As I picked my way down one of the cluttered aisles, two burly Latinos passed me going in the opposite direction and our eyes met briefly. “How you do?” said one in a husky voice. I smiled a polite little smile and kept strolling down the aisle.
I was at an old independent building supply store. Not my regular, highly sanitized suburban franchise. This one was the real deal. No A/C. Hell, no floor. Just an uneven concrete foundation. Doors and shutters leaning against every possible support, bins full of all kinds of metal thingamajigs. Tripping hazards everywhere. This was hardware heaven and I was just poking around to see what I could see. Maybe I’d find some treasure I didn’t know I needed.
After managing to maneuver the place safely despite all the obstacles, I ended up with two unlikely purchases for $1.00 each. “Emergency ponchos” the package said. A clear one for my son to stick in his college backpack and a blue one for me to keep in the car.
You never know what you’ll find in these interesting, rapidly vanishing old stores full of character, dust, and unusual items. And the “How you do?” was a nice little perk.