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April 28, 2010

Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner - Founders Insurance Group

In an effort to prepare my Harley for my next long distance ride in June, my good friend Brother James offered to install a pair of high tech shocks on my bike in anticipation of some very rough roads that we may be encountering on our journey. As a result, we needed some small pieces of pipe. I could try to explain that we needed a “1/4 inch flair nipple” (don’t go there!), or an “elbow” or other items of that nature. However, since my tech skills are so scant that my wife barely lets me change a light bulb, I won’t bore you with the details. The bottom line is that I really needed guidance as I was completely out of my element.

Our first stop was a hardware store that didn’t stock what we required so it was on to a “big box” store. Our logic was that they have everything! When the young man in the in the flair nipple department said, “I think we might have that, Dude!” I knew we might be in trouble. He helped us look for the needed parts until his adolescent attention span got the best of him and soon we were alone to fend for ourselves. After leafing through little bag after little bag, our little piece of pipe was nowhere to be found. It was becoming clear that the ten minute “run to the store” that we promised our wives would be significantly longer.

Since we were running out of luck, we decided to try an automotive parts store which was again part of a large chain. Unknown to us, we arrived at the store shortly before closing time. We asked several questions as we worked our way through tiny box after tiny box looking for tiny parts. The clerk, that was “cashing out” asked if we would need the credit card machine as he was closing it down. The phone then rang and based on the questions being asked, I assume it was the “big boss” on the other end of the line. The clerk made no attempt to conceal his answers to the questions he was being asked by the boss so it was easy to hear him describe the day as one filled with lots of customers buying low cost items and asking a lot of silly questions. Since the parts we were looking for were under $5 and we had asked a lot of questions, and we are kind of silly….well you get the point. We were able to find one of the items that we needed and since they had now turned out the lights, we were told it was “on the house.” We were in the store less than fifteen minutes after closing time. I don’t know about Brother James, but I was feeling warm and fuzzy all over!

In a last ditch effort we stopped at a local supply store, ironically the one closest to home and they were actually open past 3pm on a Saturday! We arrived at Superior Products Distributors and were greeted by Sam, the man behind the counter that immediately understood what Brother James was looking for as he spoke the same strange hardware language as did Brother James. He promptly showed us the little metal pipes, tubes and nipples we needed and even offered a suggestion or two! Even though the store was a bit busy, he was attentive, knowledgeable, upbeat, and didn’t say “dude” a single time! He proudly told me that they had been in business for forty two years!

As we were paying for our little metal parts, I mentioned that there was a blog in all of this. James offered me the same strange look that I had donned all day as I was now the one speaking a foreign language. This little journey was a reminder to me that pride of ownership and depth of knowledge often trump big boxes and big brands. Sometimes it’s best to depend on David rather than bet the farm on Goliath when out of your element.

Have a great day!

Chris Garlasco

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 28, 2010 10:32 am

    I am sitting here visualizing the ‘dude’ and you guys digging through boxes looking for this non-existent part. There is something to be said about that old school customer service that seems to be disappearing as the years pass by. A lot of people hit the big box stores for the same thing – the price or the though they they will have everything. A lot of times they will, but chances are the mom and pop shops will too, but you will have a much better experience, and maybe a great conversation as well.

    I am glad you found the part you need for your trip. I hope you have a great time. Keep the shiny side up!

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