I’ve Got Those Big Box Blues

by | Aug 30, 2013 | Memoirs, Remodeling Budget | 2 comments

Reading Time: 4 minutes

This water tastes a little shitty!

Yes, I’ve got those big box bluuuuuues.

How many of you can say the same thing? I even saw a TV commercial for something recently that was mocking them hard. What every town needs is an old fashioned hardware type store where the employees know what (H. E. Double hockey sticks) they are talking about.

I’m pretty sure bad advice is how some fool ended up with a spigot in the sewer line.

My fear is that folks use their visit to the orange or blue big box store salesperson like a church confessional.

“Forgive me, sales associate, I have no idea what this do-hickey does, but I’m pretty sure I need a new one.”

The holy aproned one, adorned with all sorts of pins, pauses, smiles, and leads you to isle 47, then 17, then, 23 filling your cart with all sorts of things that will surely require special tools to install. Then he regales you with your penance to attain absolution.

What does this mean to you?

Well I’ve got news for you. They have no malicious intent but their advice is often less than divine guidance. As a secret shopper, I have been given goofy advice. I also have to verify everything before I go through the check out if I’ve been helped, because I seem to inevitably end up coming back to get the right part later in the day. I’m not saying that there isn’t a reason to shop at big box stores, in some cases there are, but set your expectations for help accordingly.

For some reason, they just can’t help themselves, I would rather hear, “I have no idea what the hell that gizmo is! “ or  ” I’m sorry buddy, you are on your own!” or ” Sounds like you need a professional!” These phrases would be music to my ears, but noooo.

A big box store is not the sort of place you want to be on a first name basis. “Did you find everything OK?” is about as personal as it gets.

Grover's Pay & Pack

Grover’s Pay & Pack

The truth is that there are a few old fashioned places in town that know what they are talking about. Grover’s Pay & Pack on Franklin & Curtis in Boise Idaho is one of them.

The Salute

Like in the bar in Boston popularized by the series Cheers, I am on a first name basis with almost everyone. I even got saluted one afternoon, I as I came into the store from the West entrance. “Now that is how I wanted to be greeted every time I come here!” I announced.

It turns out that Nancy was using her hand as a sun shade. Oh well. “Hey Joe,” bellows Paul, no matter what he is doing. In fact the regulars shield me from the new hires until they are sure they know their way around.

You can learn the store and shop by yourself or take a number and get an expert’s advice when it is your turn. Aside from some embarrassing situations over the years, like when I asked Jessica,“Can you show me your nipples?” There was a pause….. Blushing she said, “Sure, as soon as you show me your nuts!” Well, you can imagine how hard I was laughing.

She related another story of an elderly gentleman who she made blush. “Do you have inch and a half nipples?” he asked. After a brief pause she said “No, I don’t, they’re no where near that big”!

The point is that when it comes down to anything plumbing, electrical, or lighting, it pays to get advice from someone that knows what they are talking about and has the parts, materials, and knowledge to back them up. It is not uncommon to actually have a real conversation with a checker. If an interaction is what you are looking for, rather than a big box transaction, visit Grover’s Pay & Pack.

For most of my adult life, I have been bringing in my broken things or showing them image on my phone lately, and I have been more than satisfied. I am sure you will be too.

Bonus Round Questions

  1. Can you share a funny story about shopping in a big box store?
  2. Do you have a go-to place in your town that has the stuff you need to fix stuff? Give them a shout out!

Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, click here to email me directly, or call 208-947-7261

Disclaimer: Some of these images came from the WEB. If they are yours, and you object to them being used, please claim them and I will gladly remove and replace them at once.

Disclaimer: Some of these images came from the WEB. If they are yours, and you object to them being used, please claim them and I will gladly remove and replace them at once.

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Leave A Comment


  1. Carroll Ann Kimsey

    Jessica is my daughter 🙂 I am retired from the Statesman where I was Vicki Gowler’s assistant. When Vicki wanted a handyman I suggested you – hearing good things from Tim Woodward and loving Flying Pie. Jess told me about this incident then today called me and asked me to look up what you said about her on your blog. What a fun blog!

    Carroll Ann Kimsey

    • Joe Levitch

      Thank you so much. Enthusiastic referrals is what it is all about. Please sign up, I publish weekly at this point. I thrive on feedback yours included! Your daughter is a hoot, and I look forward to working with her all the time. She has made my day more than once!


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