s get government completely out of the loop in so far as “subsidies” and let people “understand” the free market the way it “should be” understood – do honest business and the consumer can freely choose. Do dishonest business, lose everything to the consumers and employees you stole from. To do this, bankruptcy laws need to be re-visted and amended into non-existence.

    JL

  17. Plain Jane
    September 6, 2010 at 9:53 am

    9:13’s post is BS. Progressives didn’t bring in the chain stores any more than progressives are trying to bring in big boxes. If he “swears it was progressives” then he is a liar. Hank Pierson built the Eureka Mall and he was certainly not a progressive, and it was a giant corporation who built the Bayshore Mall as well as all the other big chain stores in the area.

  18. Anonymous
    September 6, 2010 at 9:59 am

    All the political party labels are meaningless now.

  19. Anonymous
    September 6, 2010 at 10:23 am

    I take that back! The Republican Party wants control of the Federal Government. They think they can sell Americans the lunatic idea that “playing the stock market” will give better returns than continuing to support the Social Security program!

    What a foolish campaign strategy. As a Republican said a long time ago, You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

  20. Sam
    September 6, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Anyone remember the both the Eureka Mall & Bayshore Mall’s horrendous advertising campaigns back in the early ninety’s?

    Catch the spirit?

    I forget the Eureka Mall’s slogan, but I vaguely remember it actually being worse-

  21. Anonymous
    September 6, 2010 at 11:39 am

    It is SO simple, just don’t shop there.

    This country was founded on freedom, and PJ, don’t get into some pathetic, holier than thou lecture where you paint yourself as educator to us all.

    It is not anyone’s right to decide where I may shop and limit my choices. You don’t get to decide if or where I go to church, what businesses or charities I give my money to, what country my car has to be manufactured in, what is an acceptable viewpoint.

    The arrogance of you “progressives” blows my mind.

  22. Plain Jane
    September 6, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Anonymous leg humper: GFYS.

  23. Anonymous
    September 6, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Jane, they didn’t call themselves progressives then. They were the democrats and they were against the Good Old Boy Republicans and that sort of ilk running their evil Mom and Pop downtown stores and having higher prices than the chain stores. If you were here then and old enough you would remember it. It’s not BS. I lived it and wrote many letters to the editor asking people to support the local guy, stop shopping in chain stores, and stop shopping out of catalogs, which sent the money out of the area. All to no avail, the downtown went out of business, and here you have what you have.

  24. 1158
    September 6, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Jane,
    No offense, but you could do better than “gfys” when you get your ass kicked in an argument.

  25. Anonymous
    September 6, 2010 at 11:59 am

    I can still remember when both Arcata and Eureka were locked up by the local businesses, wages were low and you could not afford to purchase new school clothes. The biggest news at the time was when the K-mart on Broadway opened (I think at the time it was the biggest cut day Eureka High School ever had) and you could finally purchase a couple of pairs of new jeans.

  26. Anonymous
    September 6, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Yeah. Locked up. (really?) and weren’t we thrilled to have a Kmart? NOT. Also, some of the downtown stores were run by Democrats, and other parties. The shopping was pretty good then. Better than now!

  27. Plain Jane
    September 6, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I could do better with anonymous leg humpers than GFYS, but won’t waste my time. They just aren’t worth it.

  28. Anonymous
    September 6, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I know. It’s so annoying when people disagree with you!

  29. Anonymous
    September 6, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Oh, and Jane at 9:53, of course the progressives didn’t build either mall. They don’t construct things like that. The Rs have to do it.

  30. Plain Jane
    September 6, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Anyone who remembers Eureka before there was Pennys and Montgomery Ward is friggin OLD. The local stores didn’t have a monopoly at any time in my life. There were always national chains with lower prices than the local stores and people had a choice between higher prices and higher quality or lower prices and lower quality. Now we have choices between astronomically high boutiques or cheap crap. What a choice.

  31. Mitch
    September 6, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    11:39, meet 8:33.

    Sometimes, it only looks simple when you don’t think.

