Thursday, September 17, 2009

My undying love for Menards...and other soapmaking adventures in the quest for PVC pipes.

Disclaimer: The following is going to read like a paid advertisment. IT'S NOT. I
just really love the place.

For you poor souls who don't know, Menard's is a ginormous regional hardware/home improvement warehouse chain in the Midwest. This store is to home improvement what Ikea is to Furniture and home accessories. I absolutely love roaming the aisles of HIWs because you never know what you're going to find. For someone as crafty and creative as me, Menards/Lowes/Home Depot are like candy stores! Menard's is HUGE! My local one is about the size of Lowes and Home Depot combined, with about twice the selection of either.

The best part though, is their outstanding customer service. During our somewhat big (for us) kitchen-bath-and everywhere else re-do this past march, I accidentally broke one of a pair of lighting fixtures in a box. They took it back, no problem. They even let me keep the unbroken (already mounted piece) with no hassle. The staff is always friendly and eager to help, and like I said earlier, I can find everything I need, and more, at a great price! It also has that old-timey country store feel to it.

Since it is a bit out of the way for me, I sometimes forget to consider this store when I need something home improvement related. Yesterday, I happened to be in the area, and thought I'd stop in. I wanted to check on their selection of PVC pipes and accessories, for some soap and other goodies I've been working on. I had the hardest time getting what I needed from Lowes, Home Depot, AND Taylor's Do It Best. Lemme tell ya, they DON'T do it best! What I needed was to have 5 feet of PVC pipe cut down to 2 inch pieces. Now, I understand that that is kind of a tall order. I could've cut them by hand with a handsaw, and that was not something I wanted to do. These warehouse stores have very powerful table saws (for cutting for customers) that would've made shortwork of the pipes, but they would not cut them for me! I guess the sales force is trained to only sell, do an occasional crooked cut, and maybe help you find stuff (which they barely do). They are not there to help you achieve your ultimate goal, which for me happened to be 18-24 pieces of 2 inch pvc soap molds!

Now, there are a couple of notable efforts worth mentioning along the way to achieving this goal. An older gentleman (about 70years old) employee at Home Depot actually propositioned me during my attempts to get these pipes cut. I wondered why he was looking at me like I was on the menu. He chatted me up for a good twenty minutes, stringing me along by asking me questions as to my purpose for needing the pipes, telling me how he liked doing things the old fashioned way, asking me whereabouts I lived. Naive little me thought that he was about to offer to use his saw to cut the pipes for me on his personal time. Even that didn't sit well with me, but I was playing along. Little did I know that rather than trying to cut some pipe, he was trying to lay some pipe! Old fool! I hastened my exit when he leaned in all conspiratorial and said to me, "I love black ladies..." I won't even mention what he said right before that! He then proceeded to ask me if I was married, to which I responded with an emphatic YES! and got the hell outta dodge. Nasty ol' man!

The second most notable effort goes to the man at the Do It Best center. I called prior to going in just to make sure they could cut the pipe for me and the lady on the phone said yes. Though I'd been told they could do it, I went in with being not very hopeful, because phone operators will often tell you what you want to hear to get you off the phone and into the store, only for you to find out that it was a big ol' lie. So I went in and I started getting somewhat more hopeful when the man in the plumbing section said, 'sure, I can cut that!'. He asked how many pieces and what size. He proceeded to go in the back and cut. Twenty minutes later he comes back with a hacked up piece of what might or might not be the PVC pipe, and declares that he just can't cut it. The fool was in the back using a hand saw to cut the pipes! Of course it wasn't coming out straight, DUH! I could've done that myself, but didn't want to! I had to give him an 'A' for effort though. He was actually going to hack off 12 pieces of PVC pipe by hand for me. How sweet.

So that's how I ended up at Menard's. The young dudes in the "Barn" (where they cut lumber) were like 'sure, we can do that!' And this time it was for real. Despite the plastic dust flying everywhere, they painstakingly measured and cut, measured and cut, until I had 18pieces of pvc, all so that I can have perfect little round pillars of soap for sale. Ah, what I do for my customers! Oh, and here's the result of all my hard work.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Brighter Minds Media and new products coming soon!

For those of you with crafty kids, here's what I think is a great opportunity. The good folks over at Brighter Minds Media are putting together a book of crafts, for kids by kids. Here's a chance for your crafty kid to get their work (and name!) immortalized in a book. Shoot on over here to get details.

Well, I've been quite busy formulating some yummy new products for my Taiwo shop. I'm so excited about everything and can't wait to get it out there! In due time, in due time. I'm also excited about new things I will be putting on my JesPlayin shop, which is looking quite skimpy lately due to some spectacular customers that have come my way. Patience...I will be adding new items soon.

Thanks for stopping by, and take time to look at the flowers.