Jan 2, 2009

This might surprise you, but people who work in hardware stores tend to be packrats. They see potential where regular people see junk. I lean toward the regular people's side in their judgment. During my previous life at Tedious Systems, I had a number of ugly encounters with people who just kept everything that came their way. At Tedious people kept paper records long past their useful life, some we pathological savers. There is an old joke about a guy who bought up thousands of 1965 calendars, in the expectation of making a fortune when 1965 rolls around again. I had a clerical support person once who saved everything, in boxes that she piled in her cubicle. I told her more than once to get rid of all the old crap, but she wouldn't, so when she went on vacation, about half her boxes of old stuff went on permanent vacation. When she got back to work she was so pissed that she had her husband come down and she loaded the remaining stuff into his truck and took it home. In the hardware store, people stash all sorts of things. Today I concentrated on cleaning out the key area, the place where we make keys. Whenever someone buys a new lock from us and asks us to rekey it to their other locks, we wind up with a set of keys for the new lock, that don't fit anything. For the most part they should be tossed out, but for years no one has done it. They have hung them on hooks, put them in bags and stuffed them in drawers. I filled a large coffee can with the hundreds of sets of keys that don't fit anything anymore. Every once and awhile you need a random set of keys. People bring in locks and ask that we rekey them to a completely new key. I saved about six sets so we would have some. During this whole process, one of my coworkers came up and told me not to toss out all useless keys, "in case we need them." I told her I saved six sets. She went into the coffee can and took some more, which she stashed in a secret location. You can lead a horse to water... We also had keys that are obsolete. Sometimes a vendor will stop producing a particular key due to low demand. I tossed out about 20 keys that were stamped "Fits Austin-Healey". Austin-Healy last made cars in 1972. Our key reference book doesn't even list Austin-Healey, so if anyone came in wanting one, we would not know how to find it anyway. It appears that every time a key became obsolete, rather than discarding the uncut blanks, people have been stashing them, just in case 1965 rolls around again. I tossed out tons of those too. The funny thing is that getting rid of junk clears out space that can be used to sell new stuff. The boss was so impressed that tomorrow I get to go through the giant box of broken lock parts and toss out most of it. And you thought you had a cool job. Things in this blog represented to be fact, may or may not actually be true. The writer is frequently wrong, sometimes just full of it, but always judgmental and cranky

9 comments:

mouse (aka kimy) said...

i guess f and i should start looking for jobs at a hardware store.... from this I we are well suited to be quite successful - we are incurable packrats as we both believe that 'you never know when you'll need ....' and isn't there potential everywhere!!

happy new year!!!!!

Squirrel said...

Keys, locks... -- I just don't get saving broken/ useless items.

This year I hope to get truly minimal, at least with my own personal stuff.

bella rum said...

I'm a purger. I love throwing useless stuff away. My husband can't seem to tell the difference between useless stuff and the hope diamond. He thinks everything has the potential to be a gem.

Reya Mellicker said...

My mother liked to toss out the old stuff. She always told us about Ghandi, how all he owned was his loincloth, a pair of sandals and his glasses.

one of my favorite activities is going through drawers and closets and tossing out old stuff I don't use, look at or care about anymore.

The feng shui of old useless junk is awful. I salute you!

Barbara said...

I have always been intrigued with the key department of a hardware store. I love the fact that keys for different purposes come in different shapes. I'm glad you cleaned up all the old stuff. It really doesn't make any sense to keep it around. You'd better be careful -- they're going to promote you to management if you keep making decisions!

Megan said...

It's almost noon, I am betting you are tossing stuff right now!

I save way too many useless things, but about four times a year I have a grand rummage and toss, toss, toss (or recycle, as the case may be). It's like therapy!

Coffee Messiah said...

MY Dad's like that.

Luckily, I learned not to from him
; )

Another job well done 4 you ; )

Annie Ha said...

I find that as soon as you throw something away, you finally need it.

Steve said...

Austin-Healey doesn't make those Austin Minicoopers, do they? Those are still pretty popular. But maybe someone else makes them.