  32. Anonymous
    September 6, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Plain Jane you seem to be rather cranky on this beautiful day…

  33. Anonymous
    September 6, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Half of Heraldo’s blog is taken up w/ PJ’s preachings (mostly to the choir) and yet, someone who has a well-reasoned response gets a “GFYS”. C’mon…you can do better than that PJ.

  34. Plain Jane
    September 6, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Their “well reasoned response” is just more simplistic rhetoric that has been dismantled numerous times on these threads. Why should I waste my time on people so obviously incapable of understanding the issues that they just post the same tired crap even after it was most recently refuted so ably by Mitch at 8:33, BEFORE they posted their nonsense.

  35. Plain Jane
    September 6, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    “Plain Jane you seem to be rather cranky on this beautiful day…”

    I’ve kicked the humper off several times but it keeps coming back. There are numerous other posters who have made the same points I’ve made, but the nasty cretin just keeps humping my leg. It’s enough to make a saint cranky and I’m no saint.

  36. Anonymous
    September 6, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I’m starting to warm to the idea of big boxes, at least in certain product categories. Ace and Pierson’s more than cover hardware needs, but there’s a crapload of other stuff I have to web-order because there’s little or no selection in this county.

    Take dog houses. You’ve got 4 types at Petco in the mall made by 2 manufacturers. While they are decent models, they are not what I’m looking for. I’ve been to 4 independent pet stores in Eureka and Arcata and they don’t even sell dog houses. Is it because Petco has cornered the market? No. It’s because dog houses are big and small stores don’t want to dedicate the shelf space. So here I am on a Monday afternoon ordering a dog house from a website when I know for a fact I could buy the model I want from a PetSmart chain store in the valley. And no, I don’t want to build my own with lumber from a hardware store, but if I did, I’d go to Pierson’s or Ace because they help you there and Home Depot is staffed by zombies.

    If big box opponents want to convert people, they need to acknowledge that independent stores don’t serve all our needs. Be realistic.

  37. Plain Jane
    September 6, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    You could order from PetSmart directly if you can’t find what you want locally. People have always had the ability to order what they want. Sears Roebuck even used to have houses in their catalog. This area can’t support mega specialty stores to fill everyone’s desires and it certainly can’t support big boxes without putting local stores out of business and their employees out of jobs. More retail doesn’t increase the amount of money people have to spend and retail which sends profits back to headquarters reduces the money circulating in our local economy. Trading local stores for big boxes reduces our choices of where to shop because we can’t support them all.

  38. Anonymous
    September 6, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    I think it’s simplistic as well, Jane. Except I don’t agree with you. Simple. And you don’t “understand” my reasoning, or my experience.

  39. Anonymous
    September 6, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Sometimes A and L Feed in McK has some nicely made local doghouses.

  40. High Finance
    September 6, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    When you buy on-line, whether its Amazon.com or PetSmart, you deny the local economy in two ways.

    You not only cause fewer local people to have jobs but you even deny the local government & state government the sales tax revenue. How can you deny the people who want to shop at Home Depot because its a big box, but then turn around & you shop on line which hurts us even worse?

  41. Anonymous
    September 6, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    “Plain Jane says:
    September 6, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    “Plain Jane you seem to be rather cranky on this beautiful day…”

    I’ve kicked the humper off several times but it keeps coming back. There are numerous other posters who have made the same points I’ve made, but the nasty cretin just keeps humping my leg.”

    Maybe that’s why your so cranky, maybe you want more?

  42. Plain Jane
    September 6, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Shopping at big boxes takes money from the local economy AND puts local stores out of business. Buying something online that isn’t available locally hurts no one and not buying it helps no one.

  43. Sam
    September 6, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    You have anything to say about Mitch’s take on big box stores HiFi?

  44. Anonymous
    September 6, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Many, many online purchases are available here though. You just have to go shopping. Books? You can order them through your local store.

    It’s annoying when others disagree with you, but calling them names is typical of persons with a closed mind. I am not going to subject myself to it on such a nice day where I am.

  45. September 6, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    When Home Depot comes to town, I have no intentions of shopping there except on rare occasions. HD, like Costco, is a major commitment of time and energy and I would much rather shop at smaller local stores. Schaffer’s, Hensel’s, BEST and Almquist will get 99% of my business and happily.

    But that doesn’t mean my personal choices should trump those in the community who WOULD shop at HD and look forward to it coming to town. As has been noted previously in the other posts concerning online shopping, these folks are already shopping at HD, and thereby depriving us of much needed sales tax revenue.

  46. High Finance
    September 6, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Exactly 100% correct Chris. I love Schaffer’s, but I have no right to deny those who want to shop at Home Depot the right to do so.

    Sam, Mitch is wrong. Pierson’s can easily survive the arrival of Home Depot. It will have to change, but change can be good. Bill P will have to learn how to compete.

    So Sam 2.18pm, if Home Depot “unbundles” and is therefor unfair, what do you think about Mitch & Jane shopping at Amazon.com & Petsmart.com, the ultimate unbundlers who hurt the local people even worse? Are they hypocrites for doing to the extreme, what they wish to deny others?

    People, what do you think are the odds that Sam, Mitch or Plain Jane will address that question?

  47. Mr. Nice
    September 6, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Buying online is environmentally friendly. Folks wanna compare the bullshit amount of gas savings of shipping pallets and delivering discrete orders. This leaves out the giant ass gas waste when the consumer drives five miles to pick up two lbs of cargo.

    Fuck taxes. What folks need is more money. The county don’t need no 1% savings on galvanized nails, it needs at least a 5% increase in jobs.

  48. Plain Jane
    September 6, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Where did you get the idea that I shop at Amazon or PetSmart? I don’t even have a pet. The poster above said PetSmart had it but PetCo didn’t so he had to order online. I googled PetSmart and they have online sales too. Mitch said he occasionally buys books through Amazon. I didn’t say anything about shopping at either one.

    If local stores close, and they will, with big box competition, none of us will have a choice of where to shop and then we won’t have good service or low prices.

  49. Mitch
    September 6, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    HiFi,

    You’re managing to avoid the point completely, which isn’t surprising. It’s not that Home Depot is “unfair.” First, it’s that pretending that the contest is solely about price is missing reality. And second, it’s that you can’t have both, no matter how hard you try. (You even admit that when you say “Bill P will have to learn how to compete.” What you mean is that he will have to switch to the Home Depot model, which is what I said in the first place.)

    You are right that stores like Pierson’s will need to compete against the Home Depot approach once Home Depot arrives. But that will not just hurt Pierson’s, it will hurt us all.

    You say: “I love Schaffer’s, but I have no right to deny those who want to shop at Home Depot the right to do so.”

    This is awful bumper-sticker philosophy. You could as easily say “I like riding my motorcycle without a helmet. Why does the nanny state get to tell me I can’t?” The answer is that we live in a society that is going to need to spend millions of dollars to take care of you if you crash without a helmet, and we’re not so selfish that we won’t help you when that happens. So we say the rules are “you have to wear a helmet.”

    Same thing with all regulation, with licensing requirements, health and safety laws, and so on. We have to find a societal balance between what is private enough that people can do what they wish and what has enough of an impact on others that society has to think about that impact.

    Some personality types are so self-focussed that they cannot see that the boundary between public and private is fuzzy, and that as we get increasingly interconnected and interdependent it is shifting.

    (As an aside, it always mystifies me that the same political subset that screams bloody murder about regulation of business often feels completely entitled to control what people do with their own bodies in the privacy of their own homes.)

    As for my so-called “hypocrisy” for admitting to shopping at amazon.com, oh, please. This is a very similar bit of rhetoric to the quadrennial BS that politicians who take big campaign contributions while calling for limits on campaign contributions are hypocrites.

    They’re not. They are playing by the rules as they exist, while recognizing that the rules are not as good as they should be. But they’re not going to unilaterally disarm.

    I’m very pragmatic. I will shop at amazon.com when they can deliver stuff to my door for a substantially lower price than their competitors. When there is a local business that provides me with better service than amazon, I’m happy to use the local business if it costs up to about 20% more.

    There are lots of goods where the best model is selling and purchasing online. That holds most strongly for products that require no explanation, service, or support, or which are serviced and supported by the manufacturer.

    The original story was talking about how neighborhood hardware stores provided “free” support, training, and community. There are lots of products where that is not relevant — I feel no embarrassment about getting them from amazon.

    As usual, either you don’t understand my attitudes or you think this is all some clever debating game and try to score rhetorical points.

    The fact that a person lives by the rules as they exist does not mean they wouldn’t rather have the rules changed to be more equitable. To pretend otherwise should be beneath you.

  50. Mitch
    September 6, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    PJ,

    One quick correction — I didn’t say I buy books at Amazon, and — with the rare exception of specialized technical books I need the very next day — I don’t. I buy books at Northtown, because I want that local treasure to remain intact.

    Computers and cat food, though, that’s another story. If I knew of a local computer store that was of as much value to the community as Northtown Books, I’d reconsider.

  51. Plain Jane
    September 6, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Sorry Mitch, my mistake.

  52. Anonymous
    September 6, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Waiting for HiFi’s one line response…

  53. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    September 6, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Mr. Nice,

    not more money, but rather, lower costs that yield more transactions that makes everyone happy except the pyramid schemers controlling the natural resources, etc….

    Jeffrey Lytle
    McKinleyville – 5th District

  54. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    September 6, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Mitch @ 4:59 pm,

    Good Post.

    Societal Balance is inappropriately used “politically” in policy making soooooooooooooooooooooo often, that the weight and integrity of that “phrase” holds less meaning every day – just sayin that, as with children, certain tools of the trade are being used abusively to get political decisions.

    JL

  55. Anonymous
    September 6, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Pierson propaganda.

  56. A-Nony-Mouse
    September 7, 2010 at 8:28 am

    Remember anti-trust laws? Remember the concept of ‘monopolies’. We’re headed back in that direction at breakneck speed. Home Depot and Lowes are trying very hard to create monopolies by controlling the building supply market. We went through that battle several times in our countries history. Every time it was seen that monopolies are NOT in the best interests of anyone except the monopolies themselves. Here we go again.
    Of course, HiFi thinks monopolies are great as long as you own some of the stock.

  57. Dollar Value
    September 7, 2010 at 8:52 am

    People are starting to realize that, like a few of you have already talked around, the value of money is what matters. There’s plenty of jobs right now in Humboldt, they simply don’t pay enough because the value of money keeps falling nationally.

    If minimum wage provided financial security, there wouldn’t be a never ending abundance of minimum wage jobs available. Everybody screaming that “we need more jobs” is regurgitating newspeak…”jobs” is the buzzword of the year. It’s very misleading. The national trend of mass development around big box ideals just feeds the beast and it’s never satisfied. How many more decades of proof do we need? Humboldt County’s overall economic timeline is right on par with the nation, because money is a corpo-national fluid. We need to start to separate ourselves from the problem. We can increase the value of the dollar locally.

    Other than that, I agree with just about everything Henchman of Justice has written.

  58. High Finance
    September 7, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Mitch, you have every right to shop at Amazon.com to buy anything you want. What you shouldn’t have is to deny people the right to shop at Home Depot or even WalMart if they wish.

    Those who want bundled services should not force those bundled services on other people who want or need to shop price.

    You opponents of HD or WalMart use the false cry of hurting the local economy. That argument is full of holes. But what isn’t in dispute is that shopping on-line hurts the local economy through the loss of local employees & local sales tax revenue.

    Mouse blows it as usual. HD will not create a monopoly. He assumes all the local hardware stores are so inefficient & incompetant that they will all go out of business. Nonsense.

  59. Dollar Value
    September 7, 2010 at 9:12 am

    High Finance seems to have a habit of stating the complete opposite of an established truth, and using it as the basis of his entire post. 9:04 a prime example.

  60. anonymous
    September 7, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Trader Joe’s, pleeeeez and soon. And, yes, the same ‘shop locally’ tirade will prevail. Stay tuned.

  61. Not A Native
    September 7, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Gee I missed out on learning where it was agreed that having a Home Depot to shop at is a “right”, as HiFi asserts. No such right has ever been established in law. Rights, even when they exist, are never absolute but compromise between associated benefits and harms. as it is now, I have just as much a right to not have a Home Depot as to have one.

    Its very American to restrict and regulate the types and operation of commerce activities. The US Constitution explicitly gives the Federal government the authority to do that interstate. What could be more American than that?

  62. High Finance
    September 7, 2010 at 11:52 am

    That’s the difference between the conservatives & the liberals Not A Native.

    We believe in freedom, you guys believe in big government.

  63. Time to get real
    September 7, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Freedom to rape and pillage the local economy, right hifi?

  64. Plain Jane
    September 7, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Yeah, conservatives believe we have the freedom to do what they want, but not the freedom to do what we want.

  65. Not A Native
    September 7, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    HiFi, since you don’t acknowledge the authority of the US constitution, you’re no conservative, you’re an insurrectionist.

    Or more starkly, you’re a traitor to the republic of the US.

  66. Time to get real
    September 7, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    hifi wants all the banks to have the right to get bail out money to stimulate an economy in crisis and then reward their exucs with huge bonuses and then not make the loans they were charged with doing. So here we sit two years later with little spending going on and the banks sitting on billions in reserves. We do have one somewhat bright spot in the economy and that is the federal money used to stop GM and Chrysler from going under.
    Locally we have almost 10% unemployment and a housing market shut down and no contractors buying our lumber. HiFi would have his cronies able to have the ultimate freedom to take us further down this path. I’ll bet he would love to see cheap lumber coming in from China to supply that Home Depot he loves so much. His morally devoid and ilconseived philosophy would make the rich very rich and to hell with the rest of us.

  67. Time to get real
    September 7, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    That should have been misconceived.

  68. High Finance
    September 7, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Not & Time, are you guys nuts or just very young?

  69. Anonymous
    September 7, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    True conservatives, whether they are of any particular party or no party at all, are used to spending their own money wisely and want their government to do the same.
    Love all the generalizations that are always on this blog. Left against the right, and all the same old stereotypes.

    I want the freedom to decide more about where my money is spent, as I am very careful with it, and don’t have a lot of it.

  70. Mr. Nice
    September 7, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Home Depot has complaint cards. Y’all can go in and fill some out after it opens.

  71. Mitch
    September 7, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    He assumes all the local hardware stores are so inefficient & incompetant that they will all go out of business.

    To quote President Reagan, “there you go again.”

    No, Hifi, he recognizes that a hardware chain that — buys in huge volume; pays low wages; extorts tax breaks from localities to locate in their sales tax jurisdiction; can subsidize stores running at an initial loss — is going to be able to beat the prices of a single hardware store that pays decent wages.

    Have you ever seen Bambi meets Godzilla? You may be the only person who ever cheered for Godzilla. “Hey, if Bambi was just a better competitor…”

  72. Mr. Nice
    September 7, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    we gratefully acknowledge the city of tokyo, for their help in obtaining godzilla for this film

  73. Anon
    September 8, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    So what does Pierson’s pay a part time worker? or a full time worker? Have never seen any salary posted or any benefit package. Just asking since everyone seems to think that all the employees at Pierson, Ace and other stores make more than minimum wage and have benefits. I would like to know what they do pay.

    I know what Home Depot pays as I have a friend that went to work for them that was working as a fork lift person at one of the mills here and he certainly makes more money, has health insurance, profit sharing and stock options. He certainly does not make minimum wage and was able to buy a house when he went to work for them which he was never able to do before.

  74. High Finance
    September 10, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    That question has been asked before & nobody ever responds Anon 5.02pm.

    You have to wonder why. Maybe Pierson’s doesn’t pay anymore than Home Depot does?

  75. anonymous
    September 10, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    How much does Hi Fi make? Let’s see if we get a response.

  76. High Finance
    September 10, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    I pay my employees more than Pierson’s pays theirs. How much I make is none of your business.

